Overcoming My Fears

For as long as I can remember, fear has always been a huge part of me. When I am in a state of distress, I can feel this particular emotion seep through me and smother out the more pleasant sensations that this life has to offer. I feel that I care too much about how others view me as an individual, and let their opinions rule the way that I act and dress in front of others, inevitably suppressing my inner qualities and character traits in favor of the ones that the public deem to be “appropriate”. Over time, I have found that one fear can lead to the development of another, if left unchecked. For example, I have always had an irrational fear of spiders (called arachnophobia), but instead of dealing with the problem, I decided to just avoid it at all costs, which has lead to a decrease in outdoor activities for me. Although there is always this small, persistent voice urging me to confront this phobia, I just attempt to ignore it.

This summer, an interesting phenomenon overcame me while I looked over the required summer reading list. Looking through the books, I felt a deep sense of uncertainty, simply because I had never challenged myself in the manner that these books challenged me, particularly Frankenstein and Macbeth. One doubt led to another and soon I questioned myself and wondered, Can I handle AP English?

I was scared.

I felt that taking this course was the wrong choice for me. I felt that I would be holding back the class if I attended. I felt that I would not be able to reach the standards that this class demanded. All these thoughts and emotions swirled through my head. And above all, there was an overriding sense of fear that accompanied all these emotions, What if I’m not good enough? Eventually I realized that whining about my situation would do absolutely nothing for my situation. I steeled myself for what I thought would be hours upon hours of mindless reading: this is where my love for literature really took off. I loved the books that I initially mistook to be a cruel punishment and wanted more. In the final days of summer vacation, it finally occurred to me that I had overcome a major hurdle in the type of literature that I now enjoy reading, from candy books to novels that improve and expand my reading and writing abilities.

On the first day of classes, I walked in feeling apprehensive and quite uncertain on how much this class would appeal to me, mainly due to the presence of the grade elevens and grade twelves in the same room. Looking back, I can appreciate the decision that I made.


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One thought on “Overcoming My Fears

  1. Dear Maheen,

    I’m not sure honestly how to respond to this correctly. I have known you for the last 8 years, and I have to say, being one of your friends has been a true adventure. You have been a great friend. We have shared a vast amount of time together, it was my pleasure. All those great moments of laughing and watching each other grow, I could not have chosen any other way to spend my time. But I had never thought of you as so cautious. You think ahead and weigh your options rather than going in thinking you’re the best. I respect you very deeply for that.

    Reading your blog, I have to say you’ve grown into a kind of man I can only dream of becoming. The feelings you had over the summer very accurately mirrored my own. I too wondered if this had all been one of my delusions where I thought I was smart enough to take the course on and succeed with the bright colors my parents wish for me. But I have no regrets in taking this course. Sure, I might get a slightly lower average than I normally would get had I taken LA-1, but it was worth it; the students are better than I could have imagined, and the teacher is definitely the best one around. Whatever they’re paying her, it’s not enough. Back on the topic of your blog, something sparked within me when reading it. After lots of thought of what you wrote compared to my own experiences, I came to a realization. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, as long as you don’t let fear change who you are. And you didn’t let it change you. You persevered as the semi-risk taker I know you to be.

    I’m glad you chose to stay in this class, glad for you and for me. Being in the same class as you gives me another grade 10 male to compete with in this class (Cause we’ll totally smoke the girls, jokes!). It also gave me a reason to stick with the AP program, as I know that even if all the other people ended up being big giant scary monsters, I would have a true friend on the inside with me. So thank you for that, and for publishing this great piece. I can’t wait to see how you continue to persevere and evolve throughout the school year, both academically and as a person!


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