False Confidence

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Breathing has never helped with this sort of thing. Nothing ever does. It is always a roller coaster of stress that happened the week before an important event. One I willingly ride because it’s always fun afterwards.

I willingly step up to the boarding platform, in excitement. I pull on the restraints. Not until the dispatch of the ride does the dread fill my body. The sound of the chain lift hill going up as the days pass. I feel okay at the beginning, but it just grows. I have already done everything I could possibly do to get ready for this. I know why I do what I do, and the fact I have signed up for this. Keep going over what I know obsessively, keep working at the music, or in this case, the presentation.

Now it is four days before the event, and something I’ve worked on for months still isn’t good enough for myself. The car is climbing higher and higher into the air. The logical part of me knows I’m prepared, it knows that I’ve done everything I could do to be ready but it’s still not good enough, not close enough to perfect. It’s not as important as I’ve built it up to be in my mind. I know that, but I still can’t shake the screaming building in my chest. I know this feeling will only grow more and more intense, until the minute I walk into that room.

The director knows me and he put his trust in me to do this. I’ve worked on containment of this SCP for months. I still review the document, continuing to read everything I can get my hand on. Knowing my presentation inside and out, the little intricacies on what needs to be done. What we’re asking for.

I’m so afraid some stupid detail will slip my mind and will cause everything to be destroyed. I need to keep working on it, no matter how much I’m sure I’m ready. Even if it’s almost too late to do anything for it.

It's not that I'm not prepared. I am, and I know I am! It's the fact that no matter what, the fear of failure lingers in my mind. The fear that it’s not good enough. It pulls at threads that don't need to be pulled and makes me believe the what-ifs. The belief I will never be good enough. The fear that the second I step up my mind will grow blank and I will forget everything I've worked so fucking hard towards these last few months. That I will stumble over words, like notes in a song I've missed a beat of. That I will come out of that room less than satisfied. It's not that I'm unprepared. I could be considered over-prepared, but the anxiety still lingers in my mind.

I take a breath and hold it in. I puff my chest out and listen to the sound of my thudding heart. I’m great, I’m absolutely amazing and I can do this! I always go through this. I go through the same things going through my mind, trying so desperately to make it silent save for my own confidence. We’re a click away from the top of the lift hill, just before the pause to stare down the rest of the coaster. My only option is to shove on some form of false confidence and act as though I own the place.

Because I do.

It sounds overly self-indulgent, but the need to build myself up just before going to the violent bloodbath in my mind is ever-present. My chest is so heavy, it feels as though I’ll sink right through the floor. I am more than determined to shove these obnoxious feelings out of my mind and body. I keep going, starting my walk down the hall. The presentation and accompanying speech playing through my mind. It’s like I’m staring down the roller coaster with one last satisfying click.

I hold my breath as the hairs on my arms and legs stand on end. I feel every inch of my body but it doesn’t feel like mine. Every negative feeling builds a castle in my chest. The stress and anxiety threatening to spill over. It rips at my heart and lungs and grows bigger. It keeps pushing until everything goes silent the moment I introduce myself. I can feel my entire body shake underneath my weight but it subsides almost immediately.

The roller coaster drops from its highest point.

The false confidence gaining momentum, until it turns to real confidence. At the moment it begins, everything falls into place. It wrecks everything they built inside of me, freeing me from their sickening grasp.

The moment it begins, I’m not me. I’m not talking, it’s someone else. I mean, they’re still me, but it’s not me talking. Every word flows from me, and the feeling of relief is overwhelming. I say each word clearly, not stumbling over anything as the car flies through tight inversions and loops.

I know where this goes, and the memories of the word I said last are slipping from my brain. It’s a constant process of tearing myself apart to be built back up again. I love the feeling of air time from my work. It always spills over into pride the moment it begins.


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