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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Victoria Gillard
Victoria Gillard
Humor Editor & Social Media

What are you so afraid of?

Photo+by+Olivia+Beauchemin
Photo by Olivia Beauchemin

In the hallways of Tualatin High School (TuHS), where zombies lurk and where cobwebs grow, hides my biggest fear…a test I forgot to study for! If that didn’t scare you, then I have some things to learn from you. Now, a test may not have anything on these students, but their biggest fears do. These sources show TuHS students going to a dark place to answer my questions.

TuHS junior Grady Porter shared his fear of mountain lions. 

“I hike in the mountain lion area a lot, and they will hunt you down and you won’t know until they are biting you,” Porter stated. Knowing an adult male mountain lion can get up to eight feet long and weigh 150 lbs, hiking alone in mountain lion range is to be avoided. 

The USDA Forest Service advises those hiking in their territory, “Do not hike alone. Go in groups.” 

“I was not alone,” Porter said. 

Coexistence with wildlife in the hiking environment is something Porter appreciates, so I had to ask: has he ever had to get past this fear? If not, has this fear held him back? 

“I have not gotten over it, and it hasn’t held me back, but it keeps me on my toes when hiking,” he said. 

Zoophobia, or animal phobia, is a very normal fear. While some are afraid of snakes and mountain lions, spiders remain most people’s number one fear. TuHS freshman Betsty Phipps is that one in three women who lives with this dark fear. 

“I hate spiders,” she said. 

In this situation, hate is very much a strong word. 

“I hate spiders because they have long nasty legs and should die,” Phipps  said. 

But there is a cure for those suffering from this fear.

“Arachnophobia is very treatable,” according to the Australian Museum’s Dr. Sophie Li, “with some studies showing over 90 percent of people show clinically significant improvements in spider-related anxiety.” 

Does this apply to Phipps? 

“I have to get over that when there’s a spider and no one else is home to kill it, and it has held me back because sometimes I don’t kill it and just avoid that room for a week,” she said.

So what if spiders aren’t that scary? Or what if mountain lions are rare to come across? Fear is inevitable. Fear is within everyone; we would not have bravery without fear. In a book review for A Philosophy of Fear, the writer says, Fear is a powerful emotion. It can save lives. But it also robs us of our freedom and undermines that essential social glue: trust. Bertrand Russell once said that to conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” 

Let’s go back to our roots: getting out of our comfort zones is bravery, and everyone’s perspective of what is brave is different. To be afraid is to be intelligent; it is to be brave. We are told by Batman that “Fear is a tool.” Fear is the instinct in our minds that works with our memory, both physical and mental. It is that nauseous feeling when faced with the possibility of falling off a high point, or thinking you’re being watched. When do we know what we’re really afraid of? Are we afraid of everything with different levels of fear? What makes something scary? There are so many seemingly obvious questions yet not one simple answer. 

Fear is true and teaches. At times in my life when I felt guilt, worry or confusion, I mainly felt fear. If I were to go back to those times in my life, I would remember that fear isn’t just screaming at a ghost and moving on, but fear lasts. Fear is that lingering feeling that just feels bad. I keep telling myself, being afraid is a flaw. What am I so afraid of? Why is my friend not afraid of this but I am? I now know there was never something weak in me; there was never something to change in my way of thinking. I was ignorant to parts of myself that make me who I am. I want to continue to live in fear but not in the way that sounds. I want to live in the fear that makes me vulnerable, and sensitive – the fear that makes me understand people who share the same fear. 

This leads me to my last point. I recently watched a thriller movie, and I was scared, but so were my friends. The movie that was once too much became tolerable, and I felt like my fear was shared. Fear is what makes us human, and I will continue to be afraid in life.



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Rachael Ann Sanford, Staff Writer & Graphics Team

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