Nerves are not yellow, like the warm sun or sweet-smelling daisies, and they do not smell like Grandma’s freshly baked snickerdoodle cookies. When I am nervous, it does not taste like Hershey’s chocolate. In fact, it’s hard to describe exactly what it feels like to be nervous. As an important test or audition date creeps closer and closer, my nerves wail like a tornado siren. They feel rough like a combination of sandpaper and itchy like of those heavy wool blankets that I despise because it gives me the awful bugs-are-crawling-all-over-my-skin sensation. Nervousness is a necklace that is too tight around my neck, and it chokes me tensely. It is a circle that goes around endlessly, always finding me. When I am nervous, I feel porcupines crawl all over my arms, and their sharp quills stab my skin. Nerves taste like hot chocolate that sat on the kitchen table for over two weeks and cold, raw steak. Wearing nervousness is like wearing a bodysuit so tight that my skin cannot breathe. Nerves make me feel like I am drowning in the Arctic Ocean, as the cold, frigid water paralyzes my muscles and makes it impossible to move. They make me feel like Lady Jane Grey as she waited for her execution, and the immense terror causes my heart to pound so intensely that I’m sure that it will fly right out of my chest. Nervousness hands me a bouquet of dead roses, and the thorns plunge into my fingers and numb my hands. Nervousness casts grey clouds above my head and makes me feel stuck in a complex labyrinth in the middle of an oncoming tornado. Nerves are not the sunny Bahamas or Disney World – the happiest place on earth – but they are the London Tower back when it served as a dungeon. They are not a luxurious Lamborghini with an all-leather interior and surround-sound stereo, and they are not Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Nervousness is not the pretty, poetic music of Andrea Bocelli, nor it is a cheerful Disney movie. Like I said, it’s not easy to exactly describe the feeling of nervousness. It just isn’t.
A Cyclone of Nerves
January 5, 2011