On the Other Side of Fear

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Statue of 'Fearless Girl', located on Wall Street in New York (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)


Now, that is a scary word...

It's not something we like to talk about, is it? Yet so many of us face it every day, every minute, sometimes every second of our lives. Fear can make us do the most terrible, unthinkable things. We hurt others...we hurt ourselves. Or it can cause us to do nothing. It can cause us to freeze when our voices and talents are most needed.

I don't remember feeling a lot of fear growing up. I'm very lucky. I felt safe at home. I felt safe at school. I even felt safe in the dark. But...I would still take that running leap into bed after I turned off the light so a creepy witch hand wouldn't reach out, grab my ankle from under my bed and yank me into the unforeseen abyss. Thanks "Are You Afraid of the Dark." I definitely don't do that still sometimes...definitely.

As a young adult I felt fearless 99.9% of the time. Buuuut.. there was that time my sister and I had an epic trip to Universal Studios in Hollywood in 2007. One of the first few attractions we waited in a ridiculous line for was The House of Horrors. According to Wikipedia:

"The attraction took about 8 minutes to walk through. It was not recommended for children under the age of thirteen due to violent and scary situations." 

We saw the young kids in line and thought, we have totally got this. Within 2.5 minutes, my little sister and I, age 19 and 17 years old, miraculously found the emergency exit door and burst through it screaming like the little girls that we were. Complete with our arms over our heads, like that would actually protect us from what we had just seen. I mean, we should have known what weenies we were after going on the Jurassic Park Ride...


For most of my life I feel like I've understood what "scary" is and what it feels like.

Going down a big rollercoaster is scary. A friend playing a prank on you and jumping out from behind a door is scary. Turning around in the middle of your shower karaoke session to spot a giant spider on the shower wall staring right at you. THAT is scary. No actually that is terrifying and I don't wish it on anyone. 

But it has only been, in what I believe, these last five years of my life that I have began this journey of feeling, understanding, living in, and most of all overcoming fear. I know this is just the beginning and so many of my loved ones have spent years and decades fighting this battle.

I could give you the dictionary examples to explain the difference of feeling scared and having fear. But how fun is that? So here are my definitions...

Feeling Scared

Feeling scared is like trying to go to bed after going to the theater to see Paranormal Activity in 2009 with some of your best friends. (My best friend who tricked me into seeing this, you are lucky I still love you!) Then having to force the idea for a sleepover just so you don't have to sleep alone. Two twin beds pushed together, three girls squished in. Lights were on allll night. That is feeling scared. 

Having Fear

Having fear is turning on the news on the morning of June 12th, 2016 and wondering if your friends are okay. Wondering if they are alive. Fear gives you the desire to numb the pain. Fear wants you to give up,  do nothing, so it can rule you, and the world. 

Having fear is a mountain. You are at the bottom looking up at it. Feeling the weight of it's power. You are small. You can't climb it. You can hear it's voice tempting you to try but all you feel is your body wanting to crumble and hide. You will fail...it tells you...

In so many ways fear has ruled our world. You can see it painted all over our history, for millions of years. It is a battle we have to continue to fight. That I believe we were made to fight. Fear has ruled over me longer than I wish to admit, but I think it is important to be upfront about our own imperfections, learn from them, and move on.

I'm not a very political person, but I do understand how important it is to make our voices heard. Our country was created by people who worked together to fight for what they believed was good, and justified. Since 1776, so much has changed. Sadly, today it is not the people who are fighting the hardest who are signing the documents, making the big rules. At least not yet... 

I could give you paragraphs and paragraphs of my opinions on the current state of our government, our leadership, and how disappointed I am that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is not running for president in 2020...

But I'd rather share some hope instead. Yeah...we all miss him. 

The title of this blog entry was inspired by one of my many amazing mentors and counselors. Dude, if you don't have at least two or three mentors in your life you are missing out! She shared with me this beautiful talk by Kamal Ravikant. It is called "Love and Entrepreneurship" and you can watch the full talk here.

I was listening to it one morning about two weeks ago while I was getting ready for the day. I was brushing my teeth. My two kittens I am fostering were biting my toes and my mouth was full of toothpaste, yet I ran into the other room to stop the video and rewind because I was sure I had just heard the most perfect words that could explain why I did, and why I do continue to pursue things that give me fear.

He said, "If there is something that scares me, there is magic on the other side." 
He followed with more wonderful quotes like, "Whatever you create, you have to put it out to the world." "The real prize is who you become in the process." "Magic is when you put it out to the world."


Being the fairytale princess that I am inside, you can of course understand how that word resonated with me. Even just saying the word "fear" grosses me out. It's like saying the word "moist." But "magic," that word can instantly bring up your mood. And it is just on the other side of that yucky word.

In just over one month I am moving to a country across the world where I have never been before. Am I scared? Hell yes. Am I fearful? No ma'am.

Fear has called to me and whispered in my ear so many days when I have turned on the television or opened the newspaper to see hate written all over it. It has mocked me while I have sat there wondering what I can do but feeling powerless. Now I don't feel that.

Now I know what I can do and I am making it happen. When I leave for China early August I will get to fulfill my passion of making this world just a little bit smaller. Teaching English, I will get to create a bridge between cultures. Not a wall. 

I know I am going to see more terrible stories and situations in the media and in front of my own eyes, but I am so tired of sitting in that fear and letting it control me. I am tired of letting it tell me lies. I'm not Wonder Woman.  I'm not going to heal the world. I only know one person who can do that. But in the meantime. I'm ready to get my hands dirty. I'd rather be a warrior than a watcher.

So what do you say? Let's look on the other side of that yucky word and fight for the thing our world needs right now...


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