| Teen Diary Serial |

Metamorphosis: Chapter 4   

Even if I can calm down for a minute the anxious feelings will come back, I know they will


Mrs. Berkowitz is teaching about optimism. “So when you’re worried or feeling down, guide your mind gently away from all the negativity and think about something good.”

Huh? What planet is she coming from?

My thoughts get Krazy Glued in my head and no amount of effort can get them out. I struggle to think of sunshine and rainbows, but my brain is filled with shadows. The classroom is coming alive as everyone adds in their thoughts. I’m starting to feel like what’s happening to me is all my fault: I’m just a negative person. I have to look for the good. So I tune into the suggestions. Keep a gratitude journal, look at the cup half-full, think of people that have much less than you….

I jot them down and resolve to implement at least some. Maybe they can fix the mess that has become my life. What’s wrong with me, is the recurring thought that pops up every time I try unsuccessfully to “focus on the good.”

I’m gonna feel horrible forever.

Think about trees or flowers or snowflakes.

My heart doesn’t listen. I’m panicking.

I have to do something. I need a way out.

Just stop.

I can’t, and even if I can calm down for a minute the anxious feelings will come back, I know they will. I can’t live my life like this, heeeelp!!!!!


My bitter-fudge sundae topped with inferiority does not melt. Not even when I dig into my slice of pizza for lunch and try to wash it away with a can of Coke. Each bite of my Danish tastes like dust. I finger a ten-dollar bill as if it’s the solution, but I stop myself from blowing it in the canteen. I know it won’t help.


I can’t even hear the last words over the hubbub that ensues. Everyone is screaming, “Concert!” A ray of light pierces the storm. I know that somehow in the excitement of a concert I’ll be able to vanquish this monster and finally feel good.

Ahuva is glowing in front of the TRYOUTS! sign.

“I can’t wait to hear your solo,” I tell her.

“Thanks for your vote of confidence,” she says, but we both know she’s a shoo-in for one solo, if not two.

“I must get into dance, I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t,” I declare for the fifteenth-millionth time.

“You will!” she assures me.

“I just learned the steps for tryouts, wanna see?” I ask her.


We move over to a bit of a quiet corner. There’s a spin and a sharp move, I slide my foot right, left, then do an arabesque.

“Wow!” Ahuva looks at me in admiration. “You’re so good!”

“Thanks!” I smile.

She looks about to suggest that we take a quick power walk like we often do during breaks when Rivka comes over. “Perela, I’m desperate, can you please help me with the dance tryout steps, you’re totally a natural!”

I’m flattered and also know that a walk won’t keep the darkness at bay, but excitement might. Hopefully, I’ll get all into it and float away on a cloud about concert leaving my fears far behind.

My stomach is jumping, but this time I feel normal. It’s the day when they’re posting concert parts. I can’t sit still. I must get into dance. We have to wait till lunch to see what we’re in. It’s torturous to sit through class. We’re all sitting on the edge of our seats — if sitting at all.

Ahuva is desperate to make choir. She’s doodling musical notes instead of paying attention.

Dassi, sitting next to me, has her heart set on drama. She glances at the door every two seconds as if it holds the answer.

At times like this I can fool myself into thinking that all is good. The storm is hovering at the very edge of my bubble and I can pretend it’s not there.

Until it pops, that is.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 955)

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