Here you see an image of me victoriously displaying a guitar pick from singer James Bay. You could say it was earned through a little veni, vidi, vici moment. You could also say that the vici part of the situation was a squirmish with a very annoying nineteen-year-old boy in the froguitar picknt row of a concert. What’s important here is not necessarily that I got down on the ground and wrestled the token away from a stranger (although that’s definitely worth mentioning), but, rather, that the whole situation serves as an analogy for something I’ve been trying to work on these last several years.

Fear. I’ve been actively fighting against my fear, that is, fear of not being perfect, fear of failure, fear of what others will think of me.

In the past, fighting for a for a guitar pick would have seemed absurd. True to form, I would have passively handed it over to the adversary, fearing what others would think of me were I to show any opposition.✢

The night of October 8, 2016, the night of the somewhat imperceptibly critical bout for the guitar pick, was just another step in my transition from letting fear dictate my actions to recognizing the fear and then moving past it. As inconsequential as a guitar pick may be, it was something that I really wanted. No longer was I going to let my fear cause me to pass it up. It is very clear to me that fear has repeatedly cost me opportunities to learn, grow, and experience life to the fullest. I’m now consciously working to end this pattern.

My getting down on hands and knees at a concert to fight off a boy who didn’t deserve James Bay’s guitar pick (my own personal opinion, of course) reflects the same change in me that pushed me to head to South America. Both instances instilled in me significant fear. Both occasions saw and will see me go past that fear and fight for something that I really want.

As a matter of course, in deciding to not let fear stop me from pursuing what I deem worthwhile, there will be pain and difficulty. Note: I did chip a nail in my “brawl” for the pick. Backpacking South America is sure to bring its share of struggles, probably struggles much more intense than a chipped nail. But, in the words of Paulo Coelho in his novel By the River Piedra I Sat down and Wept, “If I must fall, may it be from a high place.”

✢ I can hear my mother right now saying that such passivity never entered into fights with siblings, a statement which I will cede to her as fact. I will add, however, that sibling rivalry is a different thing entirely.