Knowing Your Limits


United States

By: Lgoan Peninger

Luminescent hazel eyes watch its target from a distance as its razor like claws were being sharpened

It creeps and crawls through the silky curtain of darkness as if nonexistent

She feels its presence as icy blotches of needles create swamps of moisture on her freckled skin

Concentrate and Devour, it says in a whisper as its long snake like tongue licks its pale crackled lips


Cold iron rings clank and ring as she jerks her legs from the table, but found it futile

Mountains upon mountains of the torturous vortex of her academic prison lay in front of her, making her training even more brutal

Concentrate and Memorize, it whispered hungrily


It sat on its golden bejeweled throne too weak to speak, too weak to move

Mistakes meant failure; mistakes meant a heavy burden to fall on her shoulders

She had to succeed to prevent costly mistakes for it laid ready to feed


Frugal and demeaning it expected nothing else than perfect as she continually struggled through each day, week, month, and year

She continued her climb against the rocky, unnatural terrain of the academic behemoth of life with it on her bruised and weight stricken shoulders as she rose to a new frontier

Its motto was there was no limit, so she was molded to believe it too, to never question it

Expectations rise as success grows


She never wished for it to control her and more importantly define her, but its greed for perfection

Transformed into her greed unknowingly.

In time nothing else mattered

It continued to parasitically suckle off of her addiction of being in the academic limelight as it leeched and lived off of her brain

Its and her only nourishment was consistent repetition of studying to yield higher rates of perfection

She dammed everything till tears became her second friend as isolation slyly took a back seat to the action unfolding

She wanted to scream till no air remained in her plump lungs; to hide in the deepest shadows but it wouldn’t let her leave as it yanked her leash

Concentrate and Devour, Concentrate and Memorize- It demanded of her

Her best wasn’t good enough, now


She was fragile as her second and third year of high school approached

Anything negative could break her, destroy her


The feeling of mental devastation caused her to wobble violently off the thin rope she was brutally trained to balance on her entire life which gave her no sympathy or mercy

She fell with a velocity of a freight train from the beautiful, serine, crystal skies to the concrete rock of the earth


It thrashed and fought to regain control as she laid crumpled with a waterfall of tears escaping her hazel eyes


She refused to let it conquer her once again.

It left involuntarily brutally beaten to search for another naïve victim yearning for continually academic success


She learned to create limits….

Concentrate and Breathe

Concentrate and remember this is the best she can do

Absorb this knowledge…… love yourself

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes she broke free from her the burden that it placed on her for eleven years

It made her believe that perfection was possible





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