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It was a beautiful warm fall afternoon. I started my sprint set and never got to finish them. A pinecone decided to lay in the middle of the sidewalk that I didn’t see. For the first time in three years. Immediately I recalled the jolt of pain from the first time I had done this when I was 14. Ten years ago this happened and I haven’t been the same since. It triggered a response of panic that is harder to kick than crack cocaine. I am now afraid to start running again. I know there’s a higher likelihood it will happen again now.

Fear is there for a reason. Without it, life would feel too easy. Our DNA would have to be rewired. It was programmed this way to survive for so long for a reason. Those innate responses. The sweaty hands while meeting a stranger. The initial stutter when stepping up to the mic. The remembrance of pain of a stretched tendon.

I still wish that I could push past the pain and persevere. The doubts come creeping into my mind the second I type those words. The resistance is rounding its troops. The moment any doubts get affirmed what if I am out for good? I don’t want to risk the short-term desire to challenge myself to keep me out for the long-term. There are all of these competing priorities. They’re a mess to sort out.

If I never felt fear, I could easily keep on keeping on. Though, how big would my ego inflate to be? There would be nothing to overcome without fear. What would stoics pursue? The feelings of struggle would be obsolete.

Perhaps, fear is not the enemy. It is there to make us stronger even though it makes us feel weak. With absolute strength and courage, one would still be human. We would still make mistakes.

Don’t neglect your fear. Recognize it and question why it is placed there. It can help more than you think.


A letter to 10-year-old me

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