There are different kinds of fear a person can experience.
The feeling is divided into two types, according to Verywell.com: biochemical and emotional.
Biochemical fear is how humans react to a perceived danger, when heart rates increase and adrenaline levels skyrocket. This is how we evolved over time to protect ourselves.
Emotional fear is extremely individualized. Some people enjoy certain types of fear, which explains why roller coasters bring many people excitement. Others shy away from anything anxiety-inducing.
As a child, I was asked many questions. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your favorite color? Favorite season? Of all the thought provoking inquiries, there is one that people continue to ask, no matter the age: What is your biggest fear?
My mother read me a book when I was younger, called "The Gunniwolf." At the time, the Gunniwolf was something that quite terrified me.
However, as I got older, I began to be scared of other things — thinking about how all the homework that piles up on my desk will one day assume the form of stacks of bills, or that one day I will die without purpose, without having impacted a single person.
Arrowhead High School junior Emily Audley can relate to this experience.
"As a child, fears tend to be more surface level. I remember that my friends and I would ask each other questions to get to know each other better," Audley recalled.
"What is your biggest fear?" is the inevitable question Audley's childhood friends always asked.
"I always used to say, getting a bad grade, getting injured or dying,” Audley said. “Now, I'd say that I fear failure. I fear missing out. I fear the decisions I have made and the decisions I will make.”
It’s interesting to think that the things that made me hide under the covers as a child are so different compared to what makes me hide in my bedroom now. It used to be the monsters under the bed — those made up creatures. And then I realized that those weren’t the true monsters, and suddenly cowering under piles of blankets wouldn’t protect me from what is actually out there.
Suddenly, what gives me fear is that I am no longer afraid of the Gunniwolf, because that means worse things have entered my life.
"Fear slows down my decision-making, it jumbles priorities and it causes stress. Of course, fear holds me back, but I don't think there will ever be a time when it doesn't," Audley said. "However, I don't think fear is always a hindrance, it can be helpful. It can drive you toward a goal. It can encourage you to take a risk, if you fear monotony, and it can keep you safe — it can teach you important lessons.”
There may be a day I conquer my fears, a day that I become comfortable with growing older and dealing with change. Until then, I will learn from what scares me. I will not let it hold me back.