Personal Narrative 4: Fear Can Help You - If You Choose to Listen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

A personal narrative about why fear can help you if you listen to it.

Fear can Help You - If You Choose to Listen


We’ve all experienced fear at some point in our lives. It’s a basic human emotion we’ve had since ancient times and it’s part of the fight or flight response to situations. Your fears can be something small, like being scared if you did all your homework or not, or it can be something bigger, like the fear of death (Thanatophobia). Whatever the case is, you may view your fear as a weakness. If you fall into that category, then that’s where you’re wrong. Your fears can even help you in life if you choose to listen to them. In fact, my fear saved me from one of the most dangerous spiders in North America.

It was a nice fall afternoon, with a slight breeze blowing. I was about to leave my house for a nice, short walk. I usually went on these with friends, but they couldn’t come out today. I stepped outside and began my walk. I like nature - when it doesn’t have eight creepy legs and multiple eyes.

I have a little arachnophobia - a fear of spiders. I don't fear them as much as some people I've heard about, but I'm not exactly friends with them either. My fear doesn’t really change my life too much, apart from when there’s a spider right in front of me. That said, I usually avoid sticking my hands or face into small, dark spaces.

I was following my usual route, just walking around the neighborhood a few times and then circling back to my house. There was this mini forest place near me that I usually just ignored and walked past. This time, though, something caught my eye. I saw a shine coming from inside it, and I could have sworn that there was a nice, leafy path in front of it for people to easily walk through. My curiosity got the better of me, and I headed towards it. Wouldn’t be too long, I told myself, I would just look around, head home, and maybe show my friends later if I saw anything cool.

I walked on the path for a little bit, admiring the colorful fall trees, and then I saw a small gap I could walk through. It was in between a couple of trees and was dimly lit. There was something on the other side, but I couldn’t make it out from where I was. If I wanted to see, I would have to go through.

My arachnophobia was screaming at me. Half of me wanted to leave, but the other half wanted to explore. This was exactly the type of place I’d always avoided. I gave in to my curiosity and went through. I squeezed my way through some trees and then felt something on my hand. It was a spiderweb. I immediately regretted ignoring my fear. I hated webs. I quickly checked to make sure that there wasn’t a spider on it, then brushed it off.  Then I looked around and saw the shiny object - a crushed soda can.


That was a waste of time. As I turned around to leave, I saw something on the ground near me. I immediately jumped about a foot back, since I knew it was a spider. It wasn’t too big of one, so I bent down and looked at it closer. I then knew what it was. I saw the black body and the red hourglass on it. The creature in front of me was a Black Widow spider. I slowly backed away from it, then ran out of the forest. I walked home and from that point on, always listened to my fear.

My arachnophobia saved me. If I’d listened to it earlier, I probably would have walked away without a spiderweb too, and may have even avoided the whole situation. Fear exists to protect you from danger, whether it be physical or mental. In fact, authors use fear in books to make the story more believable and interesting. One example of a character not listening to their fear and then getting in trouble is John from the book You Don’t Know Me by David Klass.

In chapter 13, John’s scared of going to Gloria’s house but Gloria makes him go anyways: “I confess that I am torn, but at the same time, I confess that I do not want to end the night torn in half like Jerry Dickman. ‘I don’t know if that’s such a great idea . . .’ I say. But as I feebly protest, Gloria takes my right hand in her own and I can feel myself being led toward the Great Bonanza Ranch House like a steer to the slaughter.” (page 130, paragraph 7) Here, we can see that John is clearly scared of Gloria’s father and doesn’t want to go. On the other hand, he also wants to go because Gloria would be there. He lets his “love” overtake his fear and then he almost gets killed by Gloria’s father, the Bulldozer. He would have avoided the whole situation if he’d trusted his gut over Gloria.

An example of a character being protected by their fear can be found in the same book, in paragraph 7 of page 143 in chapter 14: “It is amazing how true desperation aids the human endeavor. My body gives an all-out effort at transmogrification, whatever that means. Somehow I reduce myself to the size of a house cat for a matter of seconds as I wiggle out through the pet door.” In this passage, John is really frightened and scared for his life. This allows him to do whatever it takes to escape and he somehow fits through the pet door. 

The article “When Fear makes us Superhuman” by Jeff Wise supports this: “That something was the body's fear response. When we find ourselves under intense pressure, fear unleashes reserves of energy that normally remain inaccessible. We become, in effect, superhuman.” (paragraph 11) When you’re scared, your body pushes itself to its limits to try and get you out of whatever danger you or someone else is in. 

Although fear can sometimes be annoying and cause you to freak out for seemingly no reason, it’s ultimately your body trying to help you. You should embrace fear because it may even save your life one day. Reading about and researching fear has helped me learn about its uses. Speaking of reading, I’ve said in the past that the purpose of reading is to learn, reflect, feel emotion, and connect with the world. I stand by all of this, but we can add on - reading can help us learn about and connect with ourselves. We can understand our emotions and thoughts better and even control them more. Reading about fear can help us judge when to trust it, and when it becomes a little extreme.

Submitted: July 21, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Atiksh Paul. All rights reserved.

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LE. Berry

Fear can teach. Enjoyed your piece Atiksh.

Fri, July 23rd, 2021 7:30pm

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