This past summer I published a book: DNA Moments; it’s an inspirational memoir that not only shares my story of survival in beating the big C’s odds, but also encourages readers to reflect upon moments in their life that have shaped who they are and encourages the possibility that we possess the ability to shape our futures. It’s been quite the ride since my book published, overwhelming support from friends, family and strangers who have reached out to share their thoughts on the book. It’s also quite the conversation starter when people ask you “what’s new?” The funny thing about this all is that this wasn’t my first publication; technically I was already a published author, I just completely forgot that I was one until just this past week.
This past week I was rummaging through an old Tupper wear of University textbooks that I had stored in my mom’s garage for years. The bin was full of science textbooks, everything from micro-biology to macro evolution; along with many of my essays and class assignments. As I made my way closer to the bottom of the bin, I noticed a small dark blue hard cover book with the title Reflections 1995. Not remembering what it was at first glance, I opened the book and flipped to the table of contents. That’s when it hit me – the book was a compilation of poems written by students from various high schools. I had completely forgotten about this book and my poem that was selected to be part of the collection. I very quickly turned to my poem to read it; and that is when even more memories started to surface. I could recall exactly where I was when I wrote the poem; I was in my bedroom at home, sitting on my bed looking at my closet. Isn’t it strange how for years I had not even remembered writing this poem let alone having it selected to bepublished in a book? Even more interesting how my mind was able to go back to the very moment that I wrote the poem by simply reading the poem itself.
The poem is about fear and one’s struggle to move forward while being tied down by one’s fear. I was 16 when I wrote the poem, so young to be haunted by so much fear. In my book DNA Moments, I reflect upon memories of my childhood that I tie to my struggles with self-confidence in my early adulthood. I think a lot of the struggle was deeply rooted in a constant fear that I had to overcome. Fears of not being smart enough, pretty enough, or successful enough, fears that only recently have I learned to cope with and to not allow them to stop me from being the person that I strive to be.
All this self-reflection about self-inflicted fears and my reminiscent rummaging though science textbooks got me to thinking of an analogy between fear and physical drag. If we think of our personal fears as our personal drag, then we can utilize science to help explain how to move forward in our lives by understanding the physics of drag. Drag is air resistance, it opposes the direction that the object is moving and slows it down. Similar to our fears, like drag, it can slow us down from moving forward, it is opposing the direction that we want to move in. In order for an object to move faster, drag must be eliminated. In order for us to move forward in our lives we must eliminate our fears.
One of my favorite quotes on fear comes from Franklin Roosevelt "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Take some time and reflect upon what fears you may be harbouring and how are those fears holding you back? What are some of the things you can do to try and address the fears? Are they fears of confronting someone about a situation? Are they fears of doing a physical act that is impeding you from achieving a physical goal? Are you afraid of doing things because you are scared of failing or scared of what others may think of you? What are the steps that you can start taking to eliminate your fears and ultimately getting rid of that “drag” that is slowing you down? Once you know exactly what fears that you want to start working on, start to envision your possible outcomes. Firstly, envision the outcome of status quo; you holding onto your fears and not moving forward, how does that make you feel? Next, envision the outcome of you not being afraid anymore and moving forward with whatever it was that you were being held back on, how does that make you feel? Focus on the favourable potential outcome, the one that makes you feel good, the one that makes you feel proud of yourself and use these feelings to help guide you past concurring your fears.