A brother of mine, who goes by the name of Anderson Trider, told me this quote in Grade 9: “Ask a question and be dumb for a moment or hold your tongue and be dumb forever.” At the time, I did not understand this quote. I was a young, immature boy who would not get out of his comfort zone. Now, two years later, I understand what he meant.
From Grade 7 to the end of Grade 9, I was constantly in fear – fear of asking questions, fear of speaking up, fear of judgment and, frankly, fear of being myself. This feeling held me back for so long. I realized it these fears were restraining me from being myself and holding me back from being comfortable in this place that I call home.
I got tired of living in this constant state of fear, which led me to one of my dearest friends. I went to talk to Anderson, and I asked him how to overcome this fear. It is a challenge he had himself at a younger age. He gave me the tips and tricks I needed to hear, which helped me grow into the person I am today. He gave me the confidence I was missing and changed the views that were blinding me to a more open-minded perspective. What he did for me that day was truly outstanding, and to this day, I cannot be grateful enough to him for helping me break through it.
Now, I do not want you all to think that fear just magically goes away; but I also do not want you all to think it is a permanent curse. Fear is made by your mind, and it is in your power to decide whether you let it control you or not. In the past, I let it control aspects of my life, which made me unhappy with myself. However, once you realize fear can be controlled, it becomes easier to deal with and eventually overcome.
If any of you are currently going through any situation that makes you fearful, I know how it is. For example, I am currently scared out of this world standing before you all, since I struggle with public speaking. I know what it is like to be scared and in a state of fear. However, this is a lesson I gave to myself: If you are scared to do something, just do it scared. If you let your fear hold you back, you won't live life to the fullest and it will prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities.
Personally, last year, I just needed a little push from Mr. Marino, positive words from Mr. Chandler on a lift at Val Cartier and a little convincing from my peers to take on this role, since the speech was the main reason holding me back from applying to be a prefect.
I want you to remember one thing from this speech: fear can be overcome. It is all about how you do it. For me, it was talking to others about it, owning up to it. It might not be the same for everyone. For some it may be talking, while others it may be to practicing the thing that makes them scared. However, at the end of the day, from an understanding point of view, I can assure you that no matter what your fear may be, you can overcome it.