Think of potential as a grape. Think of it growing taut with flesh and juice, made from dirt and sunshine and rain. From gnarled roots and vines of twine, with leaves of harsh vein, potential grows. This potential, when it is smashed and exposed to the elements, becomes intoxicating. The thought of potential inherits flavor and stirs as it ages. When it is drunk, when it is consumed, it becomes. It achieves and is ambitious. Think a grape as potential. It cannot be the same as wine.

The first taste of the wine is shocking like a strobe light. It flashes through, coating the tongue, slipping down the throat, tickling the tonsils on the way. Let us consider it red wine. Red wine with body, kick and the velvety prickle to numb the neurons. Is the potential of the wine wasted on me? Am I not educated enough to distinguish the subtle text of the year and grape? Certainly not. Wine and potential are art, it is not wasted, merely unused, unappreciated, lost. (Except for the media, the media makes wine big in Wine Spectator). I still appreciate wine and art and the subtle text, but the wine and the potential it earned and the potential in me, I cannot comprehend.

When my parents would return from parent teacher conferences. My mom always smelled of perfume and a heady air of evaluation weighed down our rust carpeted living room floor. Each year was the same, it was almost a holiday. My sister always achieved stellar marks, and I always received a resounding "Full of Potential". Yup.

This potential was merely a euphemism used by my elementary school teachers to pad over the harsh words; uninterested, hyperactive, lost. I was more than these things and I can use selective hindsight to distinguish my soul from the rest.

At that time, I needed more than the California Achievement Test to gauge my potential. I wanted to know how many crabapples my potential weighed. I wanted to compare it to others, make it grow like a giant pumpkin and flaunt it. I never thought much about the posturing until I discovered what the potential was for.

When I discovered the potential for my purpose, I wanted to hide it, tuck it under my pillow and wish upon it each night. My purpose lives in me like a manic lunatic. It pounds at my senses and generates anxiety like a fast food restaurant. My purpose is a coward, a drunk, stubborn. It will not allow the potential to meet it, seduce it, move it. My purpose remains as recluse as J.D. Salinger. My potential just remains.

If potential is just a cliché, a hope, then I want nothing of it.

OK, I'd like to imagine that the term "Tapping into your Potential" is a metaphor of tapping into a barrel of wine. It might make this idea gel. A figurative letting loose. HA! Beside the joke, we're still stuck with the concept of potential and what to do with it. How do we channel it? Might ambition be a second step, and how do failure and success pose as variables to the final outcome? Easy questions to answer if you have ambition and are successful. Difficult answers if you remain taut, unsquashed.

Meanwhile…

The potential of the wine and the purpose of a heavy buzz are achieved. As it shakes through me, I wonder about marinating a tenderloin in this rich Italian wine. I think about searing the medallions in garlic infused olive oil, and serving it with sautéed green beans and a wasabi, sour cream covered potato. Oh, don't forget the biscuit. If you have the potential to be hungry, raise your hand.

Potential is infinite, no chart can express the graph. Texas Instruments and IBM and Algebra text writers will never, ever graph potential. They might see it in an eye of a soul, they might even see that eye in their bathroom mirror. Potential remains the precept of the meaning of life. If we neglect it and forget it, we begin to resent it. If we spy out fake potential, social climbing wannabees, we chafe and grumble and feel superior, yet defeated. We build up and allow it to slip away like sand in an hourglass. Don't regret it, and don't tap into it. Just take it for a ride. Bring a bottle of wine and find a nice soul to share it with.

Speaking of the nice soul (as a muse)

The potential in you is wondrous. I wish right now that I could spoon you close under the down on this brink of a Minnesota Winter. I wish that I could smell you and run my finger dot-to-dot through the freckles between your breasts.

A brief potential of love, but don't stray from the stigma. Allow potential to flow, breathe, evolve. Take a bit at a time and monitor your progress. Do not be discouraged and remain full of hope. This is the potential they cannot chart, it is in you.

Take it and run with it. Drink it down, feel it soak into you. Use it to succeed. Knead ambition to help you. I believe in you.

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