Life Lessons from my Niece Nyla – 2


This is a photograph of my niece Nyla and I. She is one unique human being, and I don’t say this because I am biased. There are so many words I could use to describe her but I will stick to the context now.

Oh and if you are wondering about her shoddy hairstyle in this picture, she recently chopped off the front of her hair a few weeks ago as she did not like the way it was blocking her view. At the time did not have the patience to wait for her mom to take her to the hairdresser.

I have always been aware that Nyla is naturally talented when it comes to singing.  She is a born performer. This is something I have observed in her when she is as little as 2-3 years old. I love to sing and it used to be my dream as a child to learn music, learn to sing and perform in front of an audience. (That dream, I am still working on). When I hear Nyla sing, I am always in awe of her talent. She needs training but she is definitely gifted. She needs to listen to a song just once to be able to memorise the notes and reproduce it fairly accurate to the original. What is an effort for me, was a piece of cake for this young girl.

It was my cousin’s wedding a few days and this post has been inspired by an incident that happened at the wedding reception.  The reception was a huge event with hundreds of guests and also a live band. Towards the end of the event, the family put up some performances for the bride and groom. There were dance and singing performances by younger cousins and their children.  We were then given a wireless mic for anyone who wanted to do individual performances. As much as I imagined myself taking the mic and walking up the stage to sing a song, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. Too many negative voices, and wanted to save me the embarrassment and the awkwardness of failing miserably in front of many known and unknown faces.

Meanwhile, I sent for Nyla as she had been asking me all evening if she could sing too.

Nyla walked up to me to know why I had called for her. I asked her if she wanted to sing, She was excited by that question. She took the mic from my hand. I expected her to stand next time and quickly start singing. Instead, she took the mic and started walking confidently towards the stage. She stood right in the middle of the stage, looked at the audience and smiled.

And then,  in the sweetest voice, she said, “Good evening everything one!. My name is Nyla and today I am going to sing a song called Kanmani Anbodu Kathalan …… , If you like the song, then please tell me so, after I finish the song.

After that for the next few minutes, all that existed in her world are her music,  her love for singing and her pure joy of performing.

And during those minutes, time stood still for me. At that moment, my niece became my teacher. I was watching her in her presence and the impact she was having on the crowd. She enchanted them by just merely showing up as to who she was.  I could see it in their eyes, as they watched her in awe. She taught me a lesson in presence, of being in the moment and enjoying oneself rather than getting caught up in one’s fears. She taught me the beauty of vulnerability and innocence by simply introducing herself before she started singing.

And finally, when she finished, she looked up at the audience and paused for a few seconds, in anticipation.

“So, how did you like it?”  The loud applause said it all!

Another lesson learnt: know and value one’s worth. And don’t be afraid of acknowledgement.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer





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