Why I am not afraid to die

How I feel lately

A lot happened since I came around here.

I turned 31 and I am scared to death.

Let’s start with my turning 31.

It was the most awkward birthday ever. I got lost on a pirogue on a lake in a remote place of Benin. In the dark. No traffic signals, nothing. We were about 6 on the pirogue and some were scared to death. And I was dead laughing. It was so funny to me. Then one of the guys asked me If I was not afraid to die. I forgot about my answer until today. I was listening to Comes to the light by Jill Scott and it reminded me of myself. Who I was, who I am today and who I want to be. Anyway, that one will be for another post.

I told him I was not afraid to die. I told him it was nothing to me. At least the last couple of years were the best of my whole existence, I lived on my own terms, and if I was to die on my birthday on that day, it would be the happiest thing that could happen. I would die with no major achievement, but already experienced what true happiness is to me.

I never knew I was not scared of death. Actually I thought I was. And I realise not being afraid of death is so liberating. I will be ok dying now. I am ok dying tomorrow. But one thing for sure is I would not be ok dying from the day I was born to July 2015. My life was… everything I don’t want it to be. Ever. That’s the major thing I took with me from my birthday. I know I am ok with the self I am today.

I said I turned 31 and I am scared to death.

I am scared of three things.

The first one is I don’t care anymore. I literally don’t care anymore. It is difficult for me to “feel some stuff” again. In the past month I lost two people I thought were essential to my mental balance. A friend and a “more than a friend”. No, they are not dead, don’t worry. They are just gone. I feel relieved. Not hurt, not sad, just relieved. Not that they were not important to me but I came to understand that life is made of stages and people are meant to hold my hand through some stages, or even only one, and when their mission is completed, they just have to go. Just as nature (or themselves) will kick me out of other people’s life once my mission is over.

The fact that I didn’t feel anything about them leaving scared me. A friend told me I am becoming ice cold. I am ok with that. It’s scary, but I am ok with that. Why? Because it is necessary. People (and things) will always come and go, and I cannot afford to be crusehd each time a stage or whatever is completed. But I am still scared. I think it makes no sense. Not even to me.

The second thing is sticking to my decision of dropping everything to dedicate my time, reflexion and creativity to my citizen media Elle Citoyenne. Someone told me today about the possibility of becoming a senior translator at The Hague. I said no without thinking twice. Two years ago I would have dropped everything just for that opportunity. It was my dream back in translation school. Today I would not do that even for the world.

My fear has nothing to do with me failing. My fear is about what if my decision was not the good one. I know exactly waht I want. Make people more willing to participate in the well-being of their communities, advocating for the necessity of citizen participation. But what if…

I was listening today to Oussama Ammar who was talking about the difference between persistence and obstination. Persistence is when you are ready to do everything possible to translate your goal into reality. Obstination is when you cling to a worthless idea no matter what. What if my idea was worthless? The problem here is there is nothing to measure the relevance of a project. It is all about trials and errors, success and failure. I guess I will know in a few years if I was right being scared today.

The third thing is what I am fearing the most. Change. I already told you guys about that.

What I was doing with Elle Citoyenne seemed to be ok with some people, but not with me. I cannot limit myself to some people. I dream too big for that. My plans are too big for that. I need more. And from what I learned from personal experience, me needing more means me having to do more.

If I want that media to fulfill its mission, I need to think bigger and act bolder. You guys know I want to build the new kind of citizen Huffington Post media. Except that now even the Huffington Post is not big enough for me anymore. And I need my moves to match my ambitions. I will not be number one with my message reaching some people only. I need more. I have to do more.

So I closed the website and started back from scratch. With a grown up strategy I dedicated a whole month to. A whole month doing nothing else but strategising. Asking myself what I should do to give “more”. To do “more”. For my initiative to be “more”.

I am very happy I was able to do that, to destroy my project for it to come back different and more useful. For it not to be mine only anymore, for people with the same goal to join and inject their creativity.

I changed everything . No. I added many things and threw away what was not working but that I was foolishly clinging to. And I wanted it to be perceptible, so even the website and the logo are different now. It is a a rebirth actually. For the media and for me as an individual. I feel more… more. I feel simply “more”, if that makes sense. And I am so happy and proud about that.

And then fear came into the picture. What if…

What if people do not like it? What if it was a bad idea? What if I shouldn’t have done it? What if it is now too big for me to deal with? What if…

Oussama Ammar said something else in the video I watched today. He said the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is quite simple. Those who succeed translate their fears into something relevant, important, bigger than them.

I am 31 and scared to death.

What I am going to do is to leverage on these fears to be able to move forward and do great. Always.

Hello, my name is Befoune and I am scared. Clap to this if ou have ever felt that way too. And clap for this too if it is not the case. I need you to cheer me. For real.

Since I am adorable, here is the video I am talking about. I hope you guys will enjoy it as much as I did. It is in French though, I hope it will be ok.