What I Fear Now

Isabella Wartzenluft, Reporter and Editor

There are different kinds of fear. According to Verywell, the feeling is divided into two types, biochemical and emotional. Biochemical fear is how humans react to a perceived danger, when heart rates increase and adrenaline levels skyrocket. This is how we evolved over time to protect ourselves. Emotional fear is extremely individualized. Some people enjoy certain types of fear, hence why roller coasters bring many people excitement. Others shy away from anything anxiety inducing.

As a child, I was asked many questions. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your favorite color? Favorite season? Of all the thought provoking inquiries, there is one that people continue to ask, no matter the age. What is your biggest fear?

My mother read me a book when I was younger. It was called The Gunniwolf. At the time, it was something that quite terrified me. However, as I got older, I began to be scared of other things, thinking about how all the homework that piles up on my desk will one day assume the form of stacks of bills, that one day I will die without purpose, without having impacted a single person.

Emily Audley, junior at Arrowhead High School, says, “As a child, fears tend to be more surface level. I remember that my friends and I would ask each other questions to get to know each other better. One of the questions along with ‘who do you like?’ that always seemed to pop up was ‘what is your biggest fear?’. Ironically, I remember fearing this question. I always used to say, getting a bad grade, getting injured, or dying. Something that was both very specific and very vague.”

It’s interesting to think that the things that made me hide under the covers as a child are so different compared to what makes me hide in my bedroom now. It used to be the monsters under the bed, those made up creatures. And then I realized that those weren’t the true monsters, and suddenly cowering under piles of blankets wouldn’t protect me from what is actually out there.

Suddenly, what gives me fear is that I am no longer afraid of the Gunniwolf, because that means worse things have entered my life.

Now, I’d say that I fear failure, I fear missing out, I fear the decisions I have made and the decisions I will make. It’s so difficult to pick one fear that overwhelms all because there are so many things in this world to fear. Little and big,” says Audley.

There may be a day in which I conquer my fears, a day that I become comfortable with growing older and dealing with change. Until then, I will learn from what scares me. I will not let it hold me back.

Audley says, “Fear slows down my decision-making, it jumbles priorities, and it causes stress. Of course fear holds me back, but I don’t think there will ever be a time when it doesn’t. However, I don’t think fear is always a hindrance, it can be helpful. It can drive you toward a goal, it can encourage you to take a risk if you fear monotony, and it can keep you safe, it can teach you important lessons.”