I Am Not Afraid

June 4, 2010
Fear. That one feeling inside of us that makes us question our morals and rethink our decisions. Fear of failing, fear of dying due to racial hated, fear of not living life to its fullest, fear of being let down, fear for what the future holds. Fear is our greatest obstacle.

The teenagers in my generation are expected to exceed goals set by the adults who try to control every aspect in their lives. For example, the placement tests such as the SATs and ACTs were originally created to help selective schools accept students of a higher intelligence. However, all they’ve done is create stress and chaos in the lives of high school juniors and seniors. Why should one person get a higher priority in a college because of a perfect score? Twenty-four hundred is just a number, so why is it shown in a spotlight? Any score lower than “average” causes every teenager to worry and think poorly of herself because according to the College Board, she’s unintelligent. We’re afraid to look at our scores, we’re afraid that our parents will be ashamed. We’re afraid that our best won’t be good enough; we’re afraid of failing in the eyes of society.

This is the same society that doesn’t shield our eyes from the differences of our backgrounds. Racial boundaries have always been engraved into our minds. Whether society decides to accept it or not, there is racism and there are gangs and fights that endanger the lives of teenagers every day. For some, being in a gang is a way of surviving the hatred, because even though every other group may want you dead, you have friends who would risk their lives for you. However, in return your life may be given at their expense. Some adults worry about not having enough time to get their Starbucks coffee in the morning, but hundreds of kids worry about not seeing another day. Many teenagers are afraid that they won’t reach high school graduation. They live in fear. They pray to God that they live, but they prepare for the worst.

Carpe Diem: seize the day. The constant message to the young people in my generation is to live life with no regrets and to enjoy life while we’re young. However, with all the different paths that the media leads us down, we never know which to choose. And, when we do choose, we never stay consistent. Friends come and go just as the wind on a stormy day. People change. Feelings change. Rules change. We change. We try new things in order to narrow down the multitude of possibilities to answer the lingering question: Who am I? We fear that if we choose the wrong road, our entire career path and future will change. Our parents tell us that in life, there are no second chances and that we should choose our actions and friends wisely. However, our celebrities, our role models are shown living glamorous lives, getting caught up in webs of love and lies and getting away with anything and everything. How are we supposed to live life to the fullest if we don’t know which life it is that we want to live? The holy life? The gang life? The jock life? We fear that we’ll miss out on great experiences if we falter. But we fear that if we don’t hesitate to think about the consequences, we may experience the wrong life.

With all these fears built up inside of us, the biggest question is how we will resolve it. How will we stand up against the pressure and defy the odds? How will we overcome it? The answer won’t solve the problem immediately; it’s more of a long-term change. In order for my generation to conquer our obstacles, we must first find ourselves. This task requires each person to reach inside himself; emotionally and mentally, and find who it is that we are. Self-growth is important for a healthy lifestyle and although we might change who we are several times throughout high school and college, once we truly know who we are, nothing can hurt us. Once we can look in the mirror and smile because the reflection is of a person we can truly admire, then it doesn’t matter what society thinks, because we have control over our lives. Once we have faith in ourselves, God gives us the strength to stand up for what we believe in, the strength to break the chains of insecurity, the strength to break down the walls of torment and hate and prejudice. We will find the strength to say “I am not afraid”.

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IamtheStargirl said...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm

This is amazing! You have such good insight. Thank you for writing this article {Respect bow}

Ai eis byr eirar.

clairexaudrey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 9:28 am
(: Thanks! It was actually a college essay topic "What is your generation's biggest obstacle and how do you plan to overcome it", and it took me a couple weeks to find an answer, but I like what my answer is.
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