Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Julian

As I stood awkwardly at the podium, nervously twirling the silver band on my thumb, I could feel the telltale signs of panic: shortness of breath, fluttering of the heart, flushed cheeks. I let out an involuntary gasp for air, and as it hung in the tense silence of the room, two potential avenues of escape crossed my mind: one which would involve jumping out a window, the other a test of my hand at feigning an illness. Realistically, I knew that I had to follow through with the audition, and I had my brother to blame for it.
Julian is a fifteen year old, Haight Ashbury, hippie incarnate, unique in everything from his dinner table rants to his neon colored style. Where he is bold and loud, I am shy and reserved. I am not one to seek the limelight and, while I won’t deny my predilection for clothing, I’m not one to make a standout fashion statement, or to argue a point in class, or to sing aloud. Julian on the other hand will stand up in history to defend the policies of Andrew Jackson. He’ll cite Kerouac and Ginsberg, quote Holden Caulfield, spew out some Nietzschean philosophy from time to time. Externally, it would appear as though Julian and I are oil and water, opposite ends of a spectrum, but internally I have found that we are actually quite similar. Julian embodies many of the values that I identify with: only he is outspoken in pursuing them, while I am more hesitant. For Julian, there are no limits because he chooses not to acknowledge them, and it is his absence of limitations, his bravery, that made me believe I could be courageous as well.
Standing there at the podium, it was more likely that I would either break down in tears, hurl, or choke, instead of being able to sing for my acapella tryout. I cursed Julian for talking me into it and imagined myself back at home, sprawled out on the couch watching Seinfeld, with a Cup O noodles in one hand and a black coffee in the other. I was singing ‘Santa Baby’ for my audition, a provocative song choice which I was quickly starting to regret. My only consolation came in the form of the very words that had prompted me to tryout: “Prove to yourself, not others, what you can be.” Over and over again it played in my head, the voice of my brother, calming me, telling me that I had nothing to fear, that nothing could stop me except my own perceptions of myself.
Mrs. Carol, the chorus instructor, gave me ‘the nod’, the cue prompting me to sing. I stood there dumbly for a few seconds, looking right back at the amused judges. I had conveniently forgotten the first line. The momentary numbness turned to shock, and Mrs. Carol, correctly interpreting the bug-eyed expression on my face, fed me the words “Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,” in a sympathetic ‘sing song’ voice. Despite my shaky start, as I began to sing, I found that no longer was I feeling timid and fearful, but that being in the limelight, if only for a minute, was actually fun. I felt a measure of pride in myself, not for performing perfectly, but for mustering the courage to perform in the first place.
Now in the whole scheme of things, my acapella tryout may not appear to be a huge deal. For me though, it was a step, a small but distinct step, towards having the courage to live my life in the absence of my perceived limits, a step towards becoming that person who dares to take a stand in class, who does wear bright colors, wanting, demanding to be noticed. Julian has shown me that you can never live in fear of judgment, rejection, or failure. So, “if you care about something, you have to protect it --. If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it,” (A Prayer for Owen Meany). Julian has helped me find my courage. He has made me a better person, and for that my admiration for him is as limitless as he is.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback