September 11, 2001 – 3,000 of my fellow Americans died from terrorism. August 29, 2005 – Another 2,000 of my fellow Americans died from Hurricane Katrina. These events were shocking and scary, but distant and confusing since I was so young. But on April 16, 2007 – 32 of my fellow Hokies died within hours in a school shooting. Three months later, July 16, 2007 – One of my fellow gymnastics community members died from cancer. Both were within 20 miles of my house, so close to home! I never thought tragedies could happen to me, I thought I was safe. Boy was I wrong; I now know that tragedies can happen to anybody. This is why I believe in the power of fear.
I try to live my life with the perfect amount of fear. Now that I understand the possibility of a tragedy at any moment, I hold just the right amount of fear from these tragedies to be prepared for another one. My fear of failure pushes me to succeed. My fear of death makes me try to live life to the fullest. I believe in finding a perfect balance of fear. Being fearful won’t let me move on in life, for fear of life itself. Being fearless, won’t let me move on in life, for disregarding life’s frailty.
I also believe in the power of humans to get over fear. If fear seems to be getting the best of me, especially after scary events like those before, I know I can get through it and move on. After my sister’s gymnast friend, Kassidy, died, I was left with a fear of cancer and disease. It was so sudden; her knee pain was diagnosed as bone cancer in April, and though it seemed like a long, never-ending struggle, it was only four months before her short 12 years of life were over. For a while, I was even paranoid that some of my aches and pains as a dancer would turn into something as devastating as hers was. Soon though, the things I love—my family, friends, my boyfriend, and dance—pushed that fear to the back of my mind, to silently and only partly guide my life. Kassidy’s family was also able to move on after her death, through their amazing faith and love for their other daughter, God, and life. I let fear guide my life in a good way. Holding some fear close, whether left over from tragedies or not, is necessary to move on in life, this I believe.
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