[Originally posted on November 13, 2016]
When I was a little girl, I conquered fear. Now, if you know me, or better yet, if you knew me as a little girl, you might not believe me. I was always scared of everything. And for most of my life, I’ve let fear take the driver's seat when it comes to making decisions. But one night sometime in the mid-1990s, little Nicky conquered fear.
We had just gotten home from my Grandma’s house, and my mom realized that she had forgotten her purse there. Jokingly, she said to me “Hey, Nicky, why don’t you run up to Grandma’s and get my purse for me?” This was a joke, because although we lived in a small town and my Grandma’s house was only a five minute walk away, it was after dark, and I was very young. My mother would never expect me, or allow me, to walk to my Grandma’s house alone after dark. She continued doing whatever she was doing, and without her knowing, I snuck out of the house and began the trek to Grandma’s. Now when I think back on it, I have no idea what got into me. I’m not sure if I thought she was serious and the little people-pleaser that I’ve always been wanted to make her happy, or if I wanted to prove something to her and to myself. Either way, I was out on the street, in the dark, alone. Scared beyond belief, I’m sure. When my mom realized where I had gone, she came running out after me and found me halfway down the alley. Before she caught up to me, she heard me talking to myself. Cheering myself on. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”
And now, here I am, a grown woman, sometimes still allowing fear to make my decisions for me. Where is that brave little girl with the powerful mantra when I need her the most?
Then I remember. She’s here. She’s always been here, just under the surface. She’s in all of us. This story reminds me that no matter how afraid I may feel, I have a choice. I can choose not to be afraid. Even if I feel scared inside, I can push past it. It’s that easy. It may not feel easy, but it really is. Fear is something we’ve made up in order to protect ourselves.
Sometimes it’s useful and can keep us safe, but mostly it is an obstacle. It keeps up from discovering things that make us feel alive. It keeps us in our comfort zones, and no magic is made in comfort zones. Sometimes, you just need to jump. And trust that you are capable of spreading those wings, and keeping yourself afloat.
From now on, when I come across something that scares me, I’m going to remember that little girl. That little girl that believed in herself enough to keep going no matter how scared she felt inside.
Choose love over fear. Every time. Because you do have a choice. Don’t let the fear take over. Choose love. Love enough to give yourself the space to fly, regardless of your fear of heights. Chase your dreams.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.