Years ago, when the teen was a little five-year-old and I was walking him through the school gates for the very first time, it was I who had butterflies in my stomach as I let go of the little hands that held me tight. It was a strange feeling, as I watched him walk away until he disappeared beyond the grilled gates, accompanied by one of the kindergarten teachers. I stood outside the gates, wondering how the kid would face the big wide world all by himself. I hoped the teachers would be kind and loving and I hoped he’d make friends easily and things would be smooth. I stood and prayed that all be fine with him. After a few minutes, I walked back to the car. The fear that had gripped me all along, took some more time, before it finally disappeared. The end feeling was that of relief!
Today, I know, more than anything else, it was fear that had stalked my heart more than it had struck the kid. This, inspite of the fact that it was I who had said to the little kindergartener— “It’s okay. Everyone feels a little nervous on their first day. But, remember, there’ll be teachers to help you and lots of new friends, just like you, coming to big school for the very first time.” I had even added the extra bit—“You know, Arjyo, Fai and I think you are going to have a super time in school! We are so proud of you for putting on your best today, even though you are a little scared.” Needless to say, the child felt supported and encouraged and he felt confident. After all, it wasn’t the first time he was in a school set-up. Two years in a play school had given him enough experience to face new folks, but, it did nothing for my angst. I paced up and down at home and waited for the clock to strike 12 so I could see him in the line as the students came out, according to their classes, waiting for the parents to receive them.
Over time, like most people, I have also learnt to face my fears and brave them with the same piece of advice that I gave my son on that first day of school. But, beneath the exteriors of a calm and confident exterior, I often see a bundle of nerves, whose only wish is to learn to deal with the many other hundreds of fears that lie dormant, only to wake up every now and then, on many an unsuspecting minute— and strike terror. Some days, the fear is enough to paralyse thought and action. But, at other days, the mind gets into a steely resolve to banish those very fears that cripple the mind and thwart progress.
Having fears is normal, I guess. We all have them. But, it matters if our fears prevent us from doing things that we truly want to do—that’s when we have a real problem. And, if that creates problem in the important aspects of our everyday living, well, then, we really do have a problem. Of course, this can be resolved, but it all depends on how strongly we will our minds to face our fears and dispel the darkness that it brings into our hearts.
As someone who suffers from rather nasty spells of migraine, that stalls every plan on a given day— traveling, especially, when done over an extended period of time, seems to make it worst, especially when all those things that excited you earlier no longer work in your favour anymore. But, then again, I do not wish to be holed up in my quiet corner forever. As I’m about to set off on a fortnight-long trip with the family this week, I’m doing my best to stay positive, by planning well, staying organised with emergency medications and hoping everything will be fine. Of course, I have no clue if these will be enough to dispel my fears but, right now, they are all that I have. I’m going with the wonderful words of Dan Rather—hoping it will give me the boost I need to carry on nonetheless:
“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”
Today, I have the courage to admit my fears because I’ve realised one thing: only when I acknowledge them, will I begin to know who I truly am.
How do you deal with your fears? What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone to beat one’s fears for good?
Linking this post with Corinne for #MondayMusings