I am a fraud. I am a FRAUD. Iamafraudimafraud. The words race through my head as I sit, waiting, for my second job interview, my confidence disintegrated by the rejection from my first interview.
I am a fraud, that part of my brain chants over and over again—so many times that I believe it. I try to think of something else; I try to get that part of my brain to change its chant.
What if they figure out that I am a broken teacher? That I am not sure if I can fix myself? That there is a good chance that I’ve always been broken and I am only figuring it out now? The chant is gone, but the doubt still tumbles around in my head.
Fingers clench, clammy, twisting and turning. My breathing comes fast and shallow. It needs to slow. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7—stop! If I start counting, I won’t be able to stop. My fingers twitch, wanting to tap out the rhythm of the numbers. Stop!
I focus on the feeling of inhaling, lungs expanding. Exhaling, lungs compressing. Breathe in, 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out, 1, 2, 3, 4. I focus on the air instead of the numbers. My pulse slows down, calming some of my anxiety. Breathe 1, 2, 3, 4. My hands start to settle, moths instead of mosquitos.
“Come on in and let’s get started.”
With a final deep breath, I wipe my hands on my pants, put on my best “I’m awesome” smile—the one that hides my fear—and follow him into the conference room.