Racing Like A Pro

it really seems this life has become a race.

everyone around is warming up, picking a fellow runner, and some are not afraid to get dirty – tying up other competitors’ shoelaces.
no one ever tied up mine.

as everyone toes the scratch, i remember how i twisted my ankle, a couple of days, ago. it still hurts. i wonder if i should sit this one out.

the whistle blows and along with mine, countless strange feet push their bodies forward. some run gawky, but efficient nonetheless. i seem to have a good view on their techniques for a couple of seconds, before their soles disappear around the corner. i know i’m not as far ahead, but that’s okay with me. i am rarely best at something, and i don’t think i ever felt the need to be.

far behind me, i notice someone else’s well-paced steps. i’m not last!
soon though, they begin to catch up with me, a sure-footed crescendo. moments later, we change places – that other person glances at me, with no expression on their face and yet triumphantly.

i recognize their fancy neon heels, now. they have passed me by at the start line. i’m not even that far in – have i been lapped, already?

my thoughts run in circles, dizzying.
i should have quit.
i’m far behind. i’ll finish last.
they’ll all watch me fail, unnerved
that they had to actually wait there until i finally crossed the line.
they would have liked to get on with their own lives.
i would have liked that for them, too.
i’m such a burden.
i should have quit.

even more exhausted than everyone else, i finish the race.
last. looked at like a loser.

——————————————————————————————————————–

the other day, someone dear told me to stop being so hard on myself.
a note in one of my faded report cards came to my mind, right after.

“demands a great deal of herself and transfers these demands onto others, as well.”

this is an issue i’d like to adress.

now, let me tell you right away that i have gladly given up that second part.
but today, others try to impose their demands onto me. and i worst of all, i let them do it!

today, you’re supposed to be a lot of things.
pretty. smart. upbeat. ambitious. independent. low-maintenance.
you’re not asked to be true, though, just conceal those prominent features in a way that spares everyone the awkwardness.

you’re supposed to constantly think about your future, you’re supposed to find the one who’ll stay for the long run. you’re supposed to appreciate every moment of your life, no matter how bitter it tastes.

you better be successful at everything you do. don’t let anything go wasted.

pay attention too much and you might just believe
that there’s actually a walkthrough guide to life.

in written letters, this appears so absurd and self-destructive, don’t you think?
and yet, i sometimes let all kinds of measures define my thoughts, my actions;
my entire nature, eventually.

don’t you sometimes feel like you’re being pressured by this obligation to advance quickly, in straight lines? but do we have to reach every milestone on time?
isn’t it enough to calmly jog to the finish line? won’t that be just fine?

i think it will.
i just need to be reminded, sometimes:

life is no race. it’s a marathon.

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