As the sun rose the next morning I felt different, more self-assured and more relaxed for some reason. Unbeknownst to me at the time I was transformed. As I prepared to go to school I had no thought or feeling of fear or dread. I was not even aware of not having the fear because it was completely gone. Even the memory of my previous experiences was wiped clean. One sentence from Malcolm’s writings resonated in my emotional body and thoughts: “You blonde haired blue eyed devils when you were living in caves in Europe we were Kings and Queens with great civilizations in Africa….”
An Ancient Battle Cry
When I arrived to my school that dreaded fear came back. I stopped at the entrance frozen in fear once again my heart beating fast faster and faster. Just then a new thought reached up and grabbed me. I looked for the bully I previously tried so hard to avoid and all the blond haired boys and girls and the thought written by Malcolm X came back to me slightly altered: “You blond haired, blue eyed devils, when we Hellenes were measuring the distance between the earth, the moon and the sun your ancestors were still living in caves in northern Europe”.
With that thought resonating in my head like an ancient battle cry, I walked slowly through the schoolyard. I felt like Moses crossing the Red Sea as I witnessed the crowd of fellow students’ part to let me through. Maybe it was the way I walked, or the way I held my head high or they could sense my presence and make way for me to pass. Even the rhythm of my gate had shifted. I walked slowly with my head held high without fear in my heart.
Walking Across the Sea of Fear
The bully looked at me, our eyes met, and he simply turned away. It was as if he did not even recognize me. I felt like I had all the time in the world. I was late to my class for the first time ever. From that day on I started being the last to arrive to my classes because I developed a habit of walking very slowly with my head high.
Rumble in the Jungle
During the lunch break the bully came up to me in the hallway surrounded by his friends and told me that he would beat me up at the end of the school day in the yard. When school finished I tried to delay my exit but he did not leave when I walked out into the schoolyard he was there waiting with all his friends. My heart suddenly started beating faster and I was engulfed by the dreaded fear once again. Just as quickly the thought; “the blond haired blue eyed devils” rose up again. My heart stopped beating fast I became calm and walked towards him. Quickly we were encircled by his friends and other students who came out to see the fight. He put his fists up and started to jab punches in the air.
I just stood there with my arms to the side just looking at him. I felt like Mohammad Ali standing there with my arms by my side as he was advancing. As he edged closer and closer the students began to yell for me to fight him. Others were screaming at him to knock me out. Suddenly I felt my fists clench tight and as I raised my arms into a fighting position I looked straight into his eyes. Adrenalin started to flow through my veins and I began to feel like a volcano that was about to explode. Seeing my face turn beet red and my eyes filled with anger he took a couple of steps back. Back then I used to race in the 100-yard dash, and was gifted with an explosive start; so my strategy was to run at him and knock him down and kick him so he cannot get up again. Just as I was about to bolt forward, someone yelled “teacher, teacher” and all the kids ran away. I did not move. I was left standing there alone with my fists up.
Adrenalin our Secret Source of Power
The adrenalin was still gushing through me. This was the first time I felt adrenalin as fight instead of a flight response. At that moment, I realized that adrenalin is a neutral energy you can use it to run away or to stay and fight. This may be an obvious conclusion now, but at that time it was revelation to me personally. Adrenalin became my secret little friend; that adrenalin could be a way to courage and not an expression of terror. The only time I felt adrenalin rushing through me previously was when I was scared. As I began to calm down the biggest bully in the school walked up to me and said; “That idiot has been bothering you for a while, but don’t worry take a walk with me in the yard and no one will bother you again.” He was a Greek boy who had failed a couple of grades, and he was almost twice as big as any other kid in school. The previous month he had kicked a kid in the head a few times, knocked out his teeth and broke his jaw. I told him I am fine I am not afraid anymore. “If anybody bothers you again, or you need anything just let me know” he said as he walked away. “I am okay now don’t worry” I told him as I walked away. I met him many years later and was pleasantly surprised to find out he graduated law school and had just passed his bar exam.
That blond haired blue-eyed kid never bothered me again and nor did anyone else. In fact, since that incident, bullies have consistently taken a liking to me. I realized then that bullies only attack when they smell fear. Deep down they are cowards. They are filled with doubt of their own talent and intelligence. Tortured by their own sense of weakness and sense of failure, they attack the ones that seem weak, scared, or helpless. Ever since then I have faced life’s challenges and also many threats to my personal safety whether it was by a bully, a gang, or military, alone and unaided.
All change happens on the inside first and it becomes visible by its effects on the environment. Internal change is easily perceived because it bypasses the eye balls that seek the familiar, the known and the easily understood and categorized. Internal change is like the wind whose presence can be perceived by seeing the branches and leaves on a tree sway back and forth. The stronger the change, the more obvious its effects and more obvious the response from your environment will be. The unfamiliar site of an individual standing up for him-self or for others seems to be a fear inducing spectacle even to the hardened bullies. How long would it have taken and how much effort would need to be spent in order to intimidate everyone in your environment? Physical threats are powerless when confronted with a resolutely inspired and driven individual. The bullies will simply fade away. Bullies reside in our nightmares and fears. They are not real. They have only the power that you give them. If you can give it — then you can also take it away. Be like the wind and blow them all away!
Your choice, make it a passionate one and make it felt across the universe. Embrace what interests you and make it your occupation. Become friends with your physical existence and retrain your body so it can function in the most excellent way without pain or sense of limitations.
Originally published at medium.com