What are you afraid of?
One of my biggest fears is ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
I’m not exactly fond of large spiders either, but that’s a topic for another column.
When I was younger, circa 2002, I got to the point physically where I could walk on my own.
Over the next six years, I got stronger and stronger until I could do laps around Wal-Mart walking solo.
Sure, I’d lose balance once or twice but I also learned how to spring up in seconds and keep going, and it felt like I was getting stronger every day.
I was on a roll without actually rolling for once.
However, toward the end of eighth grade I started experiencing some difficulty with the walking. It had been so easy not too long ago.
I learned I’d have to have a serious leg surgery.
That landed me in a hospital bed for the whole summer leading up to my first year of high school.
Following my recovery I thought I’d be able to spring up out of bed and walk like I used to.
I can’t honestly say that was the case.
I ended up losing all of the leg muscle I had built that took me over half a decade to build.
I started high school in a bright yellow wheelchair that my cousin used to use.
It was a tad bit small, and sitting in it for too long made my back sore, but the lights in the wheels lit up in the dark, so that was pretty cool.
While the chair looked cool and drove smoothly, my head was a mess.
I was doing physical therapy and going nowhere. It seemed like my biggest fear would become more of a reality.
So for a while, I ignored the fear.
Only acknowledging it to see if the thought was stilled stored somewhere in the back of my mind and then putting it away again.
That wasn’t a smart thing to do. I went downhill quickly.
Eventually I all but quit trying to improve entirely, because I hated working as hard as I did for as long as I did and still being stuck in the chair.
At the core though, I was afraid to face my fear, and I didn’t think I could overcome it.
One day I got tired of the fear and decided that I was going to face the it and see if I could beat it. So, I started walking with a walker at school full-time.
At first I couldn’t even make it halfway down the hall without stopping for a break.
Now, I can go about a mile without stopping, not too bad I would say. I’m still working on it, too.
Sometimes you have to face your fears to achieve something great.
If I hadn’t faced mine, I’d probably still be where I was six years ago.
Maybe your fear is water, or roller coasters or anything else that’s keeping you from living life the way you want to.
Start in the shallow end, go on a roller coaster next time you go to Six Flags (but you might want to avoid the ones with loops and corkscrews at first).
I mean, look at Bruce Wayne, he conquered his fear of bats, and now he’s Batman!
Granted, he is only a comic book character.
I’m not saying you should run around fighting crime with a cape on, I’m just saying that when you look your fears in the eye, you can end up accomplishing some incredible things you didn’t even know you were capable of.
Start living life the way you want to. What are you afraid of?
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org