The Importance of Choosing Fear

The Importance of Choosing Fear

How fear is not the end, but actually the beginning of more.
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Who I was four years ago was onto something.

I was seventeen; I had never moved away from home – fear seemed to be coming at me from every angle with every second that I grew older.

Half of me was afraid to leave the comfort of home. The other half of me was afraid of what staying would look like. In the end, I did what so many high school graduates do: I moved away; I went to school.

I can vividly recall my arrival to Newberg, Oregon – to the place I would call home for one year. When it came time to say goodbye to my family, I couldn’t even watch them walk away. The door closed behind them, and I stood still in my box of a room – unknowingly on the other side of the door of fear.

Leading up to that moment in my life, I had experienced fear divided between the reality of staying in the familiarity of my hometown, and the reality of starting over in a place where the future was entirely ambiguous.

I am four years removed from that first Welcome Weekend (I would actually have three more welcome weekends during my undergraduate career – but I didn’t know this at the time). I’ve knocked on plenty of doors and walked through a handful of doorways to get to this point.

As I find myself in the midst of this post-undergraduate season, I am still coming face-to-face with fears that seem to always have two sides. Life deals heavily with choosing one’s fears. Certainly there are some things out of a person’s control, yet when it comes to pushing forward in any situation, the option to choose remains.

I’m learning that there is something to be said about choosing fear and choosing it with intent.

From the time I moved to Oregon for my first year of college, up to this current season of my life where I newly reside in Los Angeles, I have been required to make fear a friend as opposed to something that I either ignore or fall paralyzed to.

Until recently, I believed that fear was a sign of weakness. I looked at others and assumed that the happiness exuded through their pictures on social media indicated that they were simply unafraid, and therefore living life to the fullest. I desired to be unafraid and uninhibited in the ways that I assumed everyone else to be.

Here’s the thing, though: People are not fearless.

Here’s something else: Fear is not an indication of weakness or of failure. Levels of fear are not synonymous with a person’s level of maturity or character. And, I’m not at all suggesting that a life lived comfortably is a life lacking depth and experience. One person’s fear is not greater or less than someone else’s. At the end of the day, fear is fear -- which brings me to my ultimate lesson:

Fear is the point.

Fear is absolutely the point when it comes to moving, and growing, and healing, and chasing, and thriving.

If we were never afraid—if I wasn’t ever afraid—complacency wouldn’t be optional, and blind comfort would be inevitable.

If I’m being honest with my beliefs and opinions, I’d go so far as to say that on the opposite end of fear is not bravery, but complacency. I always believed that bravery was on the opposite, unreachable end, but it goes hand-in-hand with fear. In fact, it thrives off of fear.

People don’t scale mountains, fly planes, build skyscrapers, start businesses, travel places, write stories, serve others, stand out from crowds, and begin new chapters of life through being complacent.

I believe that people need to be affirmed that their fears are quite possibly indications of a right choice, of something bigger. People need to be reminded that fear is contingent upon the individual and cannot be categorized within an arena of right and wrong.

I believe that people should also be told to just do the scary thing anyway –

even if failure seems to be crouching behind the door –

even if success seems too far away –

even if the door will lead to seasons of loneliness and growing pains and sacrifice.

The point is to knock on the door or barge through it anyway.

Bravery is most authentic when fear appears to be at its greatest heights.

At seventeen, I nearly forfeited my dream of college because I believed fear to be evidence that college was the wrong choice. At twenty-two, I still have to combat the lies fear wants to fill me with.

The thing is that, although I will never not be afraid of something, I am coming to terms with the character of fear. I holdfast to the truth that life is full of doors leading to unknown chapters, and that fear is not always a foreshadow to something awful, nor is it a definition for who I am as a woman.

Rather, the right choice, the different choice, the choice that feels most foreign to life as you and I know it, is bound to be scary; though it is surely the choice that will lead to something no dream can come close to conjuring up.

In every scenario, I was onto something. The hope in me was onto the notion that there was more than just the pang that fear has to offer. I’ve learned that when fear tries to sell an experience as being too risky, the truth is that the experience is actually invaluable, and the adventure ahead incomprehensible.

Cover Image Credit: "The Film Stage - Your Spotlight On Cinema" - "Tree of Life 78" (Still taken from The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick)

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.
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It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Poetry On The Odyssey: Lovely Lullaby

The Music Box Of My Mind Before I Fall Asleep

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Like the banks of the Mississippi when the water subsides, I long for your touch

Like two bolts of lightning crashing together in the empty sky, we are electric and powerful

My heart beats for you like the kick drum of my soul

Pounding away into the endless night

While you decipher the rhythmic melody

And come running back to my arms while our hearts increase in tempo

Until you enter my embrace and our hearts sing in melodic chorus

A swelling crescendo to an unattainable octave, the symphony plays us out

and

as we dance under the stars in absolute harmony,

The creator nods in approval at our magnificent composition

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