“How are you feeling?” asked my classmate, a woman who already had two open mics under her belt.
“Like I am going to cry,” I answered.
No, actually, I felt my eyes wanted to vomit tears rather than just vomit, which is normal as stage fright goes, or so I thought.
“That’s normal,” She replied, “You’ll do fine.”
Another woman, the one taking the video on my phone, chimed in “You’re funny in class.” I replied it’s different and after mentally took a step back.
What am I frightened of?
I learned to live with setbacks and failures in my life. Getting ‘left back’ in first grade gave me my first lesson in dealing with not measuring up to something. That feeling went from external to internal, taking me a long time to get gritty during a setback. This time around, I don’t think it’s failure.
In fact, it’s actually doing not-too-bad at something.
My classmate offered to take my phone and film me, bringing a whole other load of anxiety. Take a look at me kids, this is my body, clad my favourite piece from Addition-Elle, the silvery top that went with the silver stud details on my boots. I looked pretty good. Around my neck hung St. Jude, patron saint of the impossible. Through his intercession, God thought I can’t deliver on Richard Armitage, but maybe I can get her through the stage fright.
After I had finished, with a mixture of disbelief and fist-pumping accomplishment, things began to focus a little. Yes, it’s nutty time, and we only live in. People on both sides cling to slights like a talisman, perhaps to ward off the hard work of dealing with limitations and regrets. The act of tearing someone down, either by heckling or trolling online, speaks to a sense of powerlessness. I asked myself, trust me, what prevented me from turning bitter, from hardening into a bully. I don’t have all the answers, but it starts with small acts of faith. It’s the people who offered me their shoulder, and I pay it forward by doing the same thing. It’s looking at the cruelty face in my past as a sort of vaccination in case future cases come up. It’s making sure the armour around me protects my heart, to make sure it can crack open for moments of vulnerability.
Like last night. Enjoy.