Fighting Back- What Relay for Life 2014 Taught Me

“ERRRR!”

That is the best description of my dryer. A high pitched, incredibly loud alarm that I can do nothing to stop. It lasts all of three seconds, but it’s scary enough to make me jump when it goes off.

Sometimes I debate leaving to do something while the dryer runs, so I won’t have to be terrified for those few seconds of that obnoxious annoyance. However, that’s running away from something I’m afraid of.

That’s one thing I’ve had to learn as I grow up: you shouldn’t run away from your fears, but confront them. Now, this is coming from me, the most timid, terrified chicken in my school. I’m scared of walking past a scary set of factories at night to get back to my apartment (a stretch of walkway I like to call the “Factory District”). I’m scared of pain, as I have a very low pain tolerance.

The biggest thing I’m afraid of, though, is failure. And not just failure of one task either. It’s failure in school, in writing, in friendship, in LIFE. And those fears keep me from furthering myself in the world. If I pushed those thoughts out of my head – the ones that are afraid of people’s opinions and what is defined as success – I may be able to succeed in ways I never could have imagined. Sure, results may vary, but you can’t really judge when you have blinders on.

For example, I captained my organization’s Relay for Life team this year. When I showed up to Relay, our ‘booth’ was positioned in a corner, pretty much in-between a wall (aside from the mess that was cutting hair to donate- mess meaning crowds of people watching and blocking us) and the stage, where there were speakers blasting music so loud I couldn’t hear what someone next to me was saying. We had very little traffic to our table, and some of our raffle items only got one person bidding on them. I also had to call on the help of my family to aid me in running the booth, as some of my fellow organization members had prior commitments that limited their time at Relay.

At first, all I could dwell on was that what I had feared had actually happened: where we didn’t get a lot of people to our table and were exhausted when the event ended at 5AM the next morning. However, as the week since had gone on, I’ve picked out the positives. We may have not made as much money as we wanted, but we still made some money to help cancer patients. We may have not had as many people rallying for money online as I had hoped, but we still reached our initial goal. … And then five stretch goals after that, coming to a total of $1,060 of donations in exactly a month’s time.

It might have been a long night, but my sister, grandma, and dad all had a blast during the event. I watched my seventeen-year-old sister dancing and having fun with college students. I saw my dad up on the track, dancing as he did laps for our team (we made 251 laps around the track during the 12-hour event). I got to watch my grandma as she looked down on the stage from the track and listen to the speakers that initiated the event.

Plus, once our organization’s team got back from the State Conference, they had something special to give me. 😉

So, think about this for a second. If I had imagined all that good stuff happening before the event started, would I have felt any different during? Well, no, probably not. I would have still been exhausted, hungry, and forcing positivity the whole night. However, sometimes, they do make things better. Once I had realized all those good things that came from participating and running that event booth, I felt proud of myself for what I’d done. I had learned new things and helped an organization that is currently close to my heart right now.

I didn’t let the fear consume me. I still put on a smiling face and pushed though, and soon found out it had all been worth it.

So, if your dryer is making you jump out of your seat, remember this: it has to end sometime. So push against those fears, and you’ll soon see it was worth it.

“ERRRR!”

… Man, this is going to be hard.

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