Being Brave or Fearless: Featured Question with Forrest

fistHi Forrest,

In your poem you mention ‘if you are brave and in the wood’;   It makes me wonder, when you were a child, what was one of your scariest moments.  Was there a time when you were not so brave?    ~ Jenny  



Jenny, I never thought of myself as being brave, but becoming fed-up can sometimes make me fearless. When I was about 14, a bully named Bo often harassed me and sometimes threw me to the ground. I really hated him but never fought back. He had twenty-pounds on me and could run faster.

One day I saw Bo coming when I was walking home from school. He said a cuss word about my mother and started kicking. I had had it with that guy and decided not to take it anymore. So I hit him on the jaw so hard he must have heard birds singing. I just stood there thinking he was going to kill me when he got up. When he did I shook my fist in his face and yelled, “Your mother wears overalls.” He started crying and ran home. That night his father called my father to tell what a bully I was. We both laughed. Maybe that day I took my first big step toward being braver.

But, Jenny, when has there been a time you were not so brave? And what about the readers? I would like to know. f



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29 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    I love the spin you put on Brave and Fearless. Thanks for your answer, Forrest.

    And lol….I call foul. I would rather ask the questions, so I would say now. Answering questions and opening myself up are scary for me…. But I will think of another time to share since you asked.

    The first one that comes to mind was when I went camping at the spur of the moment with two of my girlfriends. We were 16. We told no one we were going and pitched a tent in some remote field, back some dirt road, a few miles from my house.

    We slid into our sleeping bags and started giggling and laughing and then it happened. The entire tent shook violently and all corners lifted off the ground every time we made a noise. It was not the wind. But how do you get safely out of a tent? If you go feet first, they get chopped off. If you go head first, it does. I wanted to keep all attached, and so did my friends.

    Our imaginations ran wild and we were scared. It was before cell phones. No one to call, no one to hear us, no one knew we were there, and so we were doomed. We were quiet for the rest of the night. As soon as morning came, we were out of there. Til this day, we have no explanation for what caused the tent to lift and shake.

    Now I use this story to tell my kids to always let me know where they are going, and to remind them when we go camping, I get to sleep in the car…or at the hotel.

    • jdiggins says:

      I TOTALLY get that!!! Had a similar experience once! So funny jenny, the memories we keep. I also have a bully story similar to yours forrest! Told ya, I have a lot! 🙂
      Forrest, your life is so very interesting!

    • Raven says:

      Jenny, Sounds like the action of a pesky (though loveable) brother of one of the campers. My brother hid under my bed when I was little and chanted “all good little girls should take naps everyday”. I was petrified. When I told my mom the next morning she immediately yelled out “Bobby, stop teasing your sister”. She said that a lot. I was shocked to find out it was him, I was certain the taunting voice was the monster that lived under the bed. The next night I tried to turn it around and got under his bed and said “all good little boys should take naps everyday”. Of course he knew it was me so he started pouncing on his bed as hard as he could and my thumb got snagged in a bedspring. We ended up going to the hospital for stitches. I still have a scar. I love him anyway.

  2. Forrest Fenn says:

    Jenny, it was probably the Phantom who shook your tent to make you stop giggling.

  3. lia says:

    Good one Mr. Fenn. You’ve answered more than your share of questions…done tired of it!

    Bravery skipped out the door on me when I first heard a cancer diagnosis…had to get my war paint on. Honestly though, uncertainty in relationships has always been the most crippling. Mean kids in school who talked behind my back could bring on ulcers overnight. No one ever physically bullied me, but rude remarks meant to wound left me hurt and bewildered. I’ve learned to enjoy uncomplicated friendships with guys, but choose my girl friends very carefully. Hopefully, as adults we’re brave enough to embrace many different types of people and call them friends.

