With Great Anxiety Comes Great Responsibility
second year carlie gambino
When I was born, my small body was a dense vessel of stress waiting to be unleashed into the world. It wasn’t until the first day of middle school, or hell in disguise, when BAM! my powers surfaced. At age 11, I was reborn into my most powerful self — Pressure Cooker Carlie. As it turned out, middle school had everything necessary to unlock my superhuman, self-induced, mega-stress powers: raging hormones, homework-heavy classes, and… forced social interactions.
Ever since that fateful day, my powers occur in the same sequence. First, the worry whizzes. It’s that feeling when you can’t wrap your head around all your work and when you keep thinking about all the bad people in the world and when you can’t get words out because you’re excited and when everything you think of can go wrong or right or wrong again. It’s a common feeling. Whizzes are stressors mounting until my pores seep with electrifying tension, and I am supercharged. With a crushing motivation and spasmodic energy, I use these whizzes to avoid failure.
Next, my self-conscious super senses flicker on. My ears prickle at every whisper, and my skin retracts at every touch. I can hear from long distances because I think everyone is always talking about me. Yet, I use these senses to give out unsolicited help with bus routes, directions, advice, and restaurant recommendations. Never fear, Pressure Cooker Carlie is near to hear all your wants and worries!
Finally, due to an intense overconcentration on everything, I can become anything I want. Fat, skinny, long-armed, big-brained, bouncy, dumb-as-a-wall. Anything. I can shape myself into any form. Seconds after seeing my long shadow, I can have orangutan-length arms specially adapted for reaching far objects. Or, I can eat a brownie and moments later be an oompa loompa ready to bounce around.
As a well-seasoned, super adult, I can recognize and sense my powers before I transform into The Pressure Cooker. It usually starts with a lightning ZAP! of realization that makes ease impossible. My body becomes lit with unfounded energy. The world is intensified in color. All my senses explode with sensitivity. While I could use all this energy for worldly or self-destruction, it’s more fun to use it for the greater good.
My dear citizens of Athens, I have the power of anxiety, but this instability is my greatest tool. As I said, if I don’t use my powers to help myself and others, I would be doing the world a disservice. The mind is my wildest weapon, and I’m choosing to harness it for productive chaos. For, without productivity, I would simply be a puddle of misused energy and nerves.