One of my best friends in San Diego reached out to me last week with this exceptional post, asking if I’d be interested in posting it on this blog.  I’m incredibly honored that she not only thought of me, but that she’d be willing to post such a great read here on Rhythm.  I love this post because it addresses something that we all deal with on a daily basis – fear – which is an emotion that we often feel the need to hide.  I hope you are enlightened by it as much as I was, enjoy!

I’ve Been Scared My Whole Life, The Power of Being Afraid

By Jessica Sanders

Let’s just say I was a nervous child. My parents used to laugh as they left me white knuckling the windowpane and whimpering, while they slipped out the front door to heat up their car on cold Vermont mornings—100 feet from the house, for less than a minute.

I wouldn’t ride roller coasters with my thrill-seeking dad and I screamed until my voice faded when I met the friendly (giant!) sesame street characters at Sesame Place—the video of which I will be blackmailed with for the rest of my life.

Fast forward a decade or two and I’m still scared, but not of dogs or being home alone. I’m a 20-something having a quarter-life crisis. And the beauty of it is, I’m no longer alone, screaming out the window of an empty house.

I’m one of many people fumbling through their twenties, learning what it means to be someone who has to cough up a monthly rent check, shell out for student loans, and trudge through grocery store aisles on a weekly basis.

I’m no longer fearful of the neighbor’s dog or the roller coaster at The Great Escape. I’m scared of things that seem to be a bit more important. Like fading friendships and creating a life that says: I came, I saw, and I fucking conquered.

In the past few months I’ve toiled with these emotions, at times feeling elated and others broken, and I’ve had one very important realization: we all live in fear; fear of taking the first step, of saying goodbye, of being hurt by the people we love the most.

Being an extroverted person who spends more time in my head than most, I let these emotions sit inside me while I floated from the gym to work; from a friend’s apartment to the bar.

And only now, months after letting my thoughts steep, am I able to articulate what one might call a Manifesto of Fear. It goes like this:

Live intentionally.

Love hard.

Give your all to the people who give it back.

(And Don’t be upset when they don’t.)

Make smart decisions for your career.

Be in love with yourself.

Do what makes you happy.

Find your strength.

Pay attention to the words floating around in your head.

Question yourself.

But don’t stop there, because the glowing pot of gold at the end of the flickering rainbow is this: It’s okay to be afraid.

Listen to this fear. Feel it eeking out your fingertips, swirling around your head. Embrace the electric power radiating from it and know that this will either paralyze you or give you legs. So let it sit. Let it infiltrate your thoughts. Figure out what it means and then let it push you forward.

About the Author

Jessica Sanders has been writing professionally for four years, with another four years of recreational and personal writing experience before that; she lives for the moment that inspiration hits and the words start spilling out on paper. When she’s not writing for her job or for pleasure, she’s enjoying Southern California, hiking, sun bathing, and spending time with friends.

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