unbiased self appraisal.

i had a dream where you cut off my arms, starting with the hands and working toward the shoulders, slicing me into sections a couple of inches at a time. then you moved to the legs. i woke up and instantly called you at seven am, and you told me you would be right over. i didn’t expect you, knowing you would fall back to sleep as soon as you put down the phone. i showered and ran some errands, returning home before you called again to say you had just woken up.

i’ve realized that you’re not to blame. i’ve been cutting myself, keeping myself from succeeding. every time something is within arm’s reach, i pull back and make excuses for why i cannot continue. you’ve made me realize that i should hold myself accountable and that the struggle can be worth it. you’ve taught me that i’m better than what i’ve allowed myself to become and that i’ve underestimated myself. i’ve been oblivious to this and the ways it’s hurt you, and i greatly regret that.

when i was younger i subscribed to mensa magazine for a short time before deciding that it was pompous to display one’s genius in such a way. i’ll remember two things from its pages though. one, that puns are the highest form of humor. this declaration was accompanied by photographs from a halloween party where everyone dressed as their favorite pun (yes, reader, i’m also glad i didn’t attend). one couple was chicken catch a tory, the woman in a chicken suit and her husband in long-flowing wig and cavalier garb. two, an article about low-end jobs and reasons why some people of such advanced intellect would undertake such demeaning labor. those highlighted answered that they were just looking for something that paid the bills so they could use their ample free time to work on philanthropic and creative projects about which they were passionate.

in my own life i forgot the second part. sure, i’ve gone through things that required my full attention, but my complacency and lack of dedication is a mind-numbingly egregious offense at best. i put myself on a pedestal, pretending i had a reason to be there. to use the vernacular of dream analysis, i cut off my legs, piece by piece, but still told everyone i was running. i wore this starving artist tag like it was a badge of accomplishment, as if jotting down a few words every now and again is a form of artistry. i clung to the city of charlotte, as if failure in a large city is better than potential in a smaller one.

i bet you knew i was eventually going to address you again, and i am now. you couldn’t comprehend why i was comfortable treading water. at this point, it baffles me also. you stood by me though offering encouragement, and i will forever appreciate that. i’m trying not to make promises because, without action, they’re just a bunch of nonsense words, but i know a few are going to creep in. you know, something along the lines of first acknowledging that i’m a deeply-flawed individual, then adding that i will make sure that you are always happy, every single day, even if i have to do something outrageous like descend niagara falls in a barrel or bring back a fer-de-lance from costa rica (by the way, please consider other options).

i’m remembering that each day is a new day to make oneself better. and one day builds onto the next.


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