As a child, looking at the world, everything seemed big and scary. Naturally, most children would dive into the new world with fresh eyes and contentment, but I would always stay back. I would think things through and consider consequences before acting irrationally. My friends would always do things with spontaneity while I would get left behind sitting alone shrouded by my fear. As life gradually moved on, I grew to overcome my fears and not overanalyze situations with the help of a few moments in my life.
One event I remember with startling clarity was when I was seven. Like many children, my brother and cousins loved to ride oller coasters and enjoyed the thrill that accompanied it. However, I never relished the execrable feeling of my stomach going queasy while I tried to stop the blood-curdling scream from escaping my lips. On one trip to Great America, my cousins and brother ditched me to ride a ride called Psycho Mouse which had crazy turns, but most importantly, had drops. Feeling dejected, I sat next to my mom who also disliked roller coasters. I guess it’s in my dreams” I bitterly thought. Seeing my crestfallen expression, my mom called my dad over.
He hurriedly sprinted over thinking we were in danger, but when he aw we were just both sitting on the bench without a single scratch, he inquisitively asked what was wrong. My mom explained that I felt left out and a determined expression soon filled my dad’s face. He took my hands and dragged me until we stood in front of what looked like a snoopy mini roller coaster. At that moment, I couldn’t distinguish what kind of emotions I felt.
My feelings of anger because he knew I was deathly afraid, embarrassment because I was the oldest kid there, and maybe even a twinge of hope (although l’d never admit it) jumbled up leaving me an anxious mess. My dad dragged me to the seats kicking and screaming while the attendant of the ride watched us trying (but failing) to hold back a smirk. The first few seconds weren’t bad. until we hit the first drop. I screamed so loud that mothers who should’ve been used to little kids screaming left and right couldn’t hold back the need to menacingly glare at me. My family never went back to the park together ever again.
Although it was terrifying, I eventually got over my fear of roller coasters and was able to ride them when I went back for my eighth grade field trip, but I don’t think I could’ve gotten over my ear without the Snoopy mini roller coaster because it taught me that I could ride a ride without throwing up. Another item that was on my long list of fears when I was growing up was swimming. With all of the cases of people drowning , it was only logical and my younger self didn’t really understand the challenging concept of floating. I used to take these classes that had 6 levels to help you improve your swimming skills at UCSF.
The levels were fairly easy to pass and my brother breezed through them, but me? I stayed at the bottom level as a guppy. It would’ve been easy to pass the evels, but the only problem was I refused to get into the water. After two classes which took ? of a year each, my mom grew frustratingly tired of my lack of improvement. At the time, I was 4, but I could never forget the traumatic experience. The night before the lesson, I went home and came back with a purple sparkly nail polish which I put in my swimming bag to show to my cousins, but that day at the swimming lesson, my mom had finally had enough.
She snapped and dragged me into the girl’s bathroom. There, she threatened to throw away the purple sparkly nail polish. My 4-year-old brain couldn’t assimilate that a person would do something that cruel and terrible, so I called her bluff and refused to get into the water. Outraged, she forcefully hurled the nail polish until it shattered on the bottom of the trash can. A year later, here I was again in the swimming pool, but refusing to actually dunk my head in the water fearing I would drown. The sound of kids screaming and splashing playfully at each other filled my ears as I stood in the corner of a pool crossing my arms.
The class ended with me standing in the same position for an hour not bothering to move. After we left the facility, my mom nonchalantly told me that I had another swim class with her in a few hours. Standing in a pool is very hard, but the hardest task I had ever had to complete was hanging out with my mother for an hour. Combining those two things would not result in anything pretty. When the time finally came for us to start the class, all I could see was toddlers with ages ranging from 1-2 years old. “What is this madness? ” I asked myself. “Welcome to parent child swim class! ” the overly enthusiastic swim teacher announced.
So first, we’re going to start with unking them in the water to let them get used to it. ” “Wai-” I tried to yell before I started gulping down gallons of water. Cries started to fill the room and I contemplated doing the same, but since I was older and had a reputation to uphold, I decided against it. “Let’s calm down everyone! ” the shrilly shriek of the teacher reverberated against the wall. She was obviously new because she seemed really freaked out and had not yet realized that she was speaking to people who couldn’t comprehend a word she was saying. The class although redundant, helped me deal with my fears of putting my head in water.
Growing up I always had this fear that someone would kidnap me, whether it was in the bathroom, on the street, or even in the comforts of my own home. My parents always told me it was illogical and that I shouldn’t be scared so easily, but I was never soothed by their assurances. One day, I was playing in the backyard when I teased my brother about his bony structure. Enraged, he chucked the ball we were playing with across the yard and made me run and get it. Using that as a distraction, he sprinted into the house where he stood triumphantly smirking at me as he locked the door and ran upstairs.
I tried relentlessly o get back inside of the house, pounding on the door kicking and screaming. Sighing dejectedly, I sat on the ground watching the clouds pass over the sun when a thought suddenly occurred to me. The fences aren’t that tall, what if someone managed to jump over it? Fear gripped me as I tried harder than ever to gain access to my house. No luck. I sat there for hours on that blisteringly warm day trying my best not to hyperventilate. As minutes turned to hours, I grew more and more bored and resorted to staring at the little bugs crawling back and forth.
Finally, when my parents noticed I was missing, they came ushing out only to find me half out of my mind talking to the bugs on the floor. Relief spread over their features when they realized that I had not been kidnapped. After spending many hours all alone with a high risk of getting kidnapped, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have been so worried and that not every person was bad. When we’re little, there are small events that shape a person. After experiencing all of these events firsthand, I’ve learned to be more free spirited and loosen up a little. Many events led me to this conclusion that sometimes, you have to live life.