Forced to face my fears of people, failure, and loneliness, my trip to the Dominican Republic shaped me into the person I am today. The summer after seventh grade, I lived with a host family in Santo Domingofor three months. In June of 2005 I flew to the island with the intention of starting life over and freeing myself of my home town, where I did not fit in. Three months of paradise. I knew I would witness an amazing, life-altering experience.
The next night, with a blanket over my head- protecting myself from the cockroaches crawling through the window-I lied in my bed, immersed in thought. The neighbors, as they did every night, turned on music loud enough for everyone in the apartment complex to hear. They played No Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” “Take this pink ribbon off my eyes,” Gwen Stefani sang as I second guessed my decision to go home. Sick of debating, I focused on the lyrics. “…so many reasons for me to run and hide. I can't do the little things I hold so dear. 'Cause it's all those little things that I fear…” Whether it was coincidental or not, that momentI understood what I was actually doing. I was running and hiding.
That night I finally understood that I, the prey, kept running from fear, the predator.
Because my classmates were intimidating, I ran and became shy. Since soccer required continuous practice and hard work, I ran and quit. Due to my lack of friends, and wanting to rid myself of loneliness, I ran to a different country. Yet, even while in “paradise,” I was stillnot happy. Like a boomerang, the same problems came back.
At a certain point, running becomes tiring. Overwhelmingly tired, I dug my heels into the ground, deciding I would never run again. And, I did not.
I planted my feet in Santo Domingo and, like a flower, I blossomed. Facing my fear of people I opened myself up to my host family. Conquering my fear of failure, I took a Spanish class to receivehelp. Dismissing my fear of loneliness,...