They call me capable.
Someone they can count on.
They don’t see the subtle tremor of my hand as I fight to appear cool and confident. They don’t suspect the butterflies battling away to glory.
They see the girl they’ve mentored. The strong, silent one. Always ready with a helping hand or some kind of filing system.
They see the poise and the straightened shoulders.
They subconsciously catalog the ‘annual appraisal’ outfit I spent hours putting together.
They walk me through my shining moments and praise me for my calm demeanor during crucial meetings. They don’t suspect the incessant bathroom pep talks or the number of times I rehearsed those very meetings. They caution me about the areas I could improve on and their words echo every post-meeting performance breakdown I’ve had with myself.
They admire my cool nerves today, never suspecting the adrenaline coursing through my veins, snapping my spine straighter.
They cheerfully offer me a promotion, already charting my glorious growth within the company. They don’t see the nerves leap and grow. They chat about my bright future, not noticing my body coiling tighter.
This is going a lot better than I hoped. They see my potential and love the work I’ve been doing. The butterflies in my stomach dance along as I process their words, a smile gracing my lips.
As they chart my growth, I’m cataloging the work that lies ahead. The shortcuts I’ll need to stay on top of things. The pep-talks I’ll create. The backup systems I’ll employ to dilute the stress.
As the meeting winds down, the butterflies dance faster.
I gracefully stand up, thank them for everything and force my legs to walk out the door as the cacophony in my head gets louder.
The roar ebbs and flows as I chat with a few coworkers, steadily making my way to the bathroom for another pep-talk.
*Inspired by a Finish the Sentence Friday prompt – They call me…