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Stage FrightMy heart is pounding so hard I can't breathe
The audience claps loudly
I know it's my turn next
I start to feel like I'm going to faint
I start to hope I will
My hands are shaking so hard...will I be able to play?
I sit down on the bench. I still can't breathe
Everyone is staring at me
What if I mess up?
I think I'll die if I do
I want to run away
I try to beat my fear
I picture everyone in their underwear but the image is shaking worse than my hands
I want to die right now
I began to play
I miss a note and my heart misses a beat
I miss another one
What if I forget my song?
I forget what comes next
I play the same line again then my fingers remember what my blank mind doesn't
The song goes on, even though I miss another note
I finish, shaking all over
Will I be able to stand up?
I forget to bow, but my face is burning and I run down the steps to my seat
My hands shake for days afterwords, but I did it.
I try to forget I'll have to do it all again next recital at Christmas
Teenage TaoismGiving birth is the closest I’d ever felt to dying.
Before that, my near death experiences had consisted only of my silent announcement of pregnancy—silent, being that my social media accounts were all deleted almost simultaneously and I never returned to school in the fall, saying without really saying that I had caught the malicious disease of “teenage pregnancy”. I’m sure the whisper spread in the hallways like the Bubonic Plague. That September, sitting at home on what would have been the first day of my senior year, I imagined friends I’d never talk to again saying “she was only seventeen, and so full of life!” at my absence in the cafeteria tables, as if they were attending my funeral instead of talking about me behind my back.
"Full of life," I had snorted then, folding a never ending stream of what had once been my own baby clothes. "Literally."
I walked around like a zombie for the months of my pregnancy, deciding t
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