This I Believe

Emma - Camas, Washington
Entered on February 5, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, fear
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I believe it takes courage to build courage.

Up until a few years ago, I was the shy kid. My awkward stage unfortunately started early; I thought that no one in the world was as different as me, and that there were only a few people who would ever see past these differences and actually like what they found. I did, however, have a large, amazing group of friends who, beyond what I was classifying as crippling circumstances, had singled me out as a buddy. So obviously, things weren’t as bad as I made them out to be.

Even if I was over-exaggerating the motivations behind it, no one could deny that I was the soft-spoken one of the group, and dreaded, beyond ANYTHING else, embarrassment. Mortification, humiliation, shame; it was my biggest fear. I avoided all circumstances that could potentially lead to this emotion, my thought process being that never experiencing them again would eventually allow me to forget my fear, and just, live.

We’ve all experienced that backwards logic before. The popular girl doesn’t want to make new friends as to betray the security of the group she’s already built up. The intelligent boy doesn’t want to pursue new subjects of learning because he has trepidation that he might not excel in them as much as his previous quota. So too was I scared to assess the label I had earned. I didn’t think I could prove myself wrong, that I could test my shyness, and succeed.

A ripe opportunity arose quicker than I thought it would. My friends pleaded with me to partake in our first real dramatic production: the middle school play. I was heavily bombarded with pleas of “try out!”, “It’ll be so much fun”, “You’d be awesome”. In the end, shyness got the better of me. While I sat at home, my friends took off on an amazing adventure of fun and excitement. I vowed that I would never again lose out on fun because I was too scared. Next year, I’d try out and face my fear.

My resolve severely waned the days before auditions: wobbly knees, excuses coming out of my ears. I was drug to the stage, I sang my song, I read my lines, and it was done. I walked away the incredibly proud owner of a supporting role in “Aladdin”.

Its funny how so quickly something can change your entire perspective. Within the first week, I found I could totally expose my talents and myself, put them up for assessment and execution, and the world didn’t end. So quickly I was in love with something new; with acting and singing and just performing in front of your peers. I had been so scared of finding out another negative about my self that I had been denying all my positives their chance to shine. Its something I never would have known if I hadn’t had the courage to just try.

In having the power to put yourself out on the ledge, in order to build the strength that can pull you back into safety. This, I believe.