I always start off too fast. I jump ahead of everyone and everything in my way, all elbows and spikes and starting blocks. I feel too much too soon. I’m rushing into it all, not because I want it to end more quickly, but because I can’t wait for it to start. I go above and beyond. I overachieve. I do all of the assigned readings. Reply to each message. I PR on the first time trial, ace the first exam, make great first impressions, experience amazing first dates. I get excited about ideas before they are realities. I get ahead of myself. I run fill force ahead and I don’t look back. It’s with silly little things too though that don’t even matter. My junior prom dress and hair were far superior to senior year, I wore my best heels on the first night out this semester, my best sweater on the first somewhat cold day, spent 8 hours on my first art project. I’m always peaking so early. I succeed when it doesn’t matter. I win when nobody else felt like competing. I “put all my eggs in one basket”. I care so much and put so much into new relationships, I pour as much of myself into everything I do, at first. But then, maybe it’s clear what happens in result. There’s only so many great and admirable parts of me to pour into things before I’m just as shaky and terrified and flawed as if that’s all there was of me to begin with, until I run out of interesting things to say, make mistakes, have second thoughts, get tripped up in my words or over my own feet. I panic, can’t think of a way to make you laugh, and sometimes I reach days where I think all the great parts of me are slight compared to the all the anxiousness and empty ambitions and false hopes and I always end up disappointing. Maybe then it’s clear why my coach always advised me to better pace myself. Maybe that’s why I fall in like or love, or whatever you want to call it, so fucking quickly, ahead of whoever it was with, and inevitably end up a heap of disappointing and heartbreak. It’s probably why I was an A student in high school and came to college and failed chemistry and got a 96 on a statistics midterm only to stop going to class, and to get a 30 something (if that) on the final, squeaking by with a C. It could explain how I walked onto the cross country team as top runner and captain, only to burn out and start dropping out of races in a panic, sure that I was having an asthma attack (I don’t have asthma I just panic so much that I forget how to breath sometimes). It could be why I went above and beyond the training schedule running twice a day upwards of 45/50 mile weeks and keeping up with my all star boy friend, only to be unable to compete in any of the important races because of a stress fracture and then mono (the mono from that said boyfriend, naturally). I burn out. I burn too bright, too fast, too soon, and by the time anyone takes to acknowledging the bright, it’s gone. Flame to wisp of smoke in a second, just a spark. Beautiful maybe, bright and sparkling, exciting, and full of promise, but only for a second. Then poof, gone, unsustainable and quick and back to dark and cold soon enough. And it’s sort of sad and unfulfilling. I don’t need a lifelong relationship, any applause, a medal. I don’t wish to be a forest fire lasting weeks and upheaving the entire state of California. I don’t need a 4.0 GPA or to redo senior prom or to never get hurt, literally or figuratively. I’m just tired of being a series of lists, intangible dreams, time trials, practice runs, little flirty flings, or meaningless readings and homework assignments that only make up 5 % of my grade. I’m maybe sick of being the dull spark and the burn out. I want to pace myself and peak when I’m supposed to, like the race at all states, the Biochem final. I want to be a lasting impression, a steady flame. I want to go on a 20th date with someone and for it to feel better than the first, and I want to give myself little by little instead of all at once. I want the greatest parts of me to still be hiding up my sleeve, only to emerge at the right time as a shock later on, when it counts, and I want to win something important, to succeed in something that matters, put my best shoes away for a rainy day (not a literal rainy day, that would ruin the shoes, but you get what I mean). I don’t regret all of my burnouts because the tiny pre-burn-out pieces were great. There’s always so much greatness crammed into one tiny, tiny, bit of infinity, but it is, undoubtedly, an infinity nonetheless. There’s much to be said about sparklers, about that one 8-hour art project, that summer of 50 miles a week, of Acing 2 AP classes at the same time, of that especially great first date, and of first impressions. And something too to be said about getting up after each trip up, stress fracture, panic attack, heart break, of each burn out, and picking right up and moving straight onto another fire without looking back. I am proud of my bright burning passionate moments, tiny victories, and beautiful little collections of infinities. Part of me will always be feeling too much too soon, writing overambitious plans, running way too fast, saying too much to too many people-part of me will always be fleeting. But part of me also is big and important and long-term. There is as much marathon in me as sprint, an insatiable hunger, an endurance that refuses to give up or disappoint. And for sure, there is a newfound part of me who wants desperately to last, and who will.