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“I am really, really scared right now!”

That is what my smart, beautiful, and down-right wonderful niece said to me this past weekend as we stood in line for her first adult roller coaster. She is 10 years old. She just barely made the height requirement for the larger coasters and the ones with loops and corkscrews. That is a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, but I knew she would be safe with me as I flashed a pleading look toward the obviously bored ride attendants as they measured her. She was terrified, rightfully so, but she still got on.

I told her that if she felt like crying, just to scream instead because screaming on rides was 100% OK and that way she could let it all out faster. I promised that (even though would stand in line forever) before we knew it the ride would be over. Who can turn down permission to scream your head off? Turns out, she was a pro. She even worked up to keeping her eyes open and loved hanging upside down for the brief loops while going somewhere around 85mph. Having been a lover of roller coasters and frequent Six Flags Great Adventure ticket-holder in my youth, I was ridiculously proud.

In line for an even scarier ride there was a young girl pleading with her older sisters in front of us, “I don’t feel well! Don’t make me do this! I don’t want to go on this ride!” and they were mocking her in return, “Too late, you’re already this far in line, you’re just SCARED! Don’t be SCARED! Why are you so SCARED?!”  We were both watching this, and I leaned down to my niece and whispered in her ear:

“Ya know what I think? I think that it’s OK to be scared. Some things in life are scary. But if you’re scared now, it means you are about to do something really brave…and there is nothing better than being brave!”

As the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized that I also needed to hear them. I have big dreams. I don’t dream small. If I want to make my own dreams come true I am certainly going to have to be brave. The thing is, I think sometimes we’re hard on ourselves for feeling fear. Note: If fear is causing you to stay in bed all day watching DVR’d HGTV shows and eating Tostitos with lime until your tongue goes raw, you should re-visit the idea of anti-anxiety meds before proceeding. However, if you have the kind of fear I do, the kind that exists simply to show you just how much you really want something, than you’re likely about to do something fabulously brave. And really, what’s better than being brave?

You may wait forever, but before you know it...the ride is over. So, buckle up and let's go.


10 responses »

  1. Love this Darlene! So in tune with what I’m trying to accomplish right now! Great post! :))

  2. I don’t see a LIKE button above, but I’d press LOVE, anyway. I LOVE the sensation of sheer terror (if you know me at all), and this captures it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a roller coaster ride (but don’t they make good metaphors?) a basejump, or an audition, our minds are wired the same way–to tell our bodies to turn back now.

    It REALLY helps to have a brave companion to say, “YOU CAN DO THIS.”

    That makes a whirrrrrrld of difference.

  3. Great post. You are the best not-guru around. I am getting better at recognizing my fears and can’t wait to share with you how brave I’ve become. Til then, AGHHHHGHGGHHGHGHHH TOWANDA!

  4. Love this. So much of the time, we let fear hold us back. And then there are those people who think our fears are silly. “Don’t be SCARED!”

    Everyone has their unique fears, and stepping into my fears is really when I learn to embrace them. When I can (and allow myself to) embrace my fear, I inevitably find that it was all in my head… that I was just projecting a future outcome instead of living in the present. And the next step is usually FUN, and I end up saying… “I want to ride AGAIN!!”

  5. Great post! I’m working on eliminating FEAR altogether from my life. I’ve lived in it for far too long. I’m jumping in, without a net, and my arms are stretch far above me. Wheeeeeee!!!! Love, love. ♥

  6. I am so filled with fear right now. I really needed to hear this. I’m having a hard time understanding that you are not my guru because it certainly feels like you are.
    Fear buster step one. I’m going to stop crying when I break down in the street. Instead I shall scream my head off.

  7. The HGTV/Lime Tostitos is oddly specific. Good advice. “Be brave.” That will be my new personal mantra for when I’m feeling anxious about doing something.

  8. Fear is just apart of that roller coaster called life. Yes, I made a corny pun here and I’m proud of it. I find that its the things that we are afraid of that are the most worth while.

    I have never regretted what comes after I let go of my fears. I’ve only regretted those fears I’ve kept with me. Maybe, someday, I can let go of those too. The outcome might just surprise me.

    If you ever need someone to help you to let go of your fears, you know my number. And I, in turn, know yours.

    P.S. We had some good times at Six Flags, didn’t we?

  9. Love Lime Tostitos,hate roller coasters,love YOU. Thank you for your brave words and being such an awesome Aunt.She’s a lucky duck,your niece.

  10. This is exactly why I like teaching drama to kids so much. One of my written rules in class is to “be brave”. Take a chance. Just get up and do it. Most kids have these revelations of their own abilities. It’s an amazing thing to watch. It’s a great way to let go of fear. Teaching drama and writing does the same thing for me. Right before I teach, I doubt and doubt and doubt and then when I’m in it I feel so free. I’d like to feel this way all the time….

    Now, even though rollercoasters are definitely NOT my thing, I LOVE LOVE this post. 🙂


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