Tag Archive: poem


FEAR! That nauseating, choking feeling- that niggling sense of dread that you feel in the deepest, darkest corners of your mind. It makes your hairs stand on edge. It causes your heart to palpitate to abnormal proportions, causing you to feel your pulse resonate around your entire body. You are left with shivering with shockwaves of emptiness.

You feel numb, cold and alone.

You feel your blood pumping to your head, while sirens resound around your body. Your muscles stiffen. You feel sick to your stomach. Your pupils dilate to trace the location of your attacker. You can’t see anything- but you KNOW something is there, lurking in the shadows to get you, to bring you to your impending doom.

Your mind breeds these monsters, and the monsters thrive and feast on your fear. It’s claustrophobic, and you can feel yourself free falling into a bottomless pit…

Monique Simpson


We all suffer from it at some point in our lives. It’s that feeling that you get when you step out of your comfort zone and into ‘the unknown’. We know it’s an irrational feeling, as we’ve all heard Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

But still, that fear is a beast of a thing, and it stops us from living our lives to the fullest and from experiencing new things. The ‘what ifs’ keep popping into our heads, and as Samah Khan, a poet, aptly states: “The fear of fearing fear is overwhelming.”

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? You’ve probably left behind in January, right? Well, ditch the unrealistic fads and try something different, today. Face your fears.

It’s not easy, believe you, me. I’ve actually just realised how much of a scaredy cat I am. You’ve probably realised this in a couple of my blog posts.

Up until a few years ago, for the life of me, I used to veer away from getting contact lenses because I feared anything going anywhere near my eyes. I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually took the plunge to get them, and I kid you not, it took me, and the optician, two whole hours, to put in and take out one pair of lenses. I just couldn’t allow the lady’s finger near my eyeball. I blinked her, and my, efforts away. I had to grip and dig my nails into my hand to stop myself from blocking her with my arm.

I screamed in my head: ‘What are you doing???? Noooooo, stop it. Stop it, right now!’ My eyes were wide open and they blinked furiously, as if I had an eyelid spasm. I’m sure I made a right spectacle of myself, and I’m sure that the optician wasn’t a major fan of me by the end of it. But I did it.

Now I can’t imagine what all the fuss was about, although from time to time my contact lenses do ‘play up’ (e.g. it takes me longer than usual to put them in) and I do make that funny face, because I panic a little. But’s it’s all part of the process, I guess.

I have to say, although I am making progress in some areas in my life, there are some things that still send a shiver down my spine. Bees/wasps are one of them. I can’t stand them, and I really do blame the film My Girl for making me feel like this. I used to be fine when I was a kid until I saw that film. How do I know I’m not allergic to them, and will die a horrible death like the boy in the film? I have no idea how I’ll get over them, apart from maybe being stung, but that’s something I do not deliberately want to happen. Don’t suggest that I go to a bee farm either, thanks.

One thing I am working on at the moment is swimming. I am quite embarrassed to say that I am taking lessons at this stage of my life, when I used to have lessons at school. My excuse why I didn’t learn back then is because my swimming teacher used to scare the life out of me, for stupid reasons I can tell you later if you’re interested. I am noticing an improvement though. For me, progress is swallowing slightly less water than the week before. Well that was until this week’s lesson, when I swam for the whole lesson without floats and was attempting to breathe properly.

Do face your fears, you’ll find out that you won’t regret it, and you’ll feel a lot more liberated. Easier said than done, I know.

space jump

Felix Baumgartner talked about how his spacesuit made him feel claustrophobic

I don’t usually do this, because sometimes I think it’s cheesy, and it makes me cringe, but I thought I’d leave you with some encouraging quotes to spur you into action:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”


“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

“Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can!! And I will!!”


“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”

Eleanor Roosevelt



The above video*- it looks quite gross, but it’s funny, right? The seemingly innocent situation, the sweat, their faces.

Well, I have a confession. I am that guy, sometimes. Not that I’m a part-time guy, or that I suffer from sweat patches or premature sweating, or pull frog-like faces in front of guys I’m interested in, I hope. But sometimes, I can get quite nervous when speaking to someone I fancy.

I thought I had left those adolescent days behind me:

  • I shouldn’t avoid eye contact, glaring at the floor with my eyes wide open, like some crazy woman,
  • I can’t laugh hysterically and loudly like I’m on drugs at every-single-thing the person says, to the point where the guy is deafened,
  • I can’t literally runaway and hide behind a bush or a tree to recuperate anymore after having the smallest of small-talk conversations with ‘that guy’,
  • I can no longer ‘playfully’ punch a guy’s arm until he bruises,
  • and despite what some people think, in particular my sister’s ex-lecturer, I can blush, fool, in particular when I have red wine, but I should stop blushing and grinning like a cheshire cat in these types of situations.

I can’t do any of these things anymore because, you know, I’m a BIG woman now, dammit! I am smooth, suave and sophisticated. Well, I’m not really, but I can lie to myself, right? This illusion was dispelled when I went to a spoken word event.

