Fear held me back from my true self

I learned how to ride a bike when I was about 6 or 7-years-old. I started riding with training wheels and I think I rode with them for a couple of months. I remember how excited and scared I was when Daddy eventually took  them off.

At first, he held onto the seat walking next to me as I slowly pedaled on the sidewalk. It felt strange riding with two wheels instead of four. When he let go I’d lose my balance and fall sideways. Sometimes my bike and I would end up on the ground. Or, if I was lucky I’d land on my feet.

This happened several times but each time I got back on my bike. I was determined to learn how to ride on my own. Then finally, the moment came when Daddy let go one last time and I rode my bike without falling. I was so happy and proud of myself. Daddy seemed to be just as happy too if not more.

I’m very fond of that childhood memory. It was one of the few times in my life where I didn’t let fear hold me back. I didn’t let fear stop me from performing a clarinet solo in front of judges in middle school and high school. Nor did I let it stop me from joining the military. It was something I was able to control until my mom passed away. I was so weakened by grief that the trauma fed my unguarded fears. I let fear hold me back from my true self and creative identity.

When I decided I had enough with fear, I began reading several personal development and self-help books. I wanted to write about my personal journey but I was afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was afraid of what people might think. I didn’t feel confident that my writing would be good enough.

One of the books that started me on the path to facing my fears was Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. Daring Greatly is based on Brown’s research on vulnerability. She explains how our fear of vulnerability limits us from meaningful relationships and opportunities in life. From reading her a book, I realized I needed to change how I viewed my own fear of being vulnerable. It took a lot of soul searching but it eventually led me to start this blog.

Fear still creeps in sometimes when I write about my thoughts and experiences. But it’s power over me is not as strong as it used to be. I’m still learning and growing. Most importantly, I am grateful for this journey.