Why is Fear Such a Pain In My Butt?

Tina - Florence, Arizona
Entered on February 17, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear
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Fear is a funny thing. On one hand, it can bring you to your breaking point, terrify you so much that you give up everything you have worked for, or just constantly sit in the back of your head and say, “You are going to fail.” On the other hand though, fear can lead you to greater things in life. It can make you a stronger person just by motivating your intuitions. Through out my life, I have struggled, battled with, and been a nervous wreck because of fear. In my most recent (and important) encounter with fear though, it just so happens that it turned me into a more independent and beautiful person, which is why I believe in making fear my motivation.

I don’t remember the exact time or day, but I do remember that it felt good in the house that night. The temperature was perfect, and the dog was behaving. The fish tanks were simultaneously pushing air bubbles through out the 10 gallon rectangles. The lights in the kitchen weren’t even flickering like they normally did; someone must have finally changed the light bulbs. Everything felt like it belonged, except for my mood. How could I be at ease when I knew what was coming? How could I relax knowing that I was about to crush my parents’ world? The truth is I did not know what their reaction would be. I knew they would be hurt, none the less, but I wasn’t sure if they would act supportive or show their true anger towards my decision. All I knew was that no matter how scared I was I needed to let that fear motivate me to succeed. Even if all odds were against me, I needed to take that as a challenge. The harder the struggle, the more rewarding my decision would be in the end. “Let fear be your motivation,” I repeated in my head.

I can not recall my exact words, but they went something like this, “Mom, Dad… you know I love you both very much.” That is always a wonderful way to break devastating news to the people you love; tell them how much you admire them. In my experience, that strategy has always seemed to soften the blow. “I am an adult now, and I feel like I am ready to make important decisions regarding my college experience.” Of course I didn’t sound that calm and composed; I was stuttering and sweating like a barn-yard pig. At that time, my parents knew that this speech was not going to be a pleasant one. “I know I have always wanted to stay close to home for college, but now that Doug (my boyfriend) has moved to Arizona for a business opportunity, my priorities have changed.” That was when the conversation started getting more difficult for me to suffer through. On one hand, my parents had been my best friends ever since I could remember. They had taught me things in life that no one else could, and I obviously loved them very much; I had always wanted to stay close to them. On the other hand, my boyfriend and I had been down such an important road together; two years is a long time to be committed to someone. I wasn’t going to let the love of my life live a thousand miles away. “Mom… Dad… I want to move to Arizona with Doug.”

After the beginning of my big speech, I do not remember much. Tears rolled down my cheeks as my parents desperately tried to convince me not to leave Illinois. Of course they did not want me to move away; I was their baby. I was their youngest child and they were not ready to let me go. Even though at that point in the conversation I began to re-think my decision, I took a deep breath, and remembered to make fear my motivation. I explained to my parents that no matter what might happen between Doug and I, the change my life was about to take would be worth it. To be honest, I had always been the girl who stayed home to study instead of attending a late night basketball game. I was the girl who had lived in one state, one town, even one house her entire life. I never took risks. I never made life-changing decisions, and even though it sounds very juvenile, I was ready to make a drastic change in my life because I never had before. I was ready to venture out into the world, and see what new experiences were out there. I was ready for anything different. My parents, after a long and hard journey of persuasion, eventually supported my decision, but the fear that tortured me throughout our conversation ended up being the very thing that motivated me to move forward with my life. Fear is what got me here today.

Although fear has made me a stronger and more independent woman this past year, there have been times that it has made me want to run back home. There have been moments when I’ve wanted to close my eyes and be back in Belleville, with my family that loves and misses me (despite the fact that I left them to move across the country). Fear can make or break a person, but for me, it has just changed my life. I am not necessarily a better person than I was a year ago, I am just different. I am in a different place with different people and in a very different stage of my life. At times these changes have hurt me, but every once in awhile, these changes inspire me to want something better from life. Man, fear is a funny thing.