The crowds were loud, the lights were on, and loud music was taking over. I was about to recite a poem that shed light on a really sensitive topic.
Once my turn came, my legs weren’t shaking; instead, they took me to the center of the stage, where I stood loud and strong.
My voice wasn’t hesitant; on the contrary, it sounded warm and courageous. Time seemed unlimited, and the whole world around me stopped. Suddenly, it was just me and the stage.
However, this wasn’t the case during my first and second times on stage. During those times, I wasn’t that confident, my legs were shaking, and my voice was too loud, perhaps because I was afraid.
My first time on stage, I was moving very fast, as if I wanted this to end as quickly as possible. I was holding a paper because I was afraid I’d forget the words. That big stage in the large auditorium scared me.
One of the judges told me: “Your voice is warm, and your words are strong, but the way in which you interpret them all through your body language didn’t portray the whole picture well.”
The second time, I forgot what I wanted to say. I kept on mixing up words that were neither rhyming nor correct. After I’d finished my performance, I didn’t even listen to what the judges said, as if I wasn’t hearing anything but the things I did wrong.
I kept on applying the next year and every time I stood on that stage, I felt more confident.
I used to practice how I’d move on stage in order to give an honest, proud vibe. While standing on stage for the third time, I realized that I was committing everyone to listen to me.
It was only then that I felt that the stage was my source of confidence. I felt that my standing on stage didn’t obligate me to focus on everyone around me, rather, it obligated everyone to give me their full attention.
The stage gave me power in many ways. While looking around, I noticed I have an audience, but I also realized that I have space, space to share and reflect. The audience was seated shoulder to shoulder, with no room to move.
I, on the other hand, had enough room to move around. I felt this space, and no matter how I felt inside, that space gave me power.
My partner and I had chosen a topic that was of due importance at that time. It revolved around the tragedy that happened to Al Ahly SC fans during the Port Said match. I played the role of the youth who died.
I stood up courageously and my legs carried me stronger than ever before. I felt as if I truly represented those young fans. My voice got louder, and my feelings seeped more and more through the words.
I used the space well, walking back and forth, right and left, engaging people and getting engaged. The moment I finished, I was surprised by the reaction of the audience. When they all stood up, I saw their tears and smiles at the same time.
The most important thing I will always remember is that the stage allowed me to own it. The power was ready on that stage; it was just waiting for me to grab it.