Conquer the fear and get out of your comfort zone
Start writing a post

I am a poet at heart. Recently, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and read at an open mic. I have attended a few and each time it is as exciting as the first. It starts with picking out the best poem to read for that evening's events. I imagine taking experience and creating it in descriptive words that put the reader inside my world and see what I have experienced with rhythmic colorful verses.

As the adrenaline grows in me, I watch the clock eagerly, trying to calm my nerves and focus on the day, not on the night's event. Once I arrive, I find a place in the middle of the room, someplace that I can see everyone arriving. The stage lights are turned on and the microphone is plugged in, and the empty space is ready for its first victim. My adrenaline kicks up a notch. My heart starts beating faster and my palms begin to sweat. I look over the poem on the paper and begin to second guess my selection. The sign-up sheet is set out for everyone to add their name. The first spot is always reserved for a certain regular that has never missed a performance. Several others line up to put their name on the sheet. I never rush this process because I know many won't sign up for the second or third spot, and I it will be mine.

As the writers before me take their turn at the microphone, I watch the crowd and see if they are interested in what the writer is saying, or are they as nervous as I am? Not knowing who any of these people are or if they came to hear a story or poem from a close friend or maybe just need to be entertained in a way many have not thought would be entertaining makes me even more frightened and anxious. Finally, the writer before me has finished and the applause dies down.

The emcee of the open mic event says a few things about the last writer and makes a few comments about coming events for anyone interested in participating. Suddenly it is my turn and I am introduced. "Please welcome Barbara to the stage."

The small crowd claps and I meekly move to the stage and the lights glare into my eyes. I slowly edge closer to the microphone and press my palms to my pant legs to remove the perspiration before touching. For a moment my fight or flight instinct kicks in and I am overwhelmed with a surge of power.

I put on my best smile and introduce myself and the backstory of the poem I have picked out to read. My legs are shaking, and my heart is pounding all the way to my fingertips. I refuse to look out to see if anyone is looking at me. I can feel their eyes focused on me and I keep my eyes on the paper and begin reading. I start to read, and I get through the first few lines and freeze. Losing track of my rhythm and focusing more on the lights and sounds instead of my mission at hand. I apologize and start over. I take a deep breath look out into the audience and let the anticipation of the event disappear from my thoughts.

I begin again and it gets easier as the words take on a life of their own. My heartbeat slows, and even though my legs haven't completely stopped shaking, I endure because I must conquer this fear. I hold the paper up so I can see the crowd watching and listening as I continue. Realizing, I am coming to the end and the fear of no one applauding crosses my mind as I say the final words to my poem and cautiously smile out into the crowd.

Then it happens, the sweet sound of approval. It takes me to a new level of exhilaration. The endorphins have kicked in, I am overwhelmed with a powerful high. The knowledge of conquering my fear, and believing I have been accepted by my peers. As I sit back down and try to listen to the next writer, a few of the participants from the crowd come over to tell me they liked my poem. I thank them as I take deep breaths to bring myself back to reality and unwind before I go home.

The time up on the stage is probably no more than five minutes, but it feels like a lifetime and it flashes before my eyes and then it is over. Part of me wonders why I was so nervous and another part of me never wants to do it again. I need to keep going until it doesn't give me the thrill I am getting from it now. However, that means I will have to find the next place outside of my comfort zone to share what I write.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.


While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.


Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.


When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.


I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.


We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.


Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments