Full score with five plus signs.

It’s my grade for my latest journal essay, which happened to be about death, the big philosophical issue that, somehow, in my brain, manages to link up to everything else possibly debatable about life, consciousness, the whole 42 deal.

But yuck… three pages of essay on that morbid topic is quite enough for me for another long time.

Mr. H wrote some comments about his being blown away by the writing. “Wise” and “mature” and stuff. Once upon a time I would have been outrageously proud of this, perhaps with a hint of complacency too. I have no specific numbers but I know that way too many of my classmates finish up these essays in a comatose state at 4 A.M. in the morning. Okay, so I’m wise, I put effort into my work, and I am totally awesome.

These feelings are rare now. I’m very harsh on myself, I think— perfectionist and all that. I’ve been there before. If I make six plans and succeed with five of them, you can find me brooding over the last one. I can’t bring myself to feel any gladness over compliments, because deep down I don’t think I’m good enough. I have potential for more, and it’s a fact.

Not surprisingly, this post is degenerating into another round of self-loathing about perfectionism. I’m terrible at this. I’m glad I’m not advertising this blog. Still, it serves its purpose.

Where was I? All of a sudden I don’t have a role model to look up to. The only target above me seems to be a completely flawless image of myself I dream about, the mirage that people in random mythologies waste their lives over searching for. The Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter. (It’s a nice coincidence to be able to come up with that allusion out of nowhere, considering my lack of fiction-reading recently.) I push myself up, trying to reach that level of excellence on the surface and take a deep breath of enjoyment, but it turns out the air does not satisfy me.

I like being outstanding and apparently successful at what I’m doing, but with too much success, all of it doesn’t mean anything.

Alas, at the end of this post I have a distinct feeling that this is a thoroughly inaccurate way of putting my feelings, but I don’t know what to do about it.


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