Ink: Going

Hannah Gamb, College Essay

My heart pounded heavily. As I stepped outside of my mom’s house, I saw my dad’s truck in the distance approaching. I was filled with uncertainty. A million thoughts ran wild in my mind. I was anxious to leave everyone behind, to be vulnerable, to be alone. The inky early-morning sky filled me with serenity, until I swung the door of the truck open. Worry seemed to have overcome my father’s face. Seeing him that way made me even more uneasy. The unslept hours from the night before encompassed my thoughts. He was trying to tell me that we were going to be late, but I didn’t hear words when he spoke, just faint background noise. This indescribable feeling overwhelmed me in that instant and I lost control of it. Suddenly my eyes became glossy. I sat silently in the car, tears welting in my eyes, pinning me down. 

The unease left me as we arrived at the airport. I was overjoyed to be flying across the country at twelve years old, but it was hard for me to show it. My conscience kept reminding me that I was going to be alone soon. Any minute from then my dad would be gone. I kept silencing this voice, not letting the fear suppress me. The time slowly crept up on me. My dad could not go any further. I fought back tears as we were readying to say our goodbyes. The lump in my throat only grew bigger. I did not want to show my dad this terrified side of me. It would only hurt him more than the fact that I was leaving. I waved goodbye and stepped towards security. I looked back with an emptiness feeling inside. I was missing something. I swung back around and gave my dad a hug.

As I walked through security, I felt unguarded; vulnerable to an attack. I would be lying if I said all of my fear melted away. I felt as if every person I passed had their eyes fixated on me, waiting for me to fail. I gazed up at the departure screen and read, “Denver, Colorado.” I suddenly felt exhilarated. That may have been due to the pure pleasure of leaving home, or the fact that I had iced coffee just moments before. When I sat by my gate, I was surprised to see a girl about my age. She seemed to be flying alone as well. So many thoughts banded in my mind. I had questions like who was waiting for her in Colorado? How was she feeling at that moment? I wanted to know if we were feeling the same.  

I boarded my flight, overcome with apprehension, not knowing what the next four hours on this plane would hold. After what felt like forever, the pilot announced, “we will now begin our descent into Denver.” The stress melted away. Relief: a warm feeling that clutches you and surrounds you when you are at your lowest. It feels like sunshine enfolding you tightly. Relief was the first feeling that embodied me as I rushed off the plane and met eyes with my aunt. Her sweet smile was all I could see. Her arms surrounded me in a hug as I clung to her.

Fear is a feeling felt by many. Whether it’s flying alone across the country, giving a big speech, or going in for a job interview, it’s the way we overcome fear that shapes us as people. This experience that took me way out of my comfort zone has given me the courage to take more big leaps and challenge my fears. Life is too short to not travel and meet life’s most beautiful scenes head on. My experience in Colorado was breathtaking. If I did not take this foreboding opportunity, I know I would not have grown into who I am today.