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Something I feared most turned into a side hustle

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Tue, 25 Apr 2023 Source: Adjei Boakye

Science birthed my inquisitive mind, but unfortunately, in my senior high school days, the English language couldn't nurture this genuine curiosity, as literature did for the venerable Agya Koo Nimo. The root of this passion couldn't receive enough water, and out of fear, some dreams were prematurely aborted.

In my third year of senior high school, I had an encounter with my English Language Tutor, who is affectionately called "Ooo No." I wondered how he got this name and was curious to know the meaning or story behind it. Our encounter was a blessing. The wise counsel and belief he had in me, and the motivational words he poured onto my soul that day, remain a turning point for my writing skills.

The irreplaceable moment I shared with him in the hallway of the science block ignited my dying spirit and interest in the English language. It was a last-minute preparation for the WASSCE (World War II). I cried aloud to heaven to save a situation, especially the English language, a subject I've admitted I'm weak at, a subject I've hated all my life, a subject I've received all forms of punishment to improve upon, a subject I feared.

So one afternoon, after our last oral English text (mock exams), I approached this teacher to express my phobia—how I developed it and the steps I took to turn things around. He understood my language, my fright, and my unprovoked hatred toward his subject. I explained why sometimes I spend his lesson hours in the washroom and how all these sicknesses were faked just to skip his class. It was a hard moment, but his being a father figure to all his students saved the occasion.

He asked me tons of questions about the number of years this has been hurting me and the harm it has caused. I opened up and poured out my fears. Looking back, some of the things I uttered couldn't have made sense today, but he was down to my level to understand certain things that were outlined. His words were striking, thoughtful, and encouraging. "Oo No" gave me all that I needed to turn things around. All that a "fearo" wanted to do was do away with his fears.

This priceless encounter saved a dying spirit; increased my interest and passion for writing and public speaking, and has guided my footsteps for all these years. His words were profound and spirit-filled. Since then, I've managed to become both my worst critic and my most ardent enthusiast as far as writing is concerned.

I've never wanted to be perfect, though, in my formative years, I was convinced that perfection might be within reach for a person who committed himself or herself wholeheartedly to any activity. It was an excellent moment that was worth our time and energy.

The man whose face and voice I found hope to push further. I discovered myself. A subject and skill that were tormentors have become a newfound love.

A new love that pays bills and puts food on the desk Thank you, "oo no!"

Columnist: Adjei Boakye