I stop your breathing
I make your knees wobble
I flutter around in your stomach
I make you cry, chanting in your ear,
“You won’t make it, nobody will like you, you shouldn’t even try.”
Your breathing goes back to normal.
You’re running, your strides strong and sure around the track
You’re laughing and smiling
What did I do wrong?
How are you not afraid of me?
How do you not believe the things I say
Was that a whisper? A murmur?
Who is that? Whose voice is sharing a space with me? They aren’t allowed in!
Whose presence is kicking me out? It can’t be Confidence. Can it?
I’m so overwhelmed by the constant, ever increasing presence of an emotion I don’t connect with that I am forced out.
Staring now from the outside I see a beautiful young woman making friends.
Her new high school teammates surrounding her.
After a hard move before her junior year, I was sure I could bring her down
Now I can see that my impact was small.
One moment of doubt and insecurity but that didn’t stop her from overcoming it.
Maybe I had a part in making her stronger
A year later and now she is surrounded by her teammates turned best friends.
Maybe I had a part in the growth of those friendships.
Maybe I can be a positive influence, at least it looks like I was for this young woman
in a subtle way, motivating her to build a community and connections through a sport she loves.