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Day 11: The Sun Always Rises at Dawn

A Perfect Morning
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Extra Medium via Compfight

In this 30-days to Mastering Your Fears Series, The Skool of Life and The Fear Project are collaborating to blow the doors off our most primal emotion. Today’s substitute teacher is Dragos Roua

23 years ago I was serving my country as solider. Back then, military service was compulsory in Romania for any healthy man. I was in a city called Timisoara, waiting for my 9 months (that’s how long I was supposed to be there) to finish.

But, in a rather unexpected turn of events, something happened. Roughly 2 and a half months after I was recruited, a suite of brutal and uncontrollable events known as the Romanian Revolution totally took my world – and the world of other 22 millions people – by surprise.


There were people on the streets. There were riots. There was shooting and confusion and death. There was live broadcasting of military chasing terrorists. There was chaos. My life was caught in this chaos, and, alas, I was in the worst position to be caught in: I was a soldier. Meaning I couldn’t do much to avoid the trouble. On the contrary, I was supposed to be right in the middle of it.


I could go on for days telling the stories of my life as a soldier in the Romanian Revolution. But you wouldn’t have the time, and I kinda suspect that this is not the place for something like this. What I can do, though, is to give you a short overview of what I went through.

I didn’t sleep for 5 nights in a row (that’s more than 100 hours of being awake continuously).

I almost accidentally shoot myself in the head (bullet passed 3 cm from my face).

I didn’t eat for 2 days.

I spent a whole night on a field covered with tanks.

But, most of all, I was in a continuous state of fear. I was terrified. I saw people dying and heard stories that I buried deep down into my unconscious mind, because I couldn’t picture the events. It was by far the most dangerous time of my entire life.

Almost half of the people in my company ended in the infirmary somehow: some because of the fatigue, lack of sleep or food (it was chaos, like I told you), and some because infirmary was basically the safest place at that time.

After my 5 sleepless nights, I heard that the dictator, Ceausescu, ran away. From that day on, the pressure started to gently fade away. In a few weeks, there wasn’t any shooting anymore on the streets of Timisoara. In a few months, I was released from the service.

But, every time I go back to those times, I relive the fear. I relive the terror of being caught in something violent, unexpected and brutally different from the world I used to know. I don’t remember those nights, I actually relive them. I feel the same things I felt those days and I have the same exact sensations.

And, just like during those 5 days of terror, I use the same thought that made me safely go through them. And that though is:  the sun always rises at dawn. No matter what you do, no matter what happen to you, no matter how deep is the hole in which you’re struggling right now, the sun will always rise at dawn.

And that, my friend, is very good news. Because it means you can safely do the same.


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