“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid,
but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela, 1989.
I’m afraid of a lot of things.
I’m afraid of darkness and public speaking,
of failure and my incapabilities.
I’m afraid of those awkward interactions,
where he goes for a hand shake,
and I go for a bear hug.
I’m afraid of being unworthy,
and of the fearsome 6 legged creature,
known as the common cockroach.
I was four when I first faced my woe.
There I stood, knees knocking together,
heart pounding, arms heavy.
A bead of sweat rolls down, traitor,
betrayed by my own thoughts already.
My whimpers had gone unheard,
and now I stand here, absurd.
The stage light shines oh ever so bright,
I squint and wipe my palms, slick with sweat,
look down at the ever so frightening sight,
of the judgmental black masses.
I raise my violin up to my chest,
and trembling, fearful of repercussions,
I put the bow on the string, but no sound comes out,
I’m choking, now, everybody’s joking now.
Silencing the beasts inside my head,
I won’t give up that easily.
No, I don’t need their approval,
I am second only to God,
a force to be reckoned with,
my vision shall bear fruition.
“Break the dam! Break free from fear!
Spill your emotions, let the music into your soul,
let it lift you up among the stars!”
Although I would like to believe,
that I produced a sound equivalent to Orpheus’,
I sounded much closer to kazoo than a lyre.
But my triumph lies in my newfound belief,
not only in my prowess but myself,
a true exemplification of courage,
if I do say so myself.
A symbol of personal growth,
my fear has led me to the place where I stand today,
still learning everyday,
but instead of cowering, I embrace it unashamedly.