Sometimes I wonder what others could be thinking of me. My dress, how I carry myself, I find myself counting breaths rather than listening to who I’m talking to. Dragged into this strange hyper-aware state where I can’t help but smooth my blouse, lick my lips as I suddenly realize how dry they are, and I’m aware of my breathing, the tapping of my heel that echoes in my ears and the fact that I’m probably blinking too much.

Other times, I remind myself that I don’t care what other people think and I’m above all this.

These are the two settings I have, there is no in-between.

Throughout my life, I find it hard to find the grey. The balance of anything really.

For some, they call balance what is most needed in life. To find a balance of work and fun, of a social life and that calming alone time, even in the cases of say, a balanced diet.

Even when I was young, I tried to keep everything not only in balance but under my control – an obviously impossible feat. Unable to come to terms with having a close friend to entrust with multiple secrets, I’d have distant friends, each having a topic I’d talk to about. This person for if I was grounded yet again, this person for my trifling issues of day-to-day life, another for if my parents were arguing – it become manageable quickly.

And even then, I couldn’t help but continually justify every unneeded action to myself. The what ifs became certainties unless I did this very so specifically. I had to tell this person only about this because if they betray my friendship then they’ll only have this rumor about me not knowing how to swim to spread about me. That if I didn’t tell them at this specific time then everyone would be watching and listening and know that I’m really afraid of touching bugs because I get that feeling of bugs crawling on my skin all the time.

Looking back on it now, I can obviously wave it all off as childhood stupidity that I over-exaggerated to myself but that would be just ignoring history as it repeats itself again. I can’t help but fear that if I lose this imaginary grip I have on my life that it’ll fall apart and everyone will see and know. It’s so much like the feeling of the tiniest pimple on your forehead being gigantic to everyone around you and everyone is waiting for it to burst.

My mind lacks brake switch to turn off the thoughts that populate my train of thought. Yet for some reason, despite the trouble it gives me from every caught breath I lose thinking that someone noticed the smallest stain of ketchup on my pants that I’m hiding with my bag anyway or every second lost to repeatedly checking my reflection that I didn’t spontaneously spout scales or a third eyes, I don’t think I could have it any other way.

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