My best friend and I are full of revelations, she says to me our good qualities all come with a bad side, she said she put me as the person who inspires her most when pressed and it was good that she said so over the phone, because my mouth hung open and I didn’t want to get bleary-eyed in front of her, and then she told me more.
She said she never knew anyone in the world who was a both a dreamer and a doer until me, that we’ll have a conversation so outlandish that it will of course just be for fun, and then all of a sudden I’ve emailed the publisher of a magazine I want to write for, solicited an agent, had that difficult conversation, bought a plane ticket to Thailand or learned how to paint with oils. She says it astounds her sometimes, inspires her always. But the downside to this, and the downside to me cuts deeply.
Her anecdote was this. She said when we were at the zoo in Argentina last April, that even though we were exhausted and not feeling well and did not have the time, I insisted we keep walking, even did it without her, leaving her at the side of the path, because there was an exhibit of cheetahs that I had seen many times elsewhere in the world, but never in this place, and I had to see it here, in Argentina. Even if the cheetahs were sleeping, out of sight, even if it was too crowded. Even if the exhibit itself was closed. She said I made sense to her then.
Because she finally understood, she said, that I could never, would never, leave a stone unturned. I could never be in and out with the greatest hits, the top ten lists, the recommendation without the exhaustive research and the hours and hours of brain power, thinking, ruminating, running hard until there was no more light and no more breath in my lungs. She said my fatal flaw is that I have no fear but one: that I am deep down quite afraid that I will not have squeezed out every last ounce in my life upon my death, that I will not experience everything that I dream to hold and this is what may paralyze me if I ever slow down long enough to let it creep up. This is what keeps me successful at some things, intriguing to people, infuriating and bouncing off the walls to others, and keeps me from sleeping because I will not miss a minute of my life.
My fatal flaw is essentially who I am and what makes my brain and my soul shaped as they are. My fatal flaw is my unrelenting fire, the knots in my neck, the list scrawled on my hand, the worn out soles of my flapping Converse and my empty stomach and my red eyes and my ideas that could fly off the pages if I stare at them long enough.
My fatal flaw is me. I don’t regret it yet. And I never want to.