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Ismini Vasiloglou, 12 (Atlanta, GA)

Reflecting on a Fault

Ismini Vasiloglou, 12

It is always so very effortless to start. Ideas jumble around my head in whirlwinds, forming a cacophony of inspiration and infectious excitement. They fill my mind with a buzzing need I cannot ignore. To pick up a pencil is to breathe, to eat. It is an instinctual, primitive impulse, an irresistible temptation which I dare not resist. To pick up a pencil is to live.

Yet things are not quite so simple. I paint an image of perfection, harmonious cooperation between pen and mind that does not last. As sentences form in my head, they struggle to ink into existence. My fingers feel weighty as my mind races past my poor, struggling fingers that can only type so fast. It is the tortoise and the hare, but in this story, the hare never sleeps; he only moves faster and faster until he stops and swerves in another direction. Half-finished stories sigh in silence, abandoned for new ideas. They sit lazily in their Untitled documents, waiting for fragments of a lost dream to return to me. They wait to be shaped and molded and typed on a page into a story worthy of the name.

Only I am too afraid to steal the reins from the procrastinating beast which has conquered my world. I watch my characters silently sleep in their half-filled pages, weeping at their unresolved conflicts. I watch my settings sink into despair as they are overrun with my neglectful weeds.

This is my fault. I know. Despite my teachers’ and parents’ beliefs, I do understand; my mind is a realm entirely within my reach. I can, technically, finish a story, but I can’t seem to fight my own laziness. This beast, this nemesis, was spawned from my very soul, and it is almost impossible to defeat oneself.

Procrastination is a far more powerful enemy than any superhuman storybook villain.

I know, I know, there are no excuses; there are no rightful reasons for my actions. Words have given me a chance at wings, but I have taken them too quickly without helping them to fully form. Now all I have is an extra weight on my shoulders as I fall asleep each night. It is not right to say there is a beast or a tortoise and a hare. There is only me. We all have our own self-imposed struggles and this is mine: an inability to finish, to see through long-term projects.

And my failures affect others, too: the princess who has yet to escape her ivory tower, the citizens whose dictator’s cruel regime still reigns unchallenged, the captain lost at sea, doomed to never again set foot on land, and all of the other tales I have deserted so quickly that not a word of them was written, not a paragraph or a single page.

However, I have come to a simple, comforting conclusion; my progress will not be instantaneous, for I cannot change overnight. I can, however, start small.

I can start by finishing this reflection, just one letter, one word, one sentence at a time. This is me. Imperfect, flawed me. But I can grow. I can change—I am still malleable. I can take these wings words have lent me, mend them from their broken, unfinished state, take flight and soar.

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