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Sweat trickled down the sides of my face. My fingers slid a little on the frets.

Lunchtime at the Lycee.


We were doing one of those dumb exercises (well I was 19 at the time so I thought it was dumb then, now I LOVE them). Some kind of icebreaker to help all the exchange students bond a bit before being turned loose into unsuspecting New Caledonian host families.


We shared things about ourselves that others couldn't know easily. I sang and played.


"You should perform Mira"


I am glad he said that. I realise now how tightly I have held onto that moment. That feeling, the expression on his face. It lasted me for years - it whispered maybe one day in my mind over and over.


My cup was not empty, it was a black hole. It seemed no amount of encouragement from others would ever fill it.


And that's because it wouldn't. It had to come from me.


It took years - too many years, but finally I learned to stand and breath as I felt fire rip across my body when I performed - or even thought about take the hits of the unsolicited feedback in tender moments after walking off stage, to feel good enough just as I was and to stop laughing when someone called me a musician.


Performance anxiety is no joke but getting over it will make you feel like laughing for all the right reasons.


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