“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Swollen, black and blue, broken
I again winced to put my big toe into my shoe.
Knowing that going on stage for my Irish jig,
I would have to put all of my weight on that toe five times,
And leap, kick, and lift to make my beats heard
All with the grace and confidence of a pain-free visage.

Trained to hide my discomfort
I stood up straight, brought my shoulders back,
And took my position to wait for the music to start.
Upon my first movement, I felt the gift of focus
Of being so enraptured with the task at hand
That the tenderness and pain evaporated away.
The insecurity of performing while incomplete vanished.
My mind became immune to the electrical impulses to stop and grimace,
And I made my beats heard in spite of the pain.

I don’t remember whether I stood on the podium that day,
But I do remember the pride in surprising myself
In hiding my insecurities
In exemplifying grace and confidence when it didn’t exist

I will continue to make my beats heard,
To become absorbed by tasks that inspire me.
Such that even while incomplete and insecure,
I will surprise myself.
I will embody grace and confidence.

— Meghan Murray