I believe in fear. Not fear of things that are blatantly scary like horror movies or of getting mugged in a dark alley, but the deeply rooted and much more stifling kind that we induce upon ourselves. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure.
Sitting in a small café across the street from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ building, I awaited my audition for the school’s competitive theatre program. I wanted to be an actress. I have wanted to be an actress as long as I can remember. My palpable fear was evident to my mother who accompanied me to New York City for the audition, and she commented on it. She wanted to know why I would chose to put myself through such anxiety. It certainly didn’t look like I wanted to be there, but I did. More than anything. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but it was simply because it was my dream, my goal, and the fear arose from my want.
And the fear didn’t end there. It was with me every day at NYU in acting class when I was asked by a teacher to try something I had never considered, the first time I cried on stage, and when I fell flat on my face. Without fear we would not feel challenged, and it is with new challenges that we grow. I graduated in 2004, and the fear is with me today but it has evolved. I am no longer afraid to be vulnerable in front of an audience, and I can try new things with more ease.
I went eagerly through all the unofficial prerequisites of becoming a serious actress, theatre training and auditions, and now that I stand in the threshold of the real
world my fear pulsates through me every day as I strive to make my dreams a reality.
Fear is energy. And its power lies in overcoming it. Challenge a fear and get past it, and the exhilaration is greater than any other. The pang of fear keeps me from quitting. It is the fear of disappointing myself, my parents who paid for my expensive education, and the fear of regret if I gave up. It reminds me not to lose sight of my dreams and to keep growing. As I work through the fear, I grow. So to lump in the pit of my stomach, I am grateful. I believe in fear, and stage fright is my favorite.
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