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  • Writer's pictureHenery X (long)

Based On A True Story

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

From Frozen To Flowing Like An Ocean Wave


Imagine the thought of having to speak in front of people you didn’t know as your greatest fear. Well, in days gone by, I didn’t have to imagine it because, it was my life. I was a regular little chatterbox in the midst of those I felt most comfortable but when it came to strangers, it was as if I didn’t possess the ability to speak. Not only was I silent but I used to be shaking like dice in Las Vegas, as well as sweating like I had just stepped out of a downpour. It goes without saying that this degree of fear held me back from discovering so much, I was a light trapped in the grip of my own self-made darkness. The more I did nothing to change my condition, the worse my condition became. I thought this would be my life, for the rest of my life, and this thought was just as scary as the means responsible for it was.


Over time I would become an avid reader or should I say, more like an addict to reading. Once upon a time in America only listening to music meant more to me than reading, and when it came to pastime activities. Actually, I read as I listened to music, it was the only way I did read, and I listened to music more than I did anything else. Eventually, I would develop a strong desire to write and due to the words I was reading. I became infatuated with how authors were able to express themselves so articulately, and, without uttering a word. I thought this was a way to get past my fear of speaking by writing down what needs to be said. So, I began to study the dictionary.

Not only did I want to write, but I wanted to write articulately as well. And what better way to accomplish my goal than by studying the book responsible for writing, period. It would take me several years of study before I felt comfortable enough to start combining words into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs. Remember, I wasn’t just trying to write, but write articulately as well. But once I did feel comfortable enough, I began to write nonstop. My confidence was through the roof when it came to expressing myself on paper. Now, I thought if I could only figure out how to transfer this newfound power to my actual speaking voice, I’d be alright.

The Solution

I became a member of the Nation of Islam in 1995 and it was during this time I would not only get over my fear of speaking before strangers, but I would be freed of fear completely as well.

I and the group of brothers I was connected with did everything as one: studied, exercised, ate, etc. It was truly a union of brotherly love. We all wanted the very best for one another. We used to have writing assignments we had to do, and that was based on the material we read every week. Seeing I loved to write and over time I became very good at it, I felt right at home.

After we completed our assignments we’d give them to our spiritual adviser, who would read them and let us know, in writing, if we hit or missed the mark. Needless to say, my combination of words always found themselves closer to the bullseye, than not.

One day our spiritual adviser came up with the bright idea that we’d have to read our assignments aloud and while standing before the podium, which he usually stood before while enlightening us. Though I felt extremely comfortable being in the midst of these brothers, and I had built stronger bonds with some more than others, I wasn’t ready to have the spotlight shined specifically on me. But the task was nonnegotiable. You see, our mission was all about self-improvement, on every level, especially when it came to speaking. Our studies were so that we could go to Africans in America with a message so profound, it’ll have the desire to start living their best life, completely overtake their entire being.

Every week, and after group prayer was done, one member would stand before the podium and recite what he wrote, about the assignment of the moment. The task was made easier by us, the audience, offering encouraging words during, and giving a standing ovation, after.

Though I knew what to expect, it didn’t make my upcoming moment at the podium any more inviting. Just thinking about standing before the brothers made me shake and sweat uncontrollably.

My day finally came, and it goes without saying, I was terrified. I stood before the podium gripping the sides so tight, it’s a wonder the sections I held didn’t break off in my hands. As I glanced at each man, my eyes stopped on the smiling face of the brother I had the best bond with. He was the brother I used to tell all my hopes and dreams, he was the one I actually regarded as a blood brother. So, when I began to speak, I imagined it was my brother I was speaking to, and as I always did. After I was done, I received a standing ovation and it was at this very moment, my fear of speaking before anyone was completely gone.

The Benefits

Not being restricted from talking to people due to fear, changed my life significantly. No person was too intimidating where I’d let them pass me by without making my presence known. Seeing I could articulate myself accordingly, I found myself in the presence of very important people, who would make my life a lot easier. I would eventually become a mentor to a multitude of fellow writers, who would begin writing their first books because of our association. And right now today, I oversee a space I created on the first of this year called, Positive Place. Positive Place is made possible via Instagram Live and it’s where we creatives come together to support one another. Mainly I conduct interviews, which allows the individuals' voices to be heard. I also allow them to promote their products, as well as to showcase their talents. To date, I have interviewed close to eighty people, and it’s just getting better with time.

Every moment has its time and in that time, it’ll be a defining moment that will change everything. But we must face, fight, and defeat our fears if we expect to meet the said moment.

Thank you for taking the time and donating it to reading my words. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life like a river does into a sea.

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