On being fearless

I’ve always loved that word—fearless. I love the idea of it. The concept. The feeling. When I was a little girl, I used to hide behind my mother’s legs every time I got introduced to someone new. She said I was like a baby koala bear—I could never let go. Although I eventually grew out of my marsupial phase, I remained shy throughout my teenage years, and now in my twenties I find that I am still shy, sometimes insecure, and always anxious.

But I don’t want to feel this way. In the words of the poet Mary Oliver, “I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”

I have a lot of idols. My favorite blogger, Scarphelia, for moving from London to New York City all by herself at 22. Adriene Mishler for creating the inspiring home yoga series Yoga With Adriene. Kayla Itsines for her rockin' body and BBG workouts that have reached continents all around the world. Anna Akana for her hilarious YouTube channel, budding acting career, and clothing line. My parents for taking the big leap from Taiwan to America. My brother for his love of the stage—whether it’s diabolo, piano, or dance. My boyfriend for running a marathon. One of my best friends, Steph, for realizing what she really wanted and changing her career path. My amazing Harvard-bound roomie.

You see, I want to be as brave as Scarphelia and my brother and my roommate. I want to be fearless.

Next month, I will be moving into a new (one bedroom) apartment in a new town to begin a new chapter of my life. My August calendar is covered in post-it notes and reminders—pay rent, transfer utilities, schedule meeting with Peg, submit immunization records, etc.—but I’m starting to think that I need a new set of reminders.

As I begin the journey towards my graduate degree, I will remind myself of a quote from yet another beautiful and lovely idol, Natalie Portman: “Your inexperience is an asset.” She said that she once knew a violinist who said he couldn’t compose because he knew so many pieces that every time he tried to write something original, all he could think of were the melodies of pieces he already knew. Most of the time when I’m scared of something, it’s because I’m afraid of inadequacy, that I’m not good enough, that I don’t know enough. But if I want to be fearless, I must dive right into the challenge. I must believe that my ideas are worth something. That my inexperience is, in fact, an asset.

At the same time, though, I will remind myself to admit when I am wrong. I won’t be afraid to ask for help when I need it. And I will not be afraid to say no.

I’ll learn to love myself. I’ll remember bad memories without cringing, without feeling weak. I’ll say I love you, even if it makes me feel like my heart is completely naked. And someday in the future, I’ll live in the bustling city and the subway won’t confuse me anymore. I’ll be the boss at wherever I work, and who knows, maybe I’ll even become someone else’s fearless idol.

But for now, I’ll settle for becoming brave enough to play the ukulele and sing in public some day. Maybe I’ll learn those yoga inversions that make me feel like I am falling into the earth.

No matter what I’m doing—whether it’s grad school, reaching personal goals, or just my every day shyness—I will learn to be bigger than my fears. I will walk onto that stage one step at a time…and one day…I will be fearless, as though I have wings. 


  1. I loved this piece so SO much. Honoured to have you as a reader - think you might be my idol too x