Once I was afraid; now I am strong. Those words can mean nothing – almost everything will go through the change, or maybe you already have, like me. I’ve gone through it a while ago, maybe four years back. My dad and sister came along with me to go walking outside one day. I was leading the hiking party, marching across the bridges and the thin, upward paths with ease. We were near the loop-around to our house. My sister was tired, so we sat down for a minute and broke out the waters in my dad’s pack. I, however, wanted to explore a little further.
“You know, Genna,” said my dad, “someday, you could go exploring by yourself.” I stopped. He knew that was something I wanted like a Christmas present, even at five. I was independent, but still young – I could dream up the worst case scenarios in a matter of seconds. I turned around. “Really?” I asked.
My dad smiled. “Only if you want to.” But I had the feeling that this wasn’t something I could say no to.
“Come. We’ll do it from closer to the house,” said my dad. He gathered up our drinks and took my sister by the hand. We walked for a while, but I didn’t walk in front – I was mortally terrified.
We walked until we could see the house. At first, I thought it would be straight up to the house, over the rock wall – I wanted to climb; I felt strong. I really felt like I could do anything. But if anyone knew my dad, it was me – I knew he wouldn’t make things that easy. I turned out to be right. I was really scared as I watched my dad show the way out towards the edge of the woods, out to the field. “So you go out here, and then you turn about here.” He stopped talking, probably to mark where to stop, but he was so far away I couldn’t tell, and even though it mattered, I found myself not caring.
“And then you turn right here, about a few feet in front of this wall.” Good. At least I’d be able to climb the wall – or maybe my dad was going to make us go around it.
“And then climb over the wall and then up to the house. Simple. You ready?” he called down from beyond the wall. I hesitated, unsure. Then I nodded. That feeling I had had when I had seen the wall, ready to climb it – there was still some of that courage left, somewhere deep inside me. I tried to reach down deep and pick it up. Then I set out to the trees separating the rest of the forest and the field.
I went through the trees over to the field. I walked for a ways, slowly placing one shaking foot in front of the other, taking small, close steps. “Come on, you can do it!” promised my dad. I saw the faint shadow of the stone wall and turned before I hit it. I had come out so early, though, my knee scraped against the edge of the wall, then it started to bleed. I cried out, but then sucked in a deep breath and stuck my foot in the first notch. Then on and on and on until I reached the top. I jumped down from the ledge, trying not to land too much pressure on my scraped knee. I looked up and saw my dad smiling. I smiled too and ran up to him, even though my knee hurt. That courage I had had when I saw the wall; it was all back. Every last shred of it. My dad took me to the house to warm up and have some hot cocoa.
“You did a great job out there,” said my dad. I was sitting on the leather chairs in front of the kitchen windows, snuggled up in the corner with a blanket over me. From here, I could see the view of the wall and even the fields through the trees. I sighed and snuggled up. I was so proud of myself, because I had been brave, no matter what. But of course, when my dad asked if I wanted to do it again, my answer was, obviously, “No WAY!