Every now and then
in quiet moments,
the desire for ‘greatness’ wells up to my surface
and takes the open mic in my mind’s stage
‘Where is your magnum opus?
Your mass following?
Your literary agent?
Your flowing royalties?
What have you been doing?!
How come you have not been ‘found’ yet?
Why have you not toured the world yet?
Why are you not publicly adored yet?
Well…what will you do about it?’
It is like my ego
has had a few too many drinks
and become narcissistically confident
and deeply self-critical
I feel both berated
remembering that I
am apparently someone special
of best-seller status
and viral TED talk fame
a bulging bank account
Though I have also
missed the boat, the train, the spaceship
I have turned at the wrong times
paused when I should have moved
moved when I should have paused
I have failed
the all-important and never-satisfied god of hustle.
The crushing weight
of my not-so-specialness
presses down upon me
And I’m washed by a wave of
that I have not become great yet
that I have not yet risen
from the ranks of apparent mediocrity
I’m still just here
where life is happening
steadily and quietly
I pour my ego a glass of water
gently caress the microphone
from his trembling hand
sit him down at the bar
I slap him
look him in the eye and say,
You are loved.
Do you think something is only great
if a million people see it?
Do you think being known by strangers
would make you feel more seen
than the eyes of your own children?
Do you think there’s anything out there
you don’t already have, right here?
Do you really think
the wildly successful version of you
in an alternative universe
isn’t still losing sleep over your crap?
And let’s keep walking
the beautiful path before us.
He drinks his water,
wipes a small tear from the corner of his eye
I breathe deeply
in the wonder of my life
and walk outside.