Overcoming the Deadliest Poison

Daniel - San Diego, California
Entered on April 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe doubt is the deadliest poison in my life.

Because I grew up the youngest in a traditional Chinese family, it meant I had to answer to my parents and brothers. To show the utmost respect, I was to follow whatever decisions they made, even if they were wrong. When I was a child, my own decisions were often refuted by my family. As a result, I started to rely on my family’s decisions and began to doubt my own.

Doubt is the reason why I have found myself always hesitating to make a decision. I have always tried to seek for someone else’s approval instead of trusting myself. It can be from any small events to major goals in my life. It poisons my mind until I eventually fail or make a mistake at whatever I do.

When this poison came into my body, it affected everything I did. During the wildfires of San Diego in 2003, our house came extremely close to being burned down. At the time, I knew the fire was getting dangerously close within range, but my family didn’t think it could hit us. They thought the fire could never jump the freeway and reach our house. Regardless, I tried to gather our family photos, but I stopped when I was scolded by my family. They thought I was being paranoid, but I saw the orange glow in the sky and knew our lives were in danger. Yet, I did not say a word because I doubted my judgment.

Eventually we heard the sirens of police vehicles and megaphone warnings. We knew it was time to go. But because we were so late in preparing to leave, many family heirlooms were left behind. On top of that, we were stuck in the neighborhood traffic also. Luckily we were able to make our way to a relative’s house for shelter.

As I lay in my inflatable mattress, I couldn’t help but wonder if our house was going to be burned down or not. Even with twenty relatives and four dogs to divert my attention, I still couldn’t help but think about my decision. I was beating myself up over the fact that I was unable to grab my childhood pictures. It was a horrible thought because my parent’s childhood pictures were lost in a separate fire also. I grew up never knowing what they looked like when they were a child or teenager. If I had gone with my instincts, I would have been able to grab everything important from that house.

The fire did come into our neighborhood, but thankfully it did not reach our house. After this incident, I began to trust my intuition and decisions in whatever I did. I knew that doubt could lead to irreversible mistakes in my life. Because of this incident, I was able to react more confidently when the wildfires of San Diego came back again in 2007.

This time, I trusted myself.

Word Count: 497