Be afraid! Be veeerryyyy afraid!!!

 

Those who knew me very well when I was much younger would know that I was what you would call a fear-fear person.  I was literally scared of everything. From live animals to frozen fish, from darkness to enclosed spaces,  from heights to water, from plastic flowers to real ones…  Yeah. Basically everything. I was even too scared to learn to swim or ride a bicycle. That bad.

So you won’t be surprised when I tell you how scared I was of facing a crowd.  Any crowd. Both known and unknown. I would literally freeze if I had to. I have a vivid memory from Nursery 2 going to primary 1 when I had to read the whole Psalm 91 in front of parents and staff at my graduation. It was going good until they all started hailing, screaming, standing up, clapping and suddenly, I froze. I just couldn’t go on with all those people’s eyes fixed on me and I just stood on the stage looking into space,  till my teacher came to take me away.

Yes. All that happened. But somehow, this same girl ended up becoming a star debater in secondary school. Don’t worry, I’ll give you the gist.

So in my school, we used to have this Wednesday weekly debate thing on days when there were no club activities. Of course,  I had never dreamt of being on that stage.  I was usually with my friends, laughing at those who flopped and rooting for anybody representing our class. This explains why it was funny and almost scary when my then English teacher (Mr Oguntade) told me after his class that I should represent my class in the debate that day. This was after getting a killer score of 28/50 in the argumentative essay he asked us to write. This was a badass score by the way…for those who schooled in the Nigerian system. (If you know,  you know.)

I laughed it off and said I couldn’t possibly do it but Mr Oguntade didn’t forget or let it go. He came to my class during the break and called me to the staff room to ‘practise’ my points. I was literally crying and begging. You know what he said? “Go there and embarrass yourself.”

I’m like wahhhhhhhh???!!! 😑

I later got to know Mr Oguntade never took no for an answer. He told me that he could not take the fear out of me but what he could do was put both me and the fear on the stage and it was up to me to decide who would win.

And so I was dragged out of the toilet where I went to hide to the school auditorium where the debate was to hold. The topic was “We’re happier than our forefathers” and I can remember thinking about how my forefathers were definitely happier than me at that moment. 😭😭 I thought of actually adding that to my points since I was opposing the motionπŸ˜‚. Long story short, yes, we won.  I even received a standing ovation and everyone I met later that day kept congratulating me and saying they never knew I had it in me.

Plot twist: I never knew I had it in me either but when I was on that stage, all I could think about was what Mr Oguntade said and I didn’t want fear to win me on that stage.  I wanted to win fear and I did. I did it. Me and my fear.

The very next day, I was asked to represent the school in an external debate competition on the same topic and I came second.  The day after that I was asked to prepare for another external debate, different topic and I came first.  And that’s how I became a debate champion at school. I represented the school in every single debate competition from then on and almost always came first. Sometimes, I even won speaker of the day award. My name actually got on the school website.😭

Yep that’s me

The summary is that I was scared but I went ahead, fears and all and I came out on top. I literally got a standing ovation for facing my fears.

To be honest, you might not always get a standing ovation for facing yours. In fact that was the only fear that got me a standing ovation lol. But you will definitely give yourself a standing ovation in your heart when you cross that one thing off the list.

Nobody is asking you not to be afraid. In fact, be afraid. Be veeerryyyy afraid. But the important thing is to go ahead despite your fears. Do it, fears and all. Fear really cannot hold you down. You’re the only one that can hold yourself down and I’m forever grateful to Mr Oguntade for teaching me this. (I am going to email him this write up. 😊)

So my advice to you is to wake up everyday with a plan to do one thing that scares you and little by little, one day at a time, you’ll stay winning.

I know we all fear different things and have taken steps to overcome them. We’ve been motivated by different people at different points in our lives.  Let me know in the comments section. Let’s learn from one another. Thank you so much for reading.
Much love

Your tiny eyed storyteller 😍

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54 thoughts on “Be afraid! Be veeerryyyy afraid!!!

  1. I remember that i was so scared of public speaking, it was so bad that if you called me i would join the crowd to be looking for me lol. But now i can speak in front of probably any crowd. Thank you so much Tomi for your awesome work with this article. I guess everyone agrees that we all need a Mr Oguntade in our lives to push us into harnessing our potentials. Cant wait for next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As of why we fear, I don’t know. But I most times dread the unknown. Life has exposed me to just do it, and well keep the consequence controlled.
    A similar courage welled up within me as I read through this write up to get out on the stage with my fear and be the referee deciding who wins: fear or me.
    Beautiful article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tomi, i took you a sister then.. I saw it in you since your junior class. I knew you would one day make the school proud.. I am proud of you..
    Don’t let this writing stop. Keep the fire burning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mehn. This writeup was good.

    I also did debate in Primary school. I was the chief Speaker. Those were indeed good days. And unlike you, I actually knew how to speak in front of an audience. Lool. Sorry Tomi.

    However, I had a time when I had to SING in front of an audience and I found myself repeating “I ask for job o, you gimme job o, I ask for blessing, you gimme blessing, I ask for life o, you gimme life o”.
    Since no other song was coming to my head and I ran out of things that “I asked for”, I started to stare at the congregation.

    As if expecting my ‘mess up’, My church teacher (popularly known as ‘Aunty’) came to take the mic from me and to finish that session of Praise.

    Before I went up, the Head of Choir, Mr Yinka Adebiyi had prepped and motivated me on how I can actually be wonderful on that stage no matter how young I am and well, I still went there to embarass myself.

    For like a month sha, I couldn’t look Mr. Adebiyi in the eye cos I flopped like a floppy… errr nevermind.

    I still remember the crowd eagerly looking at me, expecting another chorus and me still telling them ‘I ask for fish o… He gimme fish o”.

    That’s my own story sha.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My fears once limited my ability!!! you know why? Cos most times I think I can do it not until I saw two different definition of FEAR..
    1st one Forget Everything And Run and 2nd Face Everything And Rise… When I conquered my Fears den I realized my fears are nor there to SCARE ME, they are there to show me that SOMETHING IS WORTH DOING!!!
    Your write has boost my morals towards fear… Keep it up dear

    Liked by 1 person

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