Your heart meets your larynx.
Your stomach writhes and jitters.
Your temple sweats profusely as you try to keep your limbs from shaking at a magnitude measurable on the Richter scale.
Maybe it last happened when you saw your anticipated question paper or your unanticipated former lover, or witnessed something horrific and just froze.
We’ve all been there.
It seems that every time this happens, blood rushes away from your brain.
And at that very moment, from pope to pauper, everyone is ruled by one thing and one thing alone: hormones. You don’t know if it's your mind that’s indecisive or your adrenaline, but at that moment, well, at that exact moment, you just don’t know.
It would be an understatement to say that it is an out of body experience. While you’re held prisoner outside your flesh and inside your fear, everything feels fast and slow at the same time. People around you fade into the background, your heart reverberates from one edge to another - like a rubber band at its breaking point.
How many times do you get back in control of everything?
And how often do you blame yourself for the times that you didn’t?
Blaming yourself because you could have done more, resisting the temptation to act as if nothing was going on. Thinking in the shower of a thousand things you could’ve said, yet not a word escaped your mouth. Thinking about all the concepts you prepared and studied, yet seemingly vanished into the dark depths of your mind on seeing the questions. Thinking about things you could’ve done and should’ve done. But you didn’t. And that makes all the difference.
Yet we find solace in the fact that no one else did it either. After all, ignorance is bliss, it’s only natural to feel fear. Mankind is built this way, to prioritize their own survival over anything else. Any living creature is. But what separates humans from other sentient life forms is we have the ability to think long term. No longer is our fight-or-flight response, and by extension, our immediate reaction, the most suitable solution for the situation.
Be it deciding between that lecture or that competition, or the fest or that society meeting - these kinds of decisions pop up everywhere, and it's up to oneself whether to follow their impulses or to collect their thoughts and think. Differentiate between right and wrong and consider all the consequences of their actions.
Learn to doubt why we doubt. Hesitation is the seed of regret. In the crowd of the frozen, be the one to melt your obstacles away, and stand resolute. A mind of conviction, not one wallowing in self-pity. When you doubt your caliber, remember, it is conviction that composes character during chaos, not conformity.
At the end, all of life boils down to choice.
You choose to be who you are. And it is up to you whether you will be a puppet with the strings of life pulling on you. Or whether you will break free, and make your own path. A path not where you questioned yourself, but questioned what lied ahead. A path all your own, filled with potholes and wrong turns, but also one you made with a will of steel.