The Cost

I recently found myself in a position where I was asked to play up a personal tragedy to get myself pitied into a job. The tragedy in question was fairly recent, and has permanently made my world a little grayer. Could I really trivialize such an incident just to make money?

The cliché goes that desperate times call for desperate measures. But what is the cost of desperation? I can get myself a job, maybe even get really successful at it and earn a sizable paycheck, all because I wasn’t true to myself that one time. One day, I may lose that money, and then get it back again with another job. But there is still that little piece of me, that tiny nugget of honesty that I gave up to get there. And that’s never coming back. Every morning, I’ll wake up and look at myself in the mirror, staring at that missing piece in my reflection. That is too high a cost.

People are always trying to climb the tower of success, tripping each other to get closer to the pinnacle. I wonder what they see in their reflection, if it scares them. Perhaps it doesn’t. Perhaps the cost is just right for them. Or maybe they can afford better mirrors. There is only one way to know, but I will not pay that cost. The climb isn’t worth it.

So I chose a different path. It’s quite steep, and I can’t even see the top from down here. But I looked in the mirror this morning and smiled. My reflection smiled back.

It felt whole.   

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