Illusions

Fear…the strongest and most powerful word in the English language. Fear dictates many people’s lives; some people marry the wrong person because they fear living alone, some people go to the doctors because they fear death, and many shroud themselves from the outside world because they fear the idea of reality. This four-letter word has started wars among nations, has caused Holocaust-proportioned massacres, and, in the year 2010, drove over 4.6 million people mentally insane. Two years ago, I let what I believed to be fear dictate my decisions until I saw the big picture. I never imagined that I would actually learn a lesson from that day, but I did, and I hope you learn that life is too short to live in terror.
2009

“Are you scared?” My brother, Dainen, taunted as we boarded the hayride, squatting between a heavyset couple celebrating what I believed to be their anniversary based on their “actions” and a short, pudgy red-head who looked like she could be a girl-scout troop leader. Attempting to muster all of the courage I possessed, I quivered out a stuttered “no”, trying to mask my terror. Okay Dennis, you can do this, I whispered to myself, you’ve watched thriller movies, and occasionally even horror movies! Of course, whenever a scary part came up, you had to shroud behind your hands…but…uhhh… you always peeked through your fingers! See, you are brave, and no stupid haunted hay ride is going tell you differently. You can do this…you can do this…you can do this…

“Okay, folks, the Skullville Haunted Hay Ride will begin in one minute.” A stout man who oddly resembled the Wizard of Oz announced. “Please stay seated during the length of the ride, and please, don’t touch the actors.”

Bewildered, I bothered my brother with a question about what the Wizard meant by “actors”. As Dainen explained how, at Skullville, the hayride people hired miscellaneous teenagers to jump on the wobbly-excuse-for-a-cart and swing bloody chainsaws at our very valuable throats, I changed my previous internal statement in a heartbeat.

I CAN’T DO THIS, I CAN’T DO THIS, I CAN’T DO THIS I panicked. Before I could flee the death machine, the horrid sound of wheels crunching fallen leaves echoed through my eardrums, and I knew that Plan A. was no longer an option. As the wooden wagon pulled into the murky forest that hosted the future fear party, I tried to stay positive. The beginning wasn’t so bad; some smoke machines masked a pimply teenager dressed like the Burger King guy who threw a barrel at us. Despite my best efforts, the instant a high schooler wielding a rubber farm tool jumped next to me, I quickly took cover into the Turtle Move, more commonly known as the Fetal Position. As the screams of Dainen, the Honeymooners, and Troop Leader 446 pounded on my shell, I knew there was no way that I could survive this ride, so I stayed in my position the entire night.
2010

How is this possible? He was fine yesterday. I ponder to myself as I sprint down the boardwalk after darting out of my house, leaving my mournful family to themselves. The air is swamped with thick, black mist due to the o’clock. Even the occasional streetlight can’t break through the fog. We were just watching the new episode of Family Guy a few nights ago, and he was fine. We just raced each other down the corner a few hours ago and he was fine. We just were talking to each other a few minutes ago and he was fine. So, how on Earth is he not fine? He is fine. He Is Fine.

“HE IS FINE!” I accidentally bellowed out loud. I realized that I’ve already traveled the entire distance of the boardwalk, and am now standing at the guardrail. I notice that the moon’s rays are slightly penetrating through the pores of the darkness, and I realized why I am panicking. What I feared all of these years wasn’t actually fear. The movies, the hayrides, the creepy neighbor who has boy-you-better-get-off-my-grass-right-now eyes; all of it doesn’t even compare to what I am feeling now, and there’s really nothing I can do about it. Fear only has power if you give it power. At that moment, I turned around, demanded to myself that Cedar, my 12-year-old Labrador retriever, is fine, and vowed that I would never let fear live in me again.
2011

As I boarded the ever-so-familiar wooden wagon, I crouched down into the hay. Instead of husky lust-puppies on my right, there were my friends, Emma and Taylor. Replacing the Thin Mints ginger on my left were my friends, Dan and Lillie. Everything was so similar, yet so different. As the Wizard explained the rules of the road, and the same sound of wheels crunching fallen leaves echoed through my eardrums, Emma leans over to me and asks, “Are you scared?”

You have no idea.





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emmabergman said...
Jan. 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm
Ahhhhhh I'm in this! I love it:)
 
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