This I Believe

Sarah - Palm Desert, California
Entered on January 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage

I believe that facing your fears is one of the most important growing experiences you can have. Life is a journey, not a destination; therefore you should be comfortable with your daily activities. I have successfully conquered multiple fears that previously prevented me from participating in events. I have done this by forcing myself into an uncomfortable situation in order to look at it and see what I am really afraid of. Although I still feel small pangs of fear before encountering something I am afraid of, it is not nearly as unbearable as if I had never exposed myself to those fears. Things that scare me, including the ocean, public speaking and appearances, heights and insects, have all become lesser factors in my life, because I have learned how to experience them in a safe way that allows me to let go of my fear. I can do things that I never would have been able to do if I had not subjected myself to experiencing fear.

In 2002, when I was 11 my family went on vacation to Disneyland, and Disney’s California Adventure. This is of course any child’s dream come true; I was especially excited because we were visiting California Adventure for the first time, and my mother’s sisters were driving up to come along. Like any other Disney vacation, I was having a fantastic time until my family decided to go on the California Screamin’ ride. When I saw the upside-down loop I was terrified. Up to this point in my life, my contact with roller-coasters was limited, and certainly did not involve anything as intense as California Screamin’. This was the first upside-down, and completely extreme ride I had ever been exposed to. I immediately told my parents that I would not be joining them on the ride.

My aunt came over and talked to me and promised that I could sit next to her, and that everything would be fine if I closed my eyes while going through the loop. I uneasily consented and hoped that I wouldn’t fall off.

My aunt was right; I closed my eyes, and got a real adrenaline rush. I didn’t fall out, and I had a great time. After that I couldn’t get enough of roller-coasters. Ever since then I have been an absolute adrenaline junkie. By facing one of my fears I was able to reveal one of my passions. I have never been unwilling to ride a roller-coaster when the opportunity presents itself. I know now that embracing fear can help resolve it, and even open the door to something enjoyable. I use this mentality to watch scary movies, and do other things that would ordinarily make me anxious. I’m not ashamed to say that I still get nervous before going on a roller-coaster, but I know that I will enjoy the ride, so I relax and look forward to the adventure.