Author's Note: I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately, and it's been building up inside of me, so I just decided to use this as a way to get it all out.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Storm Hawks.


People love me, people hate me, people envy me, people want to take me down. Nobody takes half a second to consider how I feel.

Ruling an empire isn't an easy job. It's not all fun and games. There's a lot of pressure.

I guess that's why I'm talking about it. It's weakness, and I hate to admit weakness, but I prefer to get it all out of me now so I can be strong and do what I need to do. Really and truly, ranting helps.

It's hurting me.

I can feel it eating away inside of me, this need to be perfect, this need to never fail. Some of it comes from me, some of it from the people around me.

I can't eat. I can't sleep. I don't want to move. I just want to sit there and waste time and put a pillow over my head, but I can't block out the voices that are in my head, telling me I should be doing something productive, moaning and groaning every second that I waste. I can't rest, because every second I try to, I'm worrying about what better things I can be doing with my time, so the rest doesn't calm me down.

It's making me sick. It's making me feel bad, and tired, and depressed, like I don't want to live anymore, but then I feel guilty, too. I'm a girl who has everything, and yet everything around me is tumbling down. At least I still have it. I'm so privileged—what right do I have to feel depressed?

It's not because I make mistakes, it's because I don't make mistakes. All my tutors—as I still need to learn Cyclonian History, diplomacy, writing, public speaking, math, crystal science, biology, and foreign languages, to mention a few—think that I'm a great student. They think I'm perfect. I can't stand that. I have to be better, so I push myself harder until my work is better than what I can do, and still, I push. Each assignment has to be better than the last, or in my own eyes, I'm failing.

Everyone around me expects such great things from me, but I just keep waiting to fall.

What's wrong with me? Why isn't this feeling going away? I have absolutely no reason to feel so depressed, but the darkness is dragging me down. I'm failing myself, I'm failing the people who rely on me. Not yet, but in my head, and in the future. I'm living in the pit of despair because I'm waiting to fail.

Sometimes, I think I'm crazy. I have such mood swings, I feel like I'm five different people. Which one is the real me? The perfect eager student? The evil tyrant? The lonely girl? The scientist? The artist? The warrior?

Can they all be me? Or am I just nothing?

What am I waiting for?

I'm so pathetic. Here I am with nothing to complain about, whining like the world is ending. I'm so weak.

Please help me. Please someone take pity on me. Please someone know how I suffer. No one understands. I just want someone to understand.

But what I want and what I need are different. I need to become stronger. The only way to become stronger is to become harder, and colder. It's the only way anyone can ever survive.

Diamonds are only coal that's done well under pressure.

Well, the pressure is on, and I refuse to get squashed, so I'm becoming a diamond. Hard, cold, but impossible to break.

Humph. Glad I got that out of my system. I don't need weak thoughts like those cluttering my head. I have better things to do. I have a world to conquer.

You'd better not go spreading rumors that I'm weak. I'm not weak. I'm stronger than any of you, because instead of surrendering to my emotions, I control them. I am the one in power. I will not let anything get to me, unless I want it to get to me, because I know it will make me stronger.

Still, it felt strangely good to rant like that. Maybe I'll be able to sleep now…

…or maybe not.

"It felt strangely good to rant like that."

"Glad I got that out of my system."