A heaviness drops to the stomach.
A constriction tightens the throat.
A sense of doom, dread, worry consumes,
and echoes throughout my limbs,
whispering lies in my mind.
You will fail. It says.
You can’t. It says.
Who do you think you are? It says.
When fear attacks—
It’s best to approach it gently,
but answer it back right away-
Lest it fester
producing stinging tears
that drown away my smile.
The muscles in the corners of my lips
must be strong.
A smile is my sword,
to slice through the draining energy
engulfing me in wet cement.
A fake smile is better than none.
An imaginary sword
to fight imaginary truths.
Fake it til you make it. I repeat
over and over and over again,
willing the sore muscles aching in my cheeks
to keep holding up