Do What Makes Your Palms Sweat

I’M CURRENTLY WRITING from Ericeira, a beach town on the coast of Portugal. I’m staying at a small surf hostel; there are two others guests besides me, and after two days, it’s become a sort of home.

On the first night here, I got a message in the hostel group chat:

“Open mic night at Ay Mamita! two spots left. Music, poetry, and storytelling.”

There was only one right response.

“I’m in,” I replied with nerves already pumping through my being.

“How do I sign up?”

Three of us sauntered over to the venue at around 7:30pm; I had no idea what to expect, as I didn’t want to ask too many questions.

In the middle of a narrow street, a large group of people stood outside of a store, peering in through the window.

The sun began to set over the small white and blue buildings in the distance; this was it.

The street was quiet; I could hear the voice from inside, somebody reading.

The venue was a small Latin street food restaurant and bar, and at the front a gentleman sat with the mic, pouring out the first chapter of his book.

The inside was packed. It was awesome.

This is where I’m meant to be, I thought.

The night passed, I had a few of the best empanadas of my life, and eventually my time came.

My nerves were showing a bit and my friend from the hostel asked, why are you nervous?

Why am I nervous? I wondered. We laughed; we went through a breathing technique; we had another empanada.

I was doing something that was filling my soul with love.

I was doing something, to steal a line from the late great Gregory Russell Benedikt, that made my palms sweat.

I was stepping out of my comfort zone, and no matter what happened, I was going to have fun with it.

My name was called, and I read one of my recent stories, No Matter What Life Can Be an Adventure.

It was an emotional one, and I questioned if it was too much.

But I went with it, and I’m glad I did. I took my time, and enjoyed that feeling of butterflies in the stomach, of presence in the moment, of a sort of confidence from doing something that scares you.

What is there to fear?

It’s an illusion. It’s part of life. Yet it’s something to be cherished. If you can face it, it means you’re grappling with life, and that is damn beautiful.

Push yourself. Try something new this weekend.

Give that compliment that’s fighting to break from out of your chest.

Take a chance, and I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

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