The S On My Chest

Something so soldered, spraypainted so sharply,
Spiraling, snaking, set squarely, centered near my heartbeat,
It’s a hot brand, scarred so deep,
a neverending feeling that I’m somehow letting someone down, even in my sleep.
Be it me, or the world, or the people in between, that one unchecked box on my to-do list locks me in.
Perfection is a religion with no salvation, and an infinite way to feel guilt and commit sins.
It’s a lose-lose when the bar is so high
that I inexplicably expect to take off and fly
to reach goals so lofty, grandiosely ambitious,
and when I fall short I blame my lack of wings
instead of realizing I may be taking on too many things.
We praise hard work and precision
to a point where a day without ‘being productive’ is regarded as a bad decision,
A lazy waste of time that lacks drive and vision.
So on my chest shines the red ‘S’ that the ubermensch-turned-comic book hero has long worn,
adorned, on my skin,
indoctrinated since childhood
to overachieve or die trying, either master the universe or regret being born.
The only kryptonite I have is my own scorn. -RSM

I Started Looking In The Mirror Less

A few years ago I would remain in the eye of my own gaze,

With my ego tugging on my mind, saying “Look again! Just make sure.”

So every vein of opportunity to be so vain

I looked in the mirror, a lot, and complained, and made changes

until my appearance in reality and my mind was the same.

 

Exhaustingly unscrupulous, taking sooo many selfies,

compulsive on my pursuit of perfection, so ruthless,

I was never truly happy and knew this wasn’t healthy.

I pass a window that reflects and have to slow down, stop and check

if my collar looks weird on my neck, or if my pants look tight, or too loose.

Hopefully there’s nothing on my face that shouldn’t be,

so I take quick picture to see something my eyes couldn’t see.

 

Enough was enough, one day I decided to delete my Instagram

and to not hold my looks so high above all else, I took a big step

and I started looking in the mirror less. I didn’t get any uglier,

I let my hair grow and it didn’t look any funnier.

I could tell when I felt bummier and my nose felt runnier.

I didn’t need a constant reflection of my image to reflect on the fact

that narcissism is a good-looking way to constantly self-attack.

 

Perfectionism stems from insecure origins,

like a good catholic who feels like they’re full of sin

or a parent who shuns their child’s success,

and then the child feels like they’ll never win.

The mirror was my best enemy, my fakest friend,

my physical editor which never liked the ideas I pitched.

 

I started looking in the mirror less and less,

until a whole day would pass as I would pass by

windows that reflect, mirrored walls,

and even neglect the looking glass outside of bathroom stalls,

And to my surprise, I didn’t look grotesque or wrong

as I came home singing one of my favorite songs:

 

“Vanity, stands naked at my door…”

I sang as I saw the mirror in my room;

an old friend greets me with a smile.

 

He looks happier than before, I haven’t seen him in a while.

He’s better off, just like me, for leaving vanity outside.