November 8, 2011

The Real and the Imaginary

I am so far behind that I have lost sight of even the shadow of that productive, successful, always-put-together, imaginary me, who seems to have bolted off into the sunset, leaving real me puffing along behind. As hard as real me works to keep up, that darned imaginary me always stays several steps ahead, effortlessly sprinting along. Just out of reach, otherwise real me would long ago have grabbed her coattails and held on for dear life... or dragged her to the ground and stepped on her to keep her down for a while.
I often spend my free moments (because I have so many, you know) pondering the differences and the distance between imaginary me and real me. The disparity between the two is sometimes quite frightening:
 -- Real me hits the snooze button most mornings, struggles to emerge from under the covers and drags herself straight into the shower, still half-asleep. She grabs the first thing she finds in the closet, consistently leaves the house ten minutes late, and requires at least half a cup of coffee for her eyes to open the rest of the way. Imaginary me, on the other hand, leaps out of bed sometime before the sun and doesn't mind heading out for a run in the sub-30 degree temps. She wears clothes that match and flatter, packs a lunch, and always gets to work 10 minutes before everyone else. She moves efficiently and processes thoughts capably, even before 9 AM.
 -- Real me often succumbs to two dinner options: easy or nonexistent. She has been known to enjoy cereal, wheat thins and hummus, Ben and Jerry's, toast, iced coffee, or some combination thereof for her evening meal. Chipotle is a common stop on the way home (even when it's not on the way home), and pasta is considered a delicacy (and an awful lot of work). Many nights she falls asleep before even deciding what might sound good. Imaginary me, however, whips up fresh and inventive meals every night of the week. She experiments with flavors, tackles new recipes, and recreates restaurant dishes with astounding accuracy. She always has plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day, but never so much that the remnants get lost in the back of her fridge.
-- Real me is easily buried under the weight of incoming emails, texts, and facebook messages from friends and family. Her typical response rate hovers somewhere around 1 week, and each reply begins with "I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you...." She means well, but tends to save the task of sorting through this correspondence until bedtime, and has been known to fall asleep halfway through a text. She has fallen desperately out of touch with some of her closest friends, and although she vows each day to write or call, most days those promises go unkept. Imaginary me, of course, speaks to at least 12 of her closest friends on a weekly basis. She answers messages the same day she receives them, and always knows just the right thing to say. She mails cards and gifts and adorable little treats to friends who are in need of a smile, and always remembers who needs to be wished good luck or happy birthday. She never fails to call the day after a big test, interview, or date, and she's always the one who has time to listen and give great advice.
-- Real me fights a daily battle to keep dust bunnies at bay. She has been known to wear clothes straight from the dryer for several days in a row, after sending the whole load for another 5 minute spin to get out the wrinkles... again. She has mastered the art of Sink Tetris, scoops the litter box when and only when she smells it, and the pile of junk mail that has taken over her desk dates back to at least July. Imaginary me, ever-superior, keeps her apartment impeccably clean and incredibly organized. Her laundry is hanging in the closet within minutes of the dryer's buzz, dishes have not ever met the bottom of the sink, and the carpet never loses those lovely freshly-vacuumed lines. She is crafty and has a flair for interior decoration, especially around the holidays. She hosts friends and family for dinner parties and always has candles lit and cookies in the oven.
So while real me stumbles along the course of life, missing turns and sometimes stopping to nap on a bench, imaginary me soars ahead, making it all look so easy. Every once in a while, real me gets close enough to believe that the race is a true contest, that one day she might match her competition step for step. But then a little thing called life happens... and just like poor Yoshi, real me just can't avoid those damn banana peels. (Sorry Yoshi, you've always been my favorite anyway)

there they are: imaginary me and real me, running for their lives


    real me

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