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I see my sleeping child, half in silhouette, lying against a soft green and cream pillow.  Her hair is in puffy pigtails, her fingers and toes peeking out from a cozy pink blanket.  She snores sometimes, little gasping, snorting breaths - sometimes sighs, sometimes deep lung-fulls of life.  From here I can admire the soft arch of her brow, the curve of delicate ears, the perfectness of that peeking foot.  She is beautiful.

Lately I feel a little frustrated.  A little hypocritical.  I feel loud and shrill, impatient.  I feel like people are looking at me and I am trying desperately not to be seen.  There are many and varied reasons for these feelings - many too personal to share, most too inconsequential form words around.  I feel like I want to be better, do better, reach farther.

It's just so hard.

Agency is hard.  Consequences, actions, reactions, choices, decisions, complications, indecision.  Freedom is a wonderful and bitter thing, and the flavor that lingers now on my tongue makes it hard to swallow.

Accountability is hard.  The residue of results is gritty and coarse, full of friction.

I want to be better, I keep telling myself.  I've said it so often the words are like chalk.  Useless, worthless, trite.

I see my daughter lying there on the couch.  Full of sass and vim and glitter, full of flawed perfection, full of hopes and dreams and fairy-tales.  I try to remember that once, not really so long ago, I was just like her.  I was sweet and soft and small, unmarred, unafraid, uninhibited.  I've grown up, in good ways and bad.  I've changed and molded and reforged, but I'm not done.  I've got curves to round and long straightaways to linger on.  I'm not finished.

I've only just begun.

"You owe it to yourself to make an extra effort to discover, in every detail possible, who you really are" - Robert C. Oaks

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