This show has been going so well and now a small hiccup has sent me into a wave of anxiety.
“I’m only 17 years old and I’m in charge of this show, people are counting on me I don’t know what to do what should I do…”
I feel the tightening in my chest and know a panic attack is coming. I try to swallow it away, but it bubbles up just the same. I begin to pace.
My thoughts are racing and I’m having trouble breathing. I begin my usual compulsive tic to make the thoughts disperse: I tap each finger on my thumb and count obsessively. 1-2-3-4, 5-6-7-8, 9-10-11-12…
I get to 24 and start over. All the while I am pacing backstage waiting for a miracle to happen so that we can start the show.
My boyfriend at the time (G, my high school not-so-sweet-heart) is already in costume and is watching me with what I assume is annoyance and wonder. He walks over to me, grabs me by my forearms and…
He has slapped me in the face. I doubt it was the best or most loving of actions, but the shock it brought with it has worked. My head is clear. I exhale and go about the business of getting the show up and running.