  4. jdiggins says:

    Thanks Jenny for your site! And thank you forrest for your interest in us. I have a lot of “not so brave” stories!
    First day of seventh grade, I was proud and felt good about myself. I had gotten up early and was sitting on the edge of my bed by the nightstand with the lamp on waiting for my b ff to come and walk to school with me. Then I heard something outside my window.. In the carpet of ivy…some rustling…
    I got up, heart beating, went to the window and was almost brave enough to look when the rustling got real loud and came a loud tap on the window. I dove under my bed, heart pounding, almost in tears…it was silent, then more rustling…then it stopped. I stayed under my bed for what seemed an eternity before I finally crawled out, then out of my room, stood up and ran down the hall to my mom’s room where she was still asleep with my step – dad who I did not want to wake. “Mom”, I whispered…”mom!” She groaned…”ohhh…whaaat…?” ” somebody is trying to get me”, I whispered..”she woke a bit, “what do you mean?” So I explained what had just scared me so…she was smiling! Can you believe that! Then she spoke calmly, “don’t you think it might have been your friend?” Duh! Boy I felt dumb!!!

  5. William says:

    Simple answer, the day I buried my father, Male members in my family don’t show emotion well and that day I knew that there was no bravery left in me.

  6. Carolyn says:

    I’m not so brave with bad storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes and lightening. I am also not so brave when I am on the side of a mountain that has a very small ledge until you fall off. I hate being that close to the edge. It’s definitely no place for the meek. Thanks Jenny and Forrest!

    • E* says:

      Carolyn – I am also afraid of “exposure” on a narrow trail with a precarious drop-off. I backpacked to Goat Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains with an ex-boyfriend several years ago. I was in great shape and felt good on the way in,…and proud to be able to keep up with him. Then we came to what I like to call a “scramble”,…where the trail became more like an almost vertical animal track,…blocked by dry, scraping brush and large boulders to climb over. And then we came to about 30 feet of flat boulder,…with a sheer drop-off on the left,…and a wall to the right. There was nothing to hold onto. I was wearing new Salomon hiking boots,…but I still took my backpack off,…threw it forward to the Ex,…and crawled my way to the other side,…scraping up knees and my new boots. I did stay vertical on the way down, though. But we still broke up within the month. I guess I didn’t pass the hardcore girlfriend test. 😉

      • E* says:

        Forrest – But just so you don’t think I’m a total wimp,…I did take a rock in the head for my brother, once,…at the age of five. A kid was standing on a hill,…throwing rocks at him from above,…and due to his strategic higher ground advantage,…I was instantly concerned. I stood up,…from where I was hiding and watching behind him,…and yelled, “Don’t you throw rocks at my brother!” And then the rock hit me on the crown of my head. There was blood everywhere,…and I started wailing (NOT bravely, I guess). I now have a large scar,…sewn in the shape of a figure 8,…to forever remember my brave act. 🙂

      • Carolyn says:

        E*, some tests just aren’t worth it and I can think of several mountains that I have decided to go up with my husband because there was a rock I wanted or something I wanted to see or find only to find myself way, way up and suddenly on a very small ledge to walk on and I panic and sit down and cry till my husband comes back for me and we sit for awhile and then after I calm down we go on up and do what we went up to do and usually at that time it is me crawling because I can’t stand the height anymore. Am I a baby? Maybe, but who cares. I did what I wanted and conquered the challenge in spite of my fear. And that’s what is important and if the jerk you were with can’t understand and help a lady out, then you don’t need him. Best to find one that will. We were in Lubbock once and found a big canyon, not like Grand Canyon, but big enough and we saw a cave about halfway up and decided to go in it. I climbed up just fine, but on the way down, I got stuck and almost started to panic. I told my husband who was below me that I was stuck and he asked if I could go up and I said no. So he came up and got me and I sat on his shoulders for a little ways till I could climb again down. I thought a helicopter would have to come and get me. Keep you chin up and keep having adventures.

