I see nothing. Its dark and the lights are glaring in my face, a superb contradiction. I see nobody but I know there are others besides myself, many others beneath the darkness. Music starts and my throat dries instantly. I am afraid nothing will come out when I open my mouth. I can feel eyes and whispers and shifting bodies and electricity all waiting for me. Now its exciting, frightening but exciting. I feel smaller than the pebble in my converse. Like I'm the shell on the beach and the crowed is the tsunami. I dont know what to do with my body because I'm not acting Im just singing, so my body feels awkward. I decide to just not think about my body and whatever it does, it does. I cant see them but I know my fellow Journey East participants are getting ready for the next act in the room behind me. but right now I'm the dancing monkey, the star. Its summer and humid. I can feel the heat bouncing off of the crowed and manifesting itself on my face and neck. I try to breath evenly and make myself relax, but I feel uncomfortable. I'm the center of attention, and that feeling never resonated with me. I hear crumpeling of paper and coughing. In a single moment I feel; panic, diminutive, jittery, awkward, alone. And then its gone and I'm as comfortable as I ever hope to be. Almost like silk my insecurities fall to the floor and its just me and a mic. I've never been so comfortable on stage before this, I've never felt like I could sing up there forever, until now. Previously plauged by stage fright, always feeling abashed to flaunt my talents as though I suffered from severe modesty and ashamed I had a voice other people didnt, I now see myself in a brand new light. Nearly hopeless to try and describe, the split second I shed my inferiority I began a subtle transformation that would effect me for the rest of my life im sure. No longer constantly wondering if I'm being judged, no longer coming up with comebacks to protect my teetering self confidence. Like there were a demon I spent my whole life nursing to health and then one day, it was simply gone. I spent so much time and felt the weight of the demon so long the prospect of it leaving just never crossed my mind, until the second it did. And then I start to sing. I'm suprised at how easily it comes, almost not sure if that is me. I can feel confidence eminating from every pore in my body. And for the first time in my entire life I can say that was the very first time I genuinly sang.