I have lived so much of my life in utter fear of any number of things.
When I was younger it was the costume of Chuckie Cheese and the light fixture that looked like eyes when only partially concealed by the curtains in my room. As I got older it evolved into the rejection of that girl or the disapproval of my parents. Nowadays it’s the fear of not being satisfied with my occupation or watching the time slip like grains of sand through my fingers.
While studying Business Economics at UCI, I learned about risk aversion and risk lovers. I quickly identified as someone who was risk averse. If you’ve been following the journey that has been recounted on this blog than you probably know more than my therapist. The fear of failure that was planted as a homeschooled child in a public high school blossomed as I failed out of engineering. I’ve since identified that this experience fundamentally shaped how I face challenges.
It’s been so frustrating watching friends and acquaintances fearlessly leap into careers and opportunities as I seem to spin in circles. Yet, each time an opportunity presents itself, I wait by the edge of the pool that is risk. Mentors and friends have encouraged me to pull a Nike and “just do it,” and yet as my mind tells me to go for it, my body prevents me from moving.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew what I was afraid of. Because if I knew what I was afraid of, I could drink small doses of that fear to grow accustomed to it. This next example is beyond privileged, but when I was younger I was afraid of roller coasters. My family had socal select Disneyland passes so one visit when the family all split up to do what they wanted to do, I rode what now is Goofy’s Flight School about 20 times in order to grow accustomed to the dropping sensation. I managed to “brute force away” my fear of falling and roller coasters and I thoroughly enjoy myself now at theme parks.
But the fear I face now… I didn’t even know where to begin.
I decided to do some soul searching that consisted of reflecting on my past, writing about my past, talking to my therapist, and so so many talks with friends, family, and coworkers.
After years of searching and recounting, I narrowed my fear down to something interesting. Due to the negativity of my UCI experience, I am terrified to begin things because I am afraid of not being able to finish them. Now while it was a traumatic experience, I learned that UCI was not the only contributor to this fear that I had developed. Failed relationships, failed friendships, countless started workout plans, handling a pornography addiction, not being able to commit to a church due to church drama at every turn, countless jobs, and burned bridges all contributed to this crippling fear I have of being unable to complete the task that I set out to accomplish.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, ‘This person began to build and was unable to finish'”
This verse in the Bible has haunted me for years. I don’t want to see myself as that guy anymore. The guy who was unable to finish the job that he said he was going to start and see to completion. Up until this point, I have only seen myself as that flake.
In about 30 hours, I am going to face the hardest physical and mental challenge I have probably ever had to face. At the encouragement of one of my coworkers named William, at Chick-fil-A, I decided to run a marathon.
The planning for this race started over a year ago. If you know me, you know that I’m athletically challenged. I didn’t make the high school track team twice. The only awards I’ve ever gotten are “most improved” and the participation trophies. I’m allergic to my own sweat. Injury prone is my middle name. I have to wear insoles to prevent from getting plantar facilitis or whatever it’s called.
My entire 25 years of life I have used these facts as excuses to ever attempt something like this. But this time, I decided that I needed to take action to prove to myself that I could start something and that I could carry it to fruition.
I used “I” five times in that last paragraph, and ironically the training process has been the antithesis of me-centered. True I did run alone sometimes, but I had a community that encouraged me to run. My family encouraged me even when I ubered home 2/3rds of the way through one of my longer runs. My friends Crystal and Brian reminded me to run in Istanbul and Ephesus while on vacation. My coach Will is running alongside me to provide me with moral support. And then there is all the verbal affirmation from people as the day approaches. Everything from Pedialyte suggestions, dietary suggestions, and stretching suggestions.
It is so hilariously ironic to me how much this experience mirrors my actual life. I had a running plan that I followed but not to completion. It brought back memories of procrastinating with studying for finals until the last minute. I had friends who had to drop out of running it with me due to several valid reasons. It reminded me of the friends who I thought would be with me in the darkest seasons of my life, but who I had to also part with for valid reasons. I am so afraid and anxious about not being able to finish the race due to some injury. It literally reminds me of how afraid and anxious I get thinking about making pivotal decisions regarding my career and the future in my daily life.
Apparently, ENFP’s have to tie every experience to some higher being or divine reason. Or at least that’s a highly common trait. And so it’s even more ironic that this race is so symbolic and important to me.
I guess we’ll see if I finish the race.
There are so many Bible verses that I could twist out of context to use in conclusion of this blog, but I’ll control myself haha.
In conclusion, I will say this though, life is rough and sometimes when we take risks and chances we get really really burned. It can be really hard to move forward when this happens, and even when time is supposed to heal our wounds, sometimes it really doesn’t. This blog is for everyone else who shares some of those fears that come with growing up. Sometimes, we allow the circumstances around us and the times we’ve been burned define who we are.
But I’m here to say that we always have the choice to rewrite who we are. It might not be a glorious process and you might be sucking in air while having muscle spasms on the side of the road, but our biggest enemy is that inner voice/dialogue that has us convinced that it knows what we are capable of and who we are. As long as we are still breathing we have the opportunity to seize the day and steer our lives in a different direction.
See y’all at the finish line.