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When Anxiety Convinces Me I Don't Belong


Leather executive chairs are set around the square conference table.

I feel them staring at me when I walk into the room.

I can hear them whispering in my head.

Who is she? (She’s not one of us.)

Why is she here? (What could she possibly contribute?)

I am surrounded.

They’re still looking at me. (Where could she have come from?)

All of them thinking the same thing.

I don’t fit in.

The women perfectly coiffed with blonde hair.

The men in custom suits.

My black curly hair is big.

My dress, short.

The silver bracelets I chose so carefully stand out against their Cartier and Ebel.

Their titles:

Chief operating officer.

Senior legal counsel.

Owner.

President.

Senior executive.

With their with MBAs, JDs and PhDs.

Why am I here?

I try to shrink into myself.

The mania that comes with my ups and downs (they’re a package deal) makes me want to talk.

To be heard.

But my anxiety tells me I have nothing to contribute.

I want to disappear.

Because I can hear their voices.

Whispering that I don’t belong…

even when I have a seat at the table.

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Photo via Unsplash, by Samuel Zeller