A lesson from a 15 yr old: “We are bigger than any fear”


We’ve all got it.

Of spiders. Of drowning. Of speaking in public. Of kale. Of lazy susans. Of love. Of not knowing where to sit at lunch. Of being alone.

Your fear is your own, no matter how big or small, how seemingly insignificant, how silly others think it is. It’s real for you. And thus, it’s significant. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel less than because of a fear. Including yourself.

Fear happened, is happening, and will happen, regardless of your income, skin color, religion, pants size, or zip code. It’s not something we can get away from. And perhaps that’s ok. Perhaps even a good thing. What would happen if you didn’t run from fear nor shake your fists at it, but discovered how you can use fear to your advantage?

I am extremely lucky to have a ‘job’ that allows me to cross paths with people who are ridiculously open to both admitting and embracing their fears. A huge factor in this not so easy thing to do is community. It’s much easier to admit and tackle fear when others surround you. Whether they’re there simply to support you or whether they’re there to also tell fear “Bring it!”, the reason for them being there doesn’t matter. Their presence does. Whether they’re your best friend or your brother, or whether they’re the niece of your neighbor’s hair stylist or someone who read about you in a blog post, their role in your life doesn’t matter. Their cheerleading does.

The most beautiful and unexpected goodness can occur when you embrace fear, both fear of your own and of others.

In a little over a week, Chicago will be reminded of this in the most artistic, inspiring, concrete way —


Fear Experiment. Twenty-two adults, who were strangers three months ago, will confront their fears of humiliation, vulnerability, public performance, comparison, not “fitting in,” and being “bad” by finding courage in their community — those with them on stage and those in the audience — and will sing and step like they’re professional singers and steppers and not the social workers, marketing managers, and bank tellers that they actually are.

After a preview of their routines a few days ago, all I can say is WOW. Not in that the participants are perfect and will be given recording or dance contracts. But in that they are 110% IN, VULNERABLE, SUPPORTIVE, and BEAUTIFUL.

That would’ve been enough loveliness.

And then I was made aware of Jadisha —


Fear Experiment is an It Takes a Village journey, where people from all walks of life help us amateurs put on a professional show, from videography to food, tshirt design to stage managing. The woman volunteering her makeup services for the upcoming show asked that instead of something for herself in return for her help, that we do something for her fifteen year-old cousin Jadisha.

Jadisha, an aspiring biochemist!, on the same day her mother gave birth to twins, was diagnosed with Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia. More than 1500 miles away from her home and family as she receives treatment while battling a very rare cancer, she certainly knows fear.


In the spirit of Fear Experiment, of strangers coming together for good, we share Jadisha’s story and ask for your help.

Her family has struggled to raise the funds necessary to cover her medical expenses. They’ve turned to the wonderful resource GiveForward, “free online fundraising pages allowing friends and family to raise money and support for a loved one when they need it the most.” Though Jadisha is not our loved one in the traditional sense – we have yet to have the pleasure of meeting her – she is our loved one in that our hearts ache for and want to help anyone in pain and in fear.


We’re asking our community to become Jadisha’s community and to embrace Jadisha as a loved one —

  • Can you share her story and her fundraiser? Tweet/Facebook/Email: A 15 yr old aspiring biochemist far away from loved ones and struggling with leukemia could use your #community. http://ow.ly/ruCkB
  • Can you contribute to her fundraiser? $10, $50, $100. Any amount helps and is much appreciated. Tweet/Facebook/Email: I just supported a 15 yr old aspiring biochemist in her battle w/leukemia via @giveforward. http://ow.ly/ruCkB #FearExperiment
  • Can you share your well-wishes in person to her and her dad, and clap WILDLY for her, at Fear Experiment?*
  • If you believe in the power of positive thoughts, can you send one the way of her and her family?


Jadisha and her cousin Andrea (aka Fear Experiment’s makeup artist) 

While fear is usually viewed in a negative light, my Life of Yes! goggles always have me searching for the good in fear. People like Jadisha make that search an easy one.


Jadisha’s response recently to what she thinks of “fear”


*We are hoping that the hospital will allow Jadisha to join us at Fear Experiment next week and would love to have you in the audience cheering on her and all the nervous participants! More info on the show/reserve tickets | Please share and contribute at Jadisha’s GiveForward page