This I Believe

Natalie - Houston, Texas
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in mind over matter. Being born the youngest child in my extended family, I have always been the baby or the “scardy cat”. Tromping through the woods at my cousins’ farm would always present itself as a terror to me, while my cousins and sister would be perfectly at ease. My fear prevented me from swimming in a river where I was convinced there were snakes just waiting to attack me, reaching the top of the rock wall at camp where I was terrified that the tiny rope holding me up would snap, and engaging in relationships with people because of my fear of the outcome.

I never worried about my abundance of fear because I figured that someone would always be there to save me; I did not realize that my feeling of security would not last forever. When I entered into high school, I realized that I was no longer a little kid who could look to everyone else for protection. My new tactic for fear was rather than running away from it, to face it head on and conquer it.

The true test of my mind over matter theory, however, came the following summer when I went on an adventure trip to the mountains right outside of Seattle. There I was forced to face my two ultimate fears: heights and snakes. As I clambered up the mountain side to reached the top where I believed I would be plunging to my death as I attempted to belay down, I had to overcome another obstacle: the snakes. A rattlesnake had been killed just minutes before I took this journey through the overgrown path on my own, and I was convinced there were more waiting to attack. I wanted so badly to prove to myself that I could get down that mountain and conquer my fear, so I told myself that there couldn’t possibly be any more snakes as a scrambled over a dead tree that would have been a perfect hiding spot for a sleeping snake. With my first task completed, I now had to wait at the top of this one hundred foot cliff as I watched others slowly go down. When it finally got to be my turn, I nervously walked up to the strong man who I was convinced would be able to hold me as I climbed down. But as I approached, he announced that Cassie, who had much less muscle than him, would be taking over. Cassie’s nervousness about the situation did not ease my worries as I was putting my harness on, but as I inched to the edge of the cliff, I told myself that I would be down in no time and that I would be fine. Surprisingly, once again, my mind controlled the situation and I took the first step.

I believe that if you push your fears aside and tell yourself that you can do it, anything is possible.