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Let's get this straight, I hate this self help crap. Nothing in this God forsaken world can save my cursed soul. 

This is exactly why I don't understand how I got myself into this situation. I stand face to face with the spines of self-help books. Cutesy self-help section bullshit. But, this is besides the point. This whole situation started about four hours ago.

When I wake up, my tired eyes try to focus in my dark apartment. I get up from my daybed. My feet touch the cold wooden floorboards. They creak under my toes.

I feel like the whole world could just swallow me up right then and there. Most days I try to get by with as little contact with people as possible. Some may call it sad. I would just tell them that this is my life.

When I was halfway through my morning routine I find myself- toothbrush in hand, staring manat myself in the mirror. I have dark brown hair that is all spiky on my big head.

“That kid better find a hairbrush one day! His hair will be the death of me!” my mom would scream at my father when she tried to brush my hair.

I have an unattended stubble growing up the sides of my pale face. Dark circles are visible on my sad face. You can tell I don't get out often. You can also tell I don't really give to craps about my health.

As I was judging this hideous of a man, that is me, I had some crazy unexplainable epiphany. After months of not leaving my sad and sorry apartment I wanted to go outside.

This crazy sudden burst of motivation startled me. I tried to ignore it as my introvertedness did not approve. But, the thought of doing something, going somewhere tugged at my brain like a kid to its mom. 

Instead of following my daily ritual of logging into my online job and then heading to bed for a few more hours, I put on my favorite shoes. I grabbed my keys of my wooden coffee table and headed for the door.

I stepped into my musty apartment hallway. It smelled like Ms. Jones’ cats’ poop in apartment 13. I looked at the gray molding walls I was surrounded by and the scratched wooden doors that lined the hallway and hesitated. Yet again though, the little voice inside me said it's going to be a good day!

Somehow my false-hope got me to the sketchy elevator. I swallowed. Hard. And stepped into the elevator. I shivered at the nasty barf smell and thought of all the germs around me. Against all odds, I touched the button to the main floor.

On the way down, the elevator rattled. A wave of anxiety creeped down my spine. What the hell was I thinking?! This could be a big mistake. It most likely was.

When the dirty scratched elevator doors opened they revealed a vile smelling hallway. It had white linoleum floors with walls that were once white. The hallway had more heat than all the apartments inside it combined. I walked to the door and looked outside.

The sun shone cascaded down the sides of the brick apartments. The block was bursting with life. People rushing to work. Kids walking to school. And owners walking their dogs. The gleeful sight made me open the heavy wooden door.

When I was on the large stone steps I took in NYC air. Yes, maybe not the purest. But to me it was the most refreshing air I breathed in months. 

Then it hit me. What was I going to do. To be honest I didn't even think I would get this far. I look both ways down the street.

I sat down on the stone steeps and put my chin on my hand. One way, the sun was shining more. And the other way, there was less people. I was not about to let myself go back inside after all the work I did to get here. 

In the end, I decided to walk down the street with the most sun. As I walked I heard my shoes slap against the sidewalk and cars honking. I felt the warm sun against my pale arms. I felt happy, actually happy.

I walk past a coffee shop. Too many people! I walk past a supermarket. Not really feeling like it.

Then I see it. ‘Debra's Emporium of Reading Delights’ sparkling like diamonds in the early morning lights. It's perfect. Just the right amount of socializing. And hey, something to do!

It is a rather small store. The windows are covered in a thick layer of dust, but behind it there are rows and rows of books. All sizes and colors. 

I brought my gaze to the large wooden doors with shimmering silver handles. I reach my arms out and push open the heavy doors.

I am hit with the smell of dusty books. On a normal day the smell would make me cringe. But, today is anything but a normal day. Today I find it pleasing.

I have another sudden hit of optimism. I could read mystery, maybe some romance, or even poetry. I walk to the nearest row of books. I run my hand along the smooth spines of the books. My hand bouncing with every book.

I smile ear to ear, something I haven't done in a while. I walk to my favorite section: mystery.

I look at the abundance of amazing options. My eyes come across the best book of all time ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. I have read the book at least three times, but I never get sick of it.

My old flame for books had just rekindled. Maybe by bringing back my old passion will help me keep my newfound confidence.  

DING! A group of oddly familiar adults walk into the bookstore. Then it hits me, these were the people who bullied me in highschool. I can still remember the leaders of the cliques. One especially. I groan as I see Micheal, the boy who’s boot hit my face.

My perfect oasis of bliss is burst. The group triggers a flow of painful memories. With my mind on high alert I do what I do best. Hide.

I bolt toward the back of the store. I say a silent prayer that they didn't see me. Rows and rows of books blur past me. 

Before I know it, I find myself hunched over in the self-help section. I blink profusely to keep tears from falling down my face. I rock back and forth trying to soothe myself.

I peek over the edge of the wooden bookshelf and see the group talking over by the magazine section. I have a slight feeling that it will be awhile before the clique leaves. So, I look over toward the books situated on the bookshelf.

‘Confidence is Key!’, ‘It's Not Your Fault’, ‘Painful Memories’. All of them seems like a horrible read. I return my eyes to my prized book.

I read the first sentence. I look up. I read another. I look up. I put my book down. My curiosity sadly, got the best of me.

Which brings me to the point. I don't know why or how this happened. But, I am in the self-help section of a bookstore. But, I am.

I grab the book on confidence. Because, if this helps me, I am cured. As I flip through the pages I sadly relate to many points the book makes. And I find a few helpful.

I feel my soul start to lighten. It’s as if the sun is peeking through the clouds on a rainy day. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me.. 

For some reason, I feel the need to get the book. I learned one thing from this day. Confidence. 

I get up from my squat position. The clique that used to push my face into the water fountain doesn't deserve to keep their hold on me. I walk over to the counter and set my books onto it. 

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When the cashier hands me my books back and I walk past the atrocious clique. I give them a glare over my shoulders and head out onto the street.

What can I say? Confidence is key!



January 25, 2020 02:12

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2 comments

Anastasia Foxx
02:44 Jan 25, 2020

This was awesome! It really captured what it's like to live with anxiety (as a person with anxiety, I completely relate). As always, your characters were amazing. I would only slow the story down a little, but otherwise great job (again, per usual)!

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Kate Widrow
03:52 Jan 25, 2020

Thank you! I too can relate to the anxiety factor to my character! Thank you for your feedback I will take it into consideration with my next story!

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