Be bold in the face of fear.
The Tasmanian Devil, you know the one from the cartoons, used to infiltrate my dreams. When I was in elementary school, every night for several months, I had a reoccurring dream with the Tasmanian Devil as the star lead. This dream. like a python, coiled itself around my soul. I’d wake up terrified, unable to go back to bed, fearful he would return. Fearful that he emerged from my dream and waited quietly in the dark corners of my room.
Now, I know what you are thinking. He’s just a cartoon, he can’t be that scary. But in the dream he was more than just the cartoon. He was real. He was vivid. He was wicked.
The setting is lunchtime. I am eating with my mom and sister. It’s a bright summer day and I am enjoying my sub as I examine the wall next to our booth in Subway. I remember clearly it was Subway because of the old style, city line wallpaper. Without warning, the Tasmanian Devil comes spinning through the wall, destroying everything in his path. He stops and stares at me. His eyes are dark, angry, and determined. A crooked smirk comes across his face, his eyes still glaring right at me. His unquenchable thirst and desire to devour me is evident as he winds up, spinning full force towards me; my sister and mom have no reaction. It’s as if he is invisible to them and goes unnoticed. But I see him, and he sees me. They continue to enjoy their food as I bolt for the front door trying to escape, shrill screams escaping my mouth. I dart out the front door, and in a flash, I am at the park with my mom and sister. As I am swinging, a feeling of carelessness and contentment radiate from me, yet there is still an uncertainty that rests over me, worried he will return. I reassure myself not to worry and begin the climb up to the top of the slide. I begin my descent, staring up at the clouds. I reach the bottom, look up, and there is the Tasmanian Devil, mouth in a wide-open grin of victory, he clamps down and that’s when I wake up. Every. Single. Time.
Whenever I tried to process that dream, I always thought it strange that my father wasn’t in it the whole time. My protector, the person who is supposed to keep me safe, wasn’t in my dream. As an adult, when I tell people about this dream everyone comes to the same conclusion: since my protector was absent, I have a fear of being abandoned. Although I had never been left in a store, or had a parent walk away from me, I apparently had an intense fear of abandonment. This made no sense to me and that’s because I examined only part of the situation.
I was so fixated on the one component of the dream, I failed to see the rest.
You see, when you only allow yourself to examine one area, looking at something with a specific perspective and fixed mindset, you won’t gain a full understanding. And here is the problem with not striving to gain full understanding: If we look at only one perspective, only what we think we want to see, we tend to brush important details aside, accept someone’s reasoning instead of finding our own, and go on our merry way—even though there will always be a part of us longing to find our own path. How are we supposed to grow, if we don’t allow ourselves to explore the different perspective? If we don’t grow, we remain stagnant, mundane incapable of living a meaningful life. It wasn’t until I put my focus on the Tasmanian Devil that I understood the dream was more than just a fear of abandonment.
- He was the manifestation of me.
- My fears.
- My doubts.
- My insecurities.
- My lack of trust and faith in myself.
He was there to rob me of my happiness. He infiltrated my dream to wreak havoc on my life, telling me I would never amount to anything. And I listened to him. For years, instead of putting my trust in my own capabilities and my goals and dreams I wanted to achieve, I allowed my fears to determine the path I took.
The voice inside my head that always told me I would never amount to anything drove my decisions in life, when I should have allowed the passion in my heart to drive me instead.
You don’t have the body type for a ballerina. Ok, I’ll quit and find something else to do.
You aren’t as fast as other swimmers, so you aren’t capable of being a great athlete. Ok, I’ll just focus on music and school.
You aren’t in the school of music, so you aren’t as talented as the Viola majors. Ok, I’ll no longer consider music.
Your writing isn’t as deep or dark as everyone else in your seminar, you don’t have what it takes. Ok, as a kid I wanted to teach, guess I’ll use my English degree for that then.
You aren’t a size 2, fitness model, so no one would take you seriously when it came to nutrition and fitness. You aren’t worth investing in. Ok, even though I am miserable in my job, I’ll stay because I can’t do what I want to do.
And the list could go on. The list of fears and worries that make me feel inadequate in this world controlled how I responded to my passions and interests. I lacked the confidence to thrive in life. So, I searched for others to give me my meaning, to give me my confidence, to give me my voice. I’m discovering confidence must come from within, not from others. The other day I received the compliment that I wear my short sassy hair to absolute perfection. The comment made me smile because I realized I wear my hair; my hair doesn’t wear me. Let your inner confidence shine, don’t be ashamed to show it to the world. Stand firm in the face of your fear. Let your confidence speak for you not your fears. Confidence isn’t a bad thing. Don’t allow yourself to feel shame or disappointment if you are confident. Confidence combats fear–the anxiety, the hindrance, the master that fear so often becomes. Don’t let fear be your influence. Confidence is a much better companion.
If the Tasmanian Devil ever tries to show up in my dreams again, you can guarantee as I propel down that slide, when I reach him, he won’t eat me. I’ll kick him in the face. I refuse to let him control my life.
Let boldness outweigh fear. Don’t let fear rob you of your true potential, your passion, who you are called to be in this world. Friend, you must be bold in the face of fear, so you can learn to thrive.
He was there to rob me of my happiness. He infiltrated my dream to wreak havoc on my life, telling me I would never amount to anything. And I listened to him. For years, instead of putting my trust in my own capabilities and my goals and dreams I wanted to achieve, I allowed my fears to determine the path I took. The voice inside my head that always told me I would never amount to anything drove my decisions in life, when I should have allowed the passion in my heart to drive me instead.