This I Believe
My feet pound the pavement and my hand unconsciously tightens around my iPod as I hear a car approach from the distance. My speed picks up along with my heart rate, and my mind starts racing my legs. “Could it be a rapist, kidnapper, or drunk driver?” is all I can think when I hear the tires get closer. After the car passes me, my hand relaxes a bit leaving a sweaty imprint left on my iPod, and I ease up to enjoy my run until I hear another possibly dangerous car.
I believe I am scared. I don’t suffer from the normal fears of claustrophobia or arachnophobia. I fear of being attacked in my own home. I feel paranoid. I can’t logically explain why I feel this way, but my best explanation is the fact that I have lost trust in the world. Every day my heart breaks over news stories about murder or rape. When I was younger, I used to lie awake in my bed and realize that somewhere in the world a terrible act was being committed to someone be it rape, murder, or kidnapping. The world has shaped and taught me to be scared. It is the world that has made me run toward the light when I’m in the dark, always look behind me when I’m alone, and never fully trust a kind stranger but question his or her motive.
I always assume the worst. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a shell of a person constantly living in fear. It is more that waves of fear will suddenly attack me like seizures to an epileptic. I am a walking time bond waiting to explode at any second as soon as I think about my safety being in jeopardy. But is it really so unusual that I suffer from my sporadic episodes of fear? I am a 17-year-old female who has been told constantly by worried parents, teachers, and police officers to stay alert and weary of my environment at all times. It may seem that I am overly fearful of this life, but I believe I am more perceptive of the danger I live in being so vulnerable.
This fear has slowly started to ruin some of my happiness. I no longer run on trails anymore because I am scared of being mauled by a ravenous bear. I now run on the road, which I don’t find as pleasant and also scares me. But I am most scared of always living in fear. It is true what they say about ignorance being bliss. I can no longer chastise the naïve because I know how badly I want to be that way again. It is my knowledge of what a human being is capable of that will sometimes keep me up at night. But it is my hope in the world that will ease me into sleep.
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