  7. Raven says:

    Thank you Forrest Fenn and Jenny Kile for your invitation to share a story about when we were not so brave. Mine began many years ago when I was a mere 5 years old. It was an age when I remember going forward into the world full throttle. It was Easter time and my family went to an Easter egg hunt where beautifully colored eggs were hidden for a posse of kids. There were about 30 of us between 5-10 years old. Among the eggs were 12 GOLDEN eggs. When the whistle was blown, my super charged little legs tore around the park in a focused fury, looking for any egg but especially those GOLDEN eggs. I found one, then another, and another until I looked into my little basket and realized that I had found ALL of the golden eggs. WOW! It was soo exciting! What a thrill. A satisfied smile is locked on my face even now as I write this many decades later. After double checking my count, I took my treasures to the old biddy in charge. She practically went apoplectic. She screeched out—“YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY HAVE THEM ALL!!!”. As it turns out, the plan was for the gold eggs to be traded in for prizes and she was confronted with a situation for which she clearly had not anticipated. She went into a panic trying to figure out what to do next. After scurrying around seeking guidance from others she decided to give out the prizes from names in a hat. As they got down to the last prize and my name hadn’t been called, my Dad pointed out that I should at least get one prize. I was lucky to have my Dad on my team. The lady at first agreed, but when she looked in her bag, she pointed out that the last prize was a model plane—and said without hesitation that it CLEARLY was a toy for a boy. At that point, I was just embarrassed to have caused such a spectacle and really just wanted it all to end. So we went home empty handed. At this point you might be asking “what does that story have to do with being brave”?? I’m embarrassed now to say that the experience made me hold back a little for many years in many undertakings. I haven’t always been brave enough to always offer by best effort. This “chase” for Forrest’s treasure has made me realize the folly of holding back at times for so many years. Forrest, your stories, life lessons, and your challenging poem have all given me the encouragement and opportunity to circle back to that little girl and go full throttle once again. For that I am forever grateful.

  8. 42 says:

    Raven, Every once in a while a person is The best at something, it’s how they are gifted or something they are attributed to as Forrest says. Outstanding people do stand out, but I’m sorry you weren’t celebrated and given first choice at one prize. Humility is often misunderstood and we think it means to shrink back. In truth, humility allows you to be exactly who you were created to be and do it without bragging. Kindness and wisdom allow brave people to do great things. Too bad when some old biddie or insecure kid ruins it for others. Go for it in TTOTC!

    • Jenny Kile says:

      Well said, 42.

      And I wanted to thank you all for sharing your ‘brave’ stories. They have touched all kinds of heartstrings….

  9. locolobo says:

    Way to stand your ground, Forrest!
    So, you laid ol’ Bo low, huh? Well, bully for you!….Not sure why Bo would get upset that you compared his mother to a railroad engineer, but I guess some people are way sensitive.

    Speaking of “fed up”, concerning the chase, what causes you to become the most fed up??
    Oh, I really like the gold distractions!! Thanks!! They are appealing and quite interesting!!

  10. locolobo says:

    Forgot….. When was I the most scared??

    One was the first time I held my daughter when she was born. I realized I was a dad and totally responsible for her…….and I was clueless!!! (scared the **** out of me!!)

    Second time was at age 42. I rode a conveyance up for 92 foot, stepped out and walked off of a platform.
    Sure was glad that rubber-band tied to my butt held!! The airbag looked like it was underinflated! (No brown in the jeans, but it was close!!) 🙂
    If you’ve never tried bungee jumping, it is a blast!! (one time anyway) 🙂

  11. Chris Clark says:

    Great question Jenny.
    To F’s Question, when have I not been so brave? Well now actually. I am a person that does research every day for a living. I have always wanted to know the outcome before I take a step. For the last two years I have been working at building a business. Now I am about $45,000 in the hole but the business is about to start paying off. My lady and I haven’t been anywhere, even to dinner in a little over two years. We are getting ready to take a vacation in April. Fly into Salt Lake City rent a car then north. We figure it’s going to cost us about $3,000 that we could be putting towards bills but it’s been so long since we have done anything together. We only have one day a week together and most of the time we are so tired we sleep most of that away. We have made the decision to go. Now I have to tell my business partner I won’t be there for two weeks in April. I am not indispensable. There is nobody to take my place and do my job to the degree that I do it. I will be abandoning him for 2 weeks. I am not so brave right now. Other than my lady he is my best friend. I have no other friends. Not that I trust to that degree anyway. The type of trust we have for one another is becoming exceedingly rare in this world. If I find it I can help him financially. If not I left him alone to go on a wild goose chase. Our friendship will most definitely survive but I don’t like seeing disappointment in such a friends eyes. So no I am not to brave right now. Oh and F, On October 6, 2014 you stated ” I think that person will be pleased when she sees it. f” , This was only a week or two after I had emailed you with my location, or rather yours. I understand how my name could be mistaken for that of a woman but I am a man. Thank you, the research into your every word and quote has been very enjoyable for me. Hopefully I will meet you one day as long as I don’t have to meet you where

