There are several moments in life that I can honestly say I’ve been afraid.
Once was right before my senior year of high school. I was driving to pick up my mum from work. I went down a side road because we, my mum and I, had agreed that the side road would be safe- less people traveled on it. The car in front of me turned into a parking lot and quickly u-turned into the road. I swerved to miss it, and thought I did, until I realized I was upside down. Once I noticed that I was not continuing on my merry way, I freaked out. I don’t usually make noise when I’m scared and this was only a slight exception. I found my phone, noticed the car window was smashed open, and desperately attempted to crawl out of the car. At some point I realized I could not get out, that I was stuck. Having watched the movie Crash a million times, I was terrified that my car would quickly catch on fire and that I’d burn alive. I didn’t scream though…I just started to cry. After a few moments, someone who had run out of the nearby bar, ran towards my upside down car yelling how he thought someone “was still alive”. (I later told him- after thanking him- that yelling that was not okay…it’s terrifying.) He knelt down, saw me struggling to get out, and told me to stay still, but I couldn’t. He cut the seatbelt, the only thing keeping me in the car and safe, and then pulled me out. During that experience, I was truly afraid for my life.
Another time, also in high school, I was laying in bed, ready to call it a night. Then I started to hear sounds. Let’s keep in mind the house wasn’t super old, so it didn’t make unusual noises. It did have a basement and second story (so 2-3 floors depending on how you like to calculate those things). I tend to hear noises all the time – is that crazy? I blame it on the fact that I grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries, X-files and all kinds of Lifetime movies. Of course years later I decide that Law & Order, First 48, and Investigate Discovery are the best shows ever. Let’s now keep in mind that I now think that everyone is going to kidnap me, hold me hostage, abuse me in someway, and then discard my body…this is no joke…I don’t even get gas by myself at night. I know it’s odd, but this particular night, I was having a HUGE problem with the noises. I decided that I wouldn’t go into my parents room and wake them up, like I usually do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken my parents up just because I was hearing things. (I also woke them up one night after sleep walking because I decided my bike REALLY needed air in the tires RIGHT THEN). Instead, I called my boyfriend at the time in hopes he would calm me down – he didn’t. I then decided that I would climb under my covers and repeat “everything is okay” over and over until I fell asleep. Eventually it worked, but during that time, I was afraid for my life. (It turns out that someone was, in fact, trying to break into our home…So I’m not really that crazy).
There are more times that I’ve been afraid, but the most common theme is that I was afraid for my life. I wasn’t afraid when I started applying for college or when I graduated college. I wasn’t afraid when I started college and moved away from my parents for the first time. I’m not afraid when I’m in a plane, but I was afraid when I walked the skywalk at the Grand Canyon, but again, I was afraid for my life.
Lately I find myself truly afraid. I’m about to graduate college, something that a lot of people go through…and an increasing amount every year. While I know my parents won’t let me completely fail, I worry that I will need the help, that I’ll have to ask for it. I’ve never failed a class, only a test, but life, who knows what that will bring. I’m entering the job market at a terrible time, one that doesn’t promote success for college graduates. Instead it’s promoting success for people that don’t go to college, people that think outside the box. People are getting paid not to go to college, but to challenge things that are, instead of being told how to think and feel. And through all this, I just keep dreaming about going back, about getting my Master’s. I’m afraid that I won’t find a job, or one that pays enough to keep my head above water.
I’m part of a generation that has been overly protected, one that is increasingly afraid. I’m part of a graduating class that is being thrown into an incredible unknown and yet people are telling me to keep going, be myself, and not to fold to others. The problem is that other people are bending, folding, and playing the cards the way employers are asking. If I don’t fit the mold, I won’t make it or succeed. How often do I need to adapt or change to fit my surroundings? I know that everyday is the answer, but everyday is quickly becoming not enough.
As I apply for jobs, I just hope that someone will see something in me. I hope that this person notices that my fear does not hold me back, but it keeps me going. I make intelligent and realistic decisions. I am unusually mature for my age and I’m incredibly aware how cocky that sounds. I’m gradually adjusting to my changing surroundings and imagining a life for myself…I even imagine lives for everyone else, (I read a lot). I have high hopes for the world and for people in general. I love to help others, but only if they believe that they can do better for themselves. I hope someone notices that I’m eager to learn and that I have an intense passion for life. I hope that someone has faith in me, because this next step, it’s a big one.
And I couldn’t be more afraid… and ready to take it on.