I think I’m OK but I’m compulsively rubbing my lips together until all traces of the gloss I put on moments before the impromptu meeting are gone. It’s like this every time.
In high school I did a project with a friend, crafting Albert Einstein’s head from clay on the base of lamp so that when you plugged it in and turned it on his ideas would just be trapped there. I spent an inordinate amount of time getting his nose and cotton ball wisps of hair just right. My friend just let me.
The day of the presentation I sweat through the papers in my hand and couldn’t stop shaking. I swallowed my words and kept my eyes on my feet. My friend cracked jokes that made the whole class laugh and when the teacher handed back our grades and mine was much lower, I walked out.
In grade ten, when I ditched my glasses and made the transformation from geeky sidekick to leading lady, I promised myself that from now on, that’s who I would be—the girl that does less work but makes an impression, but it never materialized. I still put in the hours. I still toil behind the scenes. And I’m still the one that takes the cuts, gets the bad news meetings.
Here’s the part where I end on an optimistic high note.