I wake up scared.

What if that was the only story I had to tell?

I go through the pages, try to see if some part of me was left unscrutinized, untouched, unwritten.

I see all of me, lying naked within my own words, and I feel a shudder shoot from my brain to my feet, dragging my heart along with it to the bottom. I see all of my tricks, my best lines, my best paragraphs, my best punch lines, and the thought sinks into my stomach once again.

What if this was the only story I had to tell?

I open a blank page and start writing. Urgently, anxiously, carelessly (or as carelessly as my obsessive thoughts let me).

I soon become stuck.

No, I’ve used this expression before, I’m sure of it.

I’ve written about this a million times.

Who the fuck even wants to hear the same old sad story again?

A million people have written this story before, and most of them did it better than I ever can.

I become consumed with the idea that my words can now only echo things that I’ve already written, feelings that I’ve already felt, and ideas that I’ve already used up. My alliterations seem forced and my metaphors feel like nauseating clichés.

My mind closes itself from the inside out and I’m left strangling in the chokehold of my own insecurities.

I can’t write. I never could. I just tricked myself into thinking that.

The plethora of things I have left to tell dissolves itself in my fear and I close. From myself, from the world.

I’ll try again tomorrow. I swear I will. But right now I can’t.

I save the text file with three and a half sentences and don’t bother to name it anything that makes sense. I consider maybe drinking a little before my next attempt, just to make the words flow more easily.

That consideration is quickly followed by the awareness that if I have to be drunk to be able to do something, it probably just isn’t the right time to do it.

I close the file and return to filling my brain with someone else’s content. Someone else’s words. Someone else’s stories.

I’ve been told I’m good at this. I’ve felt I was good at this. I know I’m good at this. So why don’t I feel it?

Diana Cavadas