I have accidentally sat down only inches away from a bull snake. I have looked down to see a wolf spider the size of my hand in between my bare feet. But never before have I been as terrified as I am tonight.
Here I sit. It’s 12:13 a.m. The third floor lobby of Cole Hall is quiet. I have been staring at my laptop for several hours now, waiting. Writer’s block has moved in and taken over my brain, showing no intention of leaving anytime soon.
My screen begins to blur, so I blink a couple times. It doesn’t help. I look at my agenda. Oct. 23 still says “Personal Column Due.” Dang. This assignment is kicking my butt and it’s due by 7 a.m. What the heck am I going to do? I log into Facebook.
Don’t judge me. I have already Googled every word and phrase I can think of. My first draft stands a full 205 words strong. Unfortunately, it sounds more like a research paper than a news column, and no one is going to want to read an article about the positive effects of fear. Yes, there are good things about fear, believe it or not.
For example, have you ever looked up to see a big, black dog running straight at you growling like it was going to eat you for lunch? Well, fear is what helped you focus. It initiated the adrenaline rush that allowed you to pick up your little sister and sprint to the house just in time to slam the door in that dog’s face.
According to Molly Gordon, a personal growth coach, that type of fear you experienced was Fear 2, the type that “focuses attention, provides adrenaline for extraordinary effort, and sharpens perception.” It initiates a whole body response, allowing you to step out of your comfort zone and move forward powerfully and safely.
Wow, that technical, medical stuff is boring.
After failing with the informative version, I decided I needed to try something else. I looked up some of the most common fears and found that flying and presenting a speech are the top two. I thought about making fun of those fears.
Take flying, for example. If thousands of people weren’t afraid of getting on an airplane, the demand for tickets would go up and so would the price. Then you would only be able to afford a one-way, and let’s face it, you don’t want to stay with the in-laws forever. So fear of flying is a good thing. Thanks to it, you can afford round-trip tickets.
How about presenting a speech? If you throw up, the instructor may grade on a curve and your classmates will love you forever. You will never live it down, but what’s a little sacrifice in exchange for eternal devotion?
My sarcastic version stands at 127 words. It’s not going anywhere, because, as you have probably already noticed, I’m not funny. In fact, if you were to stop reading this right now, I wouldn’t blame you.
The truth is, I have never written a personal column and I am scared to death of it. I don’t know any of the formatting rules, I have very little experience with scary stuff, which happens to be my topic, and it is now 1:05 in the morning and I still feel like I have nothing. I’m afraid of writing this wrong and afraid of the amount of red ink I will see on it tomorrow morning and afraid of Stacy Sparks’ rejection of my work.
Personal columns are scary. It’s 1:16 a.m. And there you have it.
Erin Morris is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.