The gavel I use against myself would be better served against others. For too long, I’ve forgiven but not forgotten, allowing losers to cross the finish line. But I knew all along they did not deserve a medal. Yet I awarded them the prize of my patience and humility. All the time my cells clamored in my gut, telling me to question their integrity, that their merit was flawed. I reserved all judgment against their lies and shortcomings, but liberally banged the gavel at my own sentencing. Now I am aware, as the price of gold continues its climb, that my medals are worth as much as my name. So I will scrutinize their every foot fall, challenge every questionable turn, because I am worthy of the race.
When I don’t write, Guilt makes her home in my bed. In my flesh even. She crawls up my back and stays there. An uninvited guest in my space. She incessantly talks, telling me all the reasons that metaphor won’t work. She snorts and turns up her nose at my plotlines. Calls my ideas foolish. She spitefully watches me carve out sentences and then shrieks with delight as she presses Delete. Then I wonder why I began in the first place, and Guilt finishes the thought by telling me, “It’s because you were foolish enough to think you could.” Guilt tells me I should just stick to teaching, that a living cannot be made out of this laughable craft. At least not by me. Craft, humph. You first need skill, she says. Guilt tucks me in at night, then holds me face down on the pillow in the morning. She eats all my sweets, leaves nothing good for me. Thankfully, Guilt has packed her bags. For now.
They’ve wrung me arid. I am bare. Empty of all spirit, no longer sprightly. However, I cannot witness my own destruction, my self crumbling at their whims. Unappreciated, I am only worthy for as long as they can use me. But this is not where I intend to stand. My destiny is not at this destination. I’ve been sucked into darkness but I will cling to the glimmer. I will reach beyond this barren horizon and be engulfed by mercy.