Overcoming the Fear to be Seen

By Swaantje Wilts, 25

Growing up with overweight issues, I always feared being seen by others. But not too long ago I decided to follow my heart instead of my fear and signed up at a musical club in my hometown Hamburg, Germany - the 3rd most important musical city in the world after New York and London :)

Musicals have always been my passion. I’ve dreamed so many times of performing on stage, in front of hundreds of people, singing, dancing, smiling.

After a couple of months in the club, they offered me two tiny roles in a play which I gladly accepted. But when opening night came, fear struck again. I was nervous as hell and kept second-guessing myself. What if people would laugh at me? How would I look on stage? What if I trip and fall? What if I mess up my line? My mind was overwhelmed with insecurities. None of us were professional dancers, singers or actors, and a big part of our audience were friends and family. Still, I was so scared on that first show that I hardly remember anything.

However, I do remember the look on my dad’s face who usually never goes to the theatre. He was so proud of me that allowed me to feel proud of myself and understand that I had chosen my dreams over my fears.

I’ve now participated in three other plays with the same musical group, and I’ve learned that it’s not about my weight or how people perceive me, but about how I perceive myself. After our last play, our producer approached me and said: “Your charisma on stage will make people never forget you”. That helped me become more self-confident to a point where it has even helped me lose weight and enjoy everyday more being on stage.

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