This I Believe

Mylina - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear

Many people are marked by fear. As children, many of us were afraid of the dark and of monsters. Young and old alike are gripped with the fear of death, not knowing where, when, or how it will overtake them. Many people who are overworked and underpaid live in fear of asking supervisors for just pay. Whether or not we admit it, everyone is afraid of something.

Throughout my childhood, I had a terrible fear of heights. I would play by myself while all of my friends were climbing trees, pretending to be monkeys. When my friends and I went on adventures exploring in the woods, I would risk getting lost, trying to find a long way around their steep “shortcuts”. In my early high school years, peer pressure found me in line for one of the biggest roller coasters in the state of Pennsylvania. As I stood in line, my mind ran through all of the stories I had heard about people hanging helplessly from roller coaster rides that had malfunctioned. Despite everything within me screaming for me to turn around and run the other way, I finally did get on the ride…and loved it! I don’t even remember why I had so great a fear of the ride in the first place. Even though this may seem small and insignificant when it comes to the many different fears that people have, it’s the same with all things that we fear. Once we’ve faced it, we realize how foolish it was to let it hold us back.

Even on a larger scale, fear works in the same way. Have you ever had on your heart to do something, but felt unsure so you left it alone? For me, that thing was singing. I was terrified of being before an audience. It was funny because you couldn’t stop me from singing all around the house, no matter how early in the morning or how late at night. Four years ago, I was asked to prepare a song to sing at a ceremony at my church. I immediately did everything I could to try to get out of it. However, there was no escaping it. There I stood in front of the crowd, and the pianist began playing the song. I missed my cue. I could have just walked off the stage, but I decided to face my fear. I sang. That was one of the most fulfilling experiences that I have ever come across in my life. I realized how great a freedom I felt when I opened my mouth to sing.

So often, people miss out on the joys and fulfillment of life because they allow themselves to walk in the shadow of fear. So often people forget that fear is just that: false evidence appearing real. Fear. Yes, I believe in the power of fear; however, I believe that there is nothing else holding me back from my dreams and aspirations once I overcome the power of fear.