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Fear. What is it? To me, fright is a barricade, keeping ones true self hidden from the rest of the world. It causes one to stop loving, stop helping, and even stop living. A person who is overwhelmed or ruled by terror is scared of the pain of failure and heartbreak. But all of those emotions are a part of life. Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. This is why, at the tender age of five, I became fearless.
It was late morning at my family’s secluded cabin in Dexterville, Wisconsin. The sun was almost directly overhead, but it seemed like dawn. The sky was dull and steel gray. I awoke to the mixture of my parent’s chit chat, the sound of bacon sizzling, mixed with the aroma of freshly made biscuits and gravy. Since we only had this meal at our cabin, I jumped down from my bunk bed and dashed to the kitchen. I remember sitting at the table, waiting for my breakfast, looking very much like the begging dog , who waited patiently next to me for anything to fall. Then my dad whispered magic words while my mother was not paying attention; “I think it’s time you learn how to ride the motorcycle.” These words sent a chill up my spine. Ever since my uncle gave my brother and me my cousins’ child-sized dirt bike and four wheeler, I had been dying to ride them. I was only allowed to ride the four wheeler, up until now. So, when my father said that sentence, my special cabin breakfast was no longer important. My head snapped up and I stared at him to see if he was lying: even at that age, I knew he played jokes. When I knew he wasn’t, I darted to my room to put on jeans, a sweat shirt, and my white helmet with the word Brat painted on the back: all required safety gear, if one was to ride anything with a motor in my household. I pushed open the door to the outside and found my father waiting with a small bright yellow dirt bike with a vivid blue seat covered with grease and grime marks, which at the time looked like an emblem of entertainment and maturity.
“Okay, Vic, this is your brake,” my dad said as he squeezed the left handlebar to demonstrate for me, “And this is your gas; that’s how you go.” He twisted the left handle.
“I got it! Can I go?” I whined as I batted my big brown eyes, an action I knew my father could not say no to. I was just barely able to ride my two wheel bicycle, yet there I sat on the back of a dirt bike.
“I’m going to let go on the count of three, then you turn which handle?”
“The right!” I was practically bouncing off the seat from excitement that I was going to do what the big kids could do.
“Yes, then put your feet on the pegs. Okay here we go! One…Two…THREE!”
He let go of the handles and I launched forward, twisting the gas to the maximum, my dad tailing behind. I was in shock from fear. I froze up and could not move any muscle in my body. Instead of putting my feet on the pegs as I had been instructed, I let my legs daggle in the air. All I knew at that moment was that I wanted it to end. I was terrified, but I could not remember how to stop or even think at that moment. I swerved, dodging the gigantic trees on our property. I was on the motorcycle a total of only ten seconds when I drove into a divot that sent me flying over the handle bars.
I took off my helmet without hesitation as I got up, wrapped my arms around it at my chest, and screamed a bloodcurdling cry with all the force I could muster. “MOM!” I stomped back to the house , ignoring my father’s “Are you ok?” I dramatically threw open the door and flung my helmet on the table. I stood in the middle of the hallway pouting, arms folded across my chest. “Mom!” Look what he did to me! Dad did it! He made me get flung over the handle bars! It’s all his fault!” Though I look back on it now and know it was my own impatience and belief I knew everything which had caused it, at that moment I truly believed that my father, my supposed protector, caused me harm. My mother, at once, knew what happened and went to yell at my father, because teaching me such a skill at a young age was out of the question and complete insanity in her eyes.
I awoke the next day to the bright sun shining through the windows. I refused to talk to my father all day. I stayed in the house, far from what was harmful in my eyes. Looking back, I realize that I wasn’t mad at my father, I was scared out of my mind! I feared hurting myself learning to drive that death machine I had once yearned to operate. If I stayed very far away from the dirt bike, I could never get hurt. My mother sensed this, however, and talked to me. She explained that no one gets anything on her first try. A person had to fall and get back up again, just as I learned to ride my purple bicycle at home. Then she told me something that I will never forget. “You’re a Juran, and they do not quit. They try and try until they conquer it. Fear does not stop this family.”
The same day I learned how to ride a dirt bike properly, I learned how to overcome fear and push through difficult situations. I have kept this skill and quality with me up until now, and hope to continue my life with it. Even though it would have kept harm at bay, fear would have turned into a weakness paralyzing me, keeping me from trying new and exciting things in life as well as the normal human experiences I might have missed. That day I learned two skills: I learned a form of transportation, and I was taught how to prevail over obstacles and become fearless.