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.
Chief operating officer.
Senior legal counsel.
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