So, I was sitting down in the basement of a pub with the lights dimmed down low, conversing with my cousin, when a particularly handsome guy caught my eye. He’s one of the night’s performers. His words, and his stature, were quite mesmorising as he bared his soul, or someone else’s soul, for all to see. *bites fist and mimics crying*

My cousin said: “He’s alright.” He’s “alright”???!!!

So anyway, the event finished, and I worked the room with my networking skills, as best as I could, anyway. And you know, it was going fine, until I got to ‘him’.

I confidently flagged him down from across the room. Ok, so maybe he was just a few paces away from me.

‘Ok, Monique, think of something deep and meaningful to say,’ I told myself.

“I er… really liked your… er… poems?” I said in what must have been the faintest of voices. I personally thought what I’d said had boomed around the room.

“Sorry?” he replied.

‘Oh. My. Days. He was one of the poets, right?… It was him- he DID recite his poems, just speak a bit louder,’ I said to myself.

“Your poems- I really liked them,” I exclaimed.

“Thank you,” he beamed, but I could tell he was thinking: ‘What is this little girl on?’

Awkward silence.

I struggled to recall a poem- just one of his poems, or even what I liked about his set in general, but the rush of blood to my head prevented me from thinking clearly.

For networking purposes, I usually ask for some sort of contact details. But I decided to ask for this instead:

“Do you have a website?” I said, with a bit more confidence now.

“Yes it’s blah, blah, blah”, and he proceeded to write it in my phone, which I had just handed to him.

“Thanks. And your gigs, they’re all listed on there, right?”

“Yes they are.” He said something else, but my mind just went blank, so I can’t recall what was said. The word ‘go’ kept resounding in my head.

“Ok, thanks. Bye,” I said, and I bolted towards my cousin. I spoke to a few more people, and then we left.

Just before we left, another of the night’s poets was particularly popular, and a throng of giggling girls surrounded him in their dozens.

‘Grow a pair, you groupies,’ I said, to myself.

So, to take my own advice, I must grow a pair… of female… balls… That sounded a lot better in my head. Meh.


*I do not endorse the use of Lynx to increase your confidence when speaking to the opposite sex. The ‘Lynx effect’ is just a clever marketing ploy, and is one I wish I had thought of to make me filthy rich.

A strong woman respects and values herself highly. When it comes to beauty she is content with herself and accepts what others may see as ‘flaws’. She doesn’t feel the need to conform to other people’s perceptions of beauty. She doesn’t need to follow the latest fashion trend, if it means it would put her out of pocket. She doesn’t need to eat, or not eat, in order to gain, or lose, weight to attain “that” certain body shape, if it means damaging herself inside and making herself sick. She doesn’t feel paranoid and feel the need to cake herself in makeup just to attract that guy, because she knows sooner or later the mask has to come off, so what will happen then?

Instead she knows her real beauty lies in her confidence- it’s alluring and she oozes appeal. It cloaks her with a sexy elegance that lasts far longer than that £12,000 à la mode red designer dress. She embraces her unique personality.

A strong woman is passionate about something- she loves what she is doing. Whenever you hear her explain it, or you see her in action, it somehow becomes infectious. She is driven and has goals. She has the courage to make things happen, to step out into the unknown. She knows what she wants and doesn’t listen to naysayers. But she also knows to listen when wisdom speaks, because those words help her to find a better path to achieve those goals.

She is always striving towards something. She is forever learning and expanding her horizons.

She learns from her past mistakes and uses her bad experiences to make her stronger. She realises it’s ok to cry and to get angry when she’s hurt- she’s just getting it our of her system, it’s a process- but then she also knows when it’s time to forgive, let go, and move on, because at the end of the day she is freeing herself from “mental slavery”.

A strong woman knows there is a season for everything- to cry, to laugh, to be silly, to be solemn, to lead, to be led, to stand up, and to hold her tongue.

A strong woman possesses an inner strength. It’s something she is not entirely aware of until it kicks in when her world is turned upside down. Against all odds, despite all the mess, noise and chaos that’s happening around her, she manages to find moments of peace. When situations rock her to her core, she still manages to push on, even if it’s just by barely crawling. Her faith in herself, or in something higher, is her foundation.

She knows that independence doesn’t mean that she is alone, that she has to be defensive or aggressive. She knows she is not an island. She opens up to people and makes herself vulnerable. She admits when she’s wrong, and asks for help when she needs it. She recognises that she needs friends- friends who are there for her, to help her, comfort her, encourage her, to build her up, to speak life into her life, to ignite her inner being. She understands the value in this, and does the same for others as well.

She is not headstrong, boastful, or proud. She doesn’t need to brag about her accomplishments, because her actions speak for her. She rises above petty situations, but in no way does it make her superior. In fact, these sort of scenarios humble her, because it forces her to draw strength from her reserves. She also eventually realises that everyone has their weak points, and falls. She is humble and there is a certain grace about her.

This specimen of a strong woman, I’m afraid, is fictional. She is, in fact, a combination of several women I am fortunate enough to know. But do you see aspects of yourself in her?

Happy International Women’s Day!