WHY I LEARNED IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED

In life, we experience cycles. There are times when our lives are going exactly as we imagined, leaving us feeling almost as if we’re invincible. And, then, there are those other times where life becomes a shade of gray. We’re left reflecting on the past and wondering whether or not we’ve made the right decisions that have led us to here and now. Uncertainty begins to consume our thoughts, and we eventually become vulnerable to fear. As we battle through these emotions, we tell ourselves being fearful is a sign of weakness, all while failing to recognize the important value underneath such an intense and meaningful emotion.

When I began writing, I made an important promise to myself and my readers that I was going to be honest. I was new to the writing world, with practically little-to-no experience, but I knew I had a voice that needed to be heard. With hesitations and doubts at expressing my feelings aside, I began typing my thoughts out letter by letter, word by word; and it was then that I realized writing made me happy — very happy, in fact. Through personal anecdotes and past experiences, I have always left my readers with what I believe is an uplifting and inspiring message. However, today I’m here to tell you that on some days, my positive attitude is masked by fear and uncertainty. Yet, despite these feelings, I’m okay with that. Sometimes, it’s okay to not have the pieces of your life put together. Sometimes, fear needs to be felt. And sometimes, it’s okay to be scared.

These past few months have been a constant roller coaster ride of small highs and extremely low lows for me. With college behind me and a long, seemingly dark tunnel ahead, I can’t seem to find my way out of this path of uncertainty. Typically, a postgraduate has a somewhat basic notion of how life should be after college, and it goes a little something like this: apply for jobs, get a full-time position, make money, get an apartment, etc. However, living with a disease where you are required to rely on someone 24-7, life presents many challenges, and you’re left with the fear of thinking that you won’t be able to get where you want to be in life. So, in an attempt to conceal my feelings of fear, I’ve been telling myself that tomorrow is another day and ignoring the pain on the inside. And up until now, I’ve never allowed myself to experience a fear like this.

I believe my biggest personal flaw is the inability to express, or even acknowledge, my feelings in a rational and logical manner. I take what I’m feeling, put it in a box, and throw away the key in hopes that these feelings will just disappear over time. Unfortunately, they don’t, and today my box exploded. The walls around me caved in, and I sobbed to my mom and screamed as loud as my little lungs allowed me to because I’m scared. I’m scared that I won’t progress in life. I’m scared that I won’t experience the life I’ve always wanted because of my disability. I’m scared that I’ll watch those around me move forward in life while I begin to fall behind. I’m scared about being scared.

There’s always been a part of me that thought showing fear and allowing myself to feel in such a way was a sign of cowardice. However, after the feelings I faced today, I’m finally realizing that with the right approach to fear, we can gain valuable lessons. Recognizing fear strengthens us, but we must be open to understand that. It can also destroy us if we dwell upon it. In the midst of being scared, it’s imperative we discipline ourselves. Take a step back, analyze those fears, and allow them to serve as a motivational outlet. Fear, when understood in the right context, can push us to our limits and allow us to take chances. It gives us the ability to reevaluate our current circumstances and gives us the opportunity to make a change. It is one of the stepping stones to success. Instead of focusing on the paralyzing and negative aspects of being scared, it’s time we notice that our fears have the potential to turn into something great.

So, embrace your fears and chase your dreams. Let fear take you down every once in a while because once you’re at the bottom, you can only go up. We are entitled to our own feelings, and if fear is what it takes to realize we have to put our doubts and uncertainties behind us, then so be it. Fear, just like any other emotion, is an emotion that deserves to be felt. And as long as we are able to acknowledge its presence and not allow it to hold us back, fear can serve as a powerful tool in moving forward into a better, more fulfilling future.

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