By: Karla Hernandez, IATG ContributorAugust 19, 2016
Last night I was laying in bed in my usual half-sleep, when my body slows to an almost idle state while my mind is hyper-actively moving with thoughts travelling like speeding cars in different directions. I’ve noticed those vehicles and our thoughts tend to run at full-speed during late hours of the night, perhaps because the quietness and solitude allows what can’t be done when the world is awake and watching.
During these moments as a child, my mind would wander as I lay awake in my twin-sized mattress. I used to imagine a monster that grew out of the black corners of my bedroom walls. This monster was out to get me. I knew it for sure. So I hid underneath my comforter, convinced that if I was perfectly still this monster would never be able to find me.
As a quasi- adult (I just graduated college), I still lay awake at night in bed. Except now, my fears have changed. Instead of coming alive from my bedroom walls, “grown up fears” take a different form. They come in questions, past choices, missed opportunities, losses… the list goes on and on. Most recently, my biggest fear is about my future. I’ve been out of school for about a month now, and for the first time in my life, I don’t have a plan for what’s next.
As a Psychology student, I learned that fear is something our mind creates to protect us from potential threats. Fear tells us, “don’t walk down that dark alleyway” or “this person is someone you should avoid.” But it also causes us to avoid situations that are non-threatening, and because of this, we hold ourselves back.
And what’s the fear that paralyzes us most often? The fear of the unknown.
The fear of taking that first step into the unknown – whether it is a new relationship, a new job, or a big lifestyle change – is usually what stops us from even trying at all. Sarah Silverman recently tweeted, “Fear makes us capable of being our worst selves and bravery makes us capable of being our best selves. And that’s that.” Reading this made me think about the walls we put up to shut out things we’re afraid of, the “safety blankets” that hide us from our demons. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear; it‘s doing something because you know that your actions matter more than any of those demons.
Sometimes the hardest thing to realize is that we are capable. We are enough. We are bigger than any bedroom monster or obstacle in life. Once you grab hold of whatever is scaring you, you realize that it can be shaped into whatever you want it to be. Use that fear to propel you forward. Let go of that security blanket and begin.
What do you use as a security blanket? Well it’s time to let go! You are so much more capable and than you could ever imagine, and you don’t need any security blankets in life! Get out there and be a little more fearless today. You can do it.
Karla is a current senior at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York studying English Literature and Psychology. She is passionate about snacks, social justice, coffee, reading, travelling, being a friend, and empowerment. On any given day you can catch her with a cup of coffee in her hand wearing a flannel. Staying up late is her favorite past time besides eating chicken wings (which are also the way to her heart).