Red Flags

I saw a few green flags
And I was off to the races.
Then I saw some yellow ones
And slowed down a little.
But was told to dismiss them,
That it was in my head.
Slowly, one red flag appeared
And then another.
Two red flags in a sea of green.
Even with the green flags clearly outnumbering them
It was hard not to notice the colour contrast
Because they still stood out
I was told, I needed to ignore them.
Because if I focused on the little red flags
That were really yellow, except that my eyes were playing tricks on me,
Then I’d never reach the finish line.
“You’re being too critical, too analytical, too judgemental”
But as I neared closer and closer
The flags started waving in the wind
And slowly
Almost every last one turned red.
Now nobody had to convince me;
I was convincing myself
That I was colour blind
And that my reds and greens were all mixed up.
They’re green, they had to be.
I wouldn’t have gone this far if they weren’t.
They just had to be green.
In truth, I learned
That the flags were double sided – one side red, and one side green
And the more speed I picked up,
The faster they waved –
Red, green, red, green
Making me stop, and go, stop, and go
So fast that I got whiplash.
I wanted to quit the races altogether.
“Don’t make your current dates suffer
Because of your previous dates’ mistakes,”
A friend told me, months later.
Easier said than done.
How do I know which flags
Are really green
And which ones are really red?
What if I spot a green flag and declare it red,
Or a red flag and declare it green?
What if someone else does it for me?
If I’ve learned anything,
It’s that the flags may look different from different perspectives
And the only view that matters
Is mine, because
I’m the one in the driver’s seat,
Trying to get to my finish line.

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