  12. JC1117 says:

    Interesting question. I’ve had many fearful moments in my life including several fairly recent ones. I can totally relate to some of the worries that Chris just shared. I also completely agree with Locolobo when he realized that he now carried the heavy load of being a father. I’m a married father of three now and it scared the **** out of me almost every day that it’s my job to care for them. I wake up many times in the middle of the night scared…thinking about it. That’s a part of the reason I’ve done some of the things that I’ve done.

    I can’t remember where I first saw this quote from John Wayne. To be honest, I may have first heard it recently. Whenever it was it struck me…like many bits and pieces of knowledge in my lifetime…such that it really resonated and it stuck with me for some reason.

    “Courage (bravery) is being scared to death…but saddling up anyway.”

    I think this presentation is an awesome way to remember that truth. It can be remembered every time one looks in there.

  13. Liviu says:


    I’m reading your answer and cannot believe it… here is my story.

    I was about 13 when this stocky boy named Dragos that lived two streets over, made a disparaging remark about my mother. I was scrawny and short at the time, and Dragos must have had 20 pounds or more on me. The moment he done talking I took one step forward and jabbed him right on the chin. I remember perfectly where we were in the middle of the street, me a little closer to the sidewalk, how I was facing West and the sun over my left shoulder, absolutely every detail, and I bet you do as well.
    Anyway, here my story differs. After I clocked him he dropped and I went straight to his house and told his granny that was at home, what he said and what I did.
    Later on he went and finished a military high-school in Sibiu, Romania, and became an officer.

    Dragos Tarean – I wonder what is he doing these days; I think I’m gonna try and find him, see if he remembers 🙂

    Damn, what do you know – I found him on Facebook. I’m looking at the picture and it’s him 100%.
    he…he. It took me only a minute.

  14. BW says:

    At my one and only birthday party, on a single digit birthday, mother wanted to take my picture. She has a picture of me crossing a barbed wire fence running into the cotton patch to hide. To this day I am not brave enough to have my picture taken. Can’t figure that out.

  15. Bill H says:

    Scariest time of my life was when I broke my femur bone while doing field work on an ice field in Alaska. I had a field partner and he had to cross country ski out to get help. Help came the next morning but I spent the night alone laying on my back wondering if I would make it. I was 20 then and probably pretty brave. Now I am not so brave. My mother was recently diagnosed with a cancer and it is probably going to be a tough battle for all to go through.

    • Raven says:

      Wow Bill–that sounds very terrifying.The minutes must have felt like eternity waiting for help to arrive. Harrowing situation to say the least! Sometimes being brave isn’t a matter of choice–we just white knuckle it as best we can. Glad it turned out well. Warm thoughts to you and your family as you battle your Moms cancer. Your love and support will surely strengthen her for the fight.

      • Bill H says:

        Dear Raven,
        Thank you for your kind thoughts. What amazed me at the time is how capable and compassionate people are when they come to help you. Such is also the time now.

  16. ACE says:

    I once had a bully as well. He was a spoiled rich kid. On one occasion he brought a roll of dollar bills to class and before class was in session he started tossing them in the air one by one just to watch other kids scuffle over them. I did not play into his stupid game. Besides they were only dollar bills RIGHT! I sat in front of him and for fun he would flick my ears. We laughed at first but he did not stop doing it and he started flicking harder. One day going to lunch he snuck up behind me and did it again. I immediately turned around and got right in his face and said you touch me again and we are going to go a few rounds. He had a few of his friends with him and no teachers around. So this is the time I decided to take a stand. What a blundering idiot I was. They kept there distance and bully and I faced off. He did not throw a punch and neither did I. We just got in each other’s face and kept bumping chests. Must have looked like two roosters sizing each other. The principal happened to walk by and broke us up. He took us to his office and debriefed on the situation and sent us on our way. He never messed with me again.
    Where did the time go and oh how I miss those days.

  1. October 18, 2014

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