Escaping to happiness


As I walked out of the band hall for the last time as a sophomore, fear enveloped me. Not because there was a fire, not because I was being forced to leave, but because I was choosing to leave my life of five years. My “friends,” my “hobby,” my “safety net” – all down the drain. Walking out of the doors that had held me in for so long, I second guessed the decision that was a year in the making.

Was I going to have friends?

What was I going to do?

Was this the right choice?

Most people have seen a horse jump over a hurdle on a course successfully. And, thanks to Vine, most people have seen a horse jump over a hurdle unsuccessfully, falling rather ungracefully. The horse, no matter its landing from the previous hurdle, continues to jump – hurdle after hurdle. The horse does not see the obstacle as something to fear, something to end its habit, but instead sees it as a challenge.

A challenge is hard to accept, because it is welcoming failure as a possibility. We are so fearful of stepping out of line that we cower in defeat, accepting the unconscious less-than-stellar self confidence grade. We see the hurdle in front of us. We see the height and the depth. We see the clear challenge. But do we jump?

Band was not the best place for me, for many reasons. I wasn’t musically talented, and because of that I felt anxiety to be better, always better. The feeling that I would never be good enough eventually seeped into my heart until it became my bitter mantra. My self confidence faded into an abyss of hopelessness.

With each footstep, I remembered all the good memories – the first place finishes, the laughter, the sense of accomplishment. All good things, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for my remaining two and a half years of high school. I wanted to make something of myself.

I didn’t want to be “that person” – the one who quits. I knew that it was a risk. And I stepped across the threshold of the door. For some reason, even the hallway I had walked millions of times, seemed brighter. An imaginary film was removed from my jaded eyes.




Things I hadn’t felt in years immediately rushed over me. I had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy life. Sometimes while I was in band, I reminisced on how happy I was before band. Because that was before middle school, I blamed the unhappy spell on growing up, hormones and challenges in middle school.

I saw the obstacle, and I jumped.

Since then, I have not regretted my decision once. I know that I lost some friends, but the relationship I maintained with peers still in band grew stronger. And in the end, I gained more friends. My grades rose astronomically. My self confidence is at a healthy level. The world has kept turning.

The obstacle that could have ended my existence, mentally and emotionally, in turn made me the person I am today.