It was June 2013 when I first told the world
the doctors were wrong. I’m not a girl.
I said it from the stage, the educator’s way;
then I stepped down as my entire life changed.
When I think of fear I think of success,
of turning points where there’s no going back.
Of my first Open Mic when I forgot my own words,
yet people cheered and I still was heard.
The deepest fear I’ve ever felt on stage
was the end of a festival, the day I told my best mates,
“I am male. I want to go by James.
Respect it or not, it is still my name.”
See, none of the musicians I spoke to knew,
and when the camera turned off, my shaking grew.
I didn’t expect the hugs and encouragement.
They admired my strength, and I’m better for it.
I keep seeking the stage to fight my fear,
and two years later, I’m still here;
my own books in my hands, words on my tongue.
They’re how I fight back, written, spoken, or sung.
But I no longer fight alone.