January 7, 2019
By Anonymous

I am terrified. You name a fear and I most likely have it. Spiders and centipedes will send me running from the room, refusing to return for hours. Heights petrify me to the point that I would rather sit with my friends’ bags for hours than ride the Ferris wheel. I have four alarm clocks aimed at my bed, to keep my room illuminated and the shadows at bay. If I am running late to an event, no matter how small, I often simply decide it’s better to not show up than to pull attention to myself as I arrive.

These fears are trivial compared to the wracking anxiety I share with almost everyone my age. We are inheriting a broken world. College tuition is rising, and the minimum wage is no longer capable of supporting families. Children in America are being gunned down at school, in their homes, and countless more public places by other kids, policemen, and even their family. Racism, homophobia, and discrimination persist throughout not only America, but all over the world. The environment is being destroyed, emissions from cars and farms depleting our ozone layer, melting the ice caps and rising sea levels.

Problems like these bombard us constantly through the news, with many Americans becoming desensitized to the horror. For those who can’t look away, we feel like we’re drowning. How can you feel good about the future when so many things are wrong?

I am terrified, but I cope.

I cope by performing. When I’m on stage playing a role, I can devote myself to telling a story. Helping the audience get as close to the character as I have. I know what’s going to happen, and it almost always turns out right in the end. When I am on stage, I am able to help myself forget the world, but I am also able to take the audience to a different world with me. Helping them through our own world.

I cope by writing music. I work out my pain, my frustrations, my hopes, through the chords and lyrics. I process my emotions by writing them out and structuring the key and rhythms to fit my mental state. Songs can convey meanings and feeling impossible to describe, but instead help others like me to feel they are not alone in their emotions.

I cope by raising my voice to drown out my fear. I find others like me, who refuse to do nothing. We hold rallies, march, and fundraise. I refuse to back down about the things that I care about. I advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. For when i’m speaking up, I can have hope that things will get better. This hope is what propelled me to decide that I wouldn’t rest until things did get better.

The fear is always there, and it will likely be that way for a while. Yet I refuse to let it control my happiness. Although I won’t be riding any roller coasters soon, I plan on making it so that future generations no longer have to be terrified.

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