It’s so ordinary to be sitting in a classroom at 7:50 am waiting for the lecture to start yet somewhat surreal. The clock strikes 8 and the professor starts with no delay…. in German.

The professor writes on the chalkboard and suddenly stops to ask a question. Panic surges within me. “What the f*** did he say?” He scans the room looking for someone to pick to answer his question. “F***. F***. F***. F***.” I mutter under my breath. “Please do not ask me.” I beg silently to the universe as I slowly sink into my chair trying to keep a low profile. Thankfully someone else responds with a funny joke causing the entire classroom to burst into laughter including the professor. I on the other hand sit there quietly completely perplexed. It’s the first 15 minutes of class and all the hours I spent learning German have vanished.

I leave class with an overstimulated mind and paradoxical feelings. I feel somewhere between screaming, kicking somebody’s ass, and just flat out bursting into tears. My mind starts to race thinking of fool-proof plans, meanwhile my Ego, Nigel, sits haughtily in the corner of my mind smirking with a long cigarette in his hand. He takes a long drag from his cigarette, holds it, and slowly releases a cloud of smoke as he says “You can’t do this.” I roll my eyes. Then he says “You will never get it.” I think about class today and how I was so lost, but then I point out my foolproof plan. He seems a little taller as he counter-argues “You don’t belong.” I remember that I did stand out like a sore thumb in class. He takes a sip of his brandy and says in a condescending tone “You always fail.” Rage fills me up but then I end up asking…”Where did you get a brandy?” His smile widens, bends down, and whispers in my ear “Just accept it you’re not good enough.”

His words pierce my body. Sharp pain accumulates in my shoulders as Nigel slowly ties a knot around my throat. “You are not good enough” he whispers again with conniving intention.

On the verge of tears, I sit down and close my eyes unconcerned that I am in a public place. I bring all my attention to my breath. Nigel stands up in protest and speaks louder. I breathe again. Nigel is now agitated stomping around trying to throw my concentration. I breathe again extinguishing his cigarette. Outraged Nigel reaches for his pocket to light up another one but his pack is empty. He starts to throw a tantrum. I breathe again deeper this time and then release the toxins of his sinister intentions. With each calming breathe he grows smaller until he is nowhere in sight. Inner stillness prevails reassuring me: I am enough. I have always been enough. I will always be enough.

I open my eyes to the chaos; People converse, laugh, and whisper to one another in German, moving quickly in and out of the building, meanwhile others sip their coffee working intensely on their computers. I sit, observing, quietly repeating to myself: I am enough. I have always been enough. I will always be enough. The situation might not have changed but I have with one simple breathe.