I'm a big fan of stern compassion and it's usually very hard to find among writers: people seem to be afraid of making constructive comments, but those are the comments that actually make you grow.
You are absolutely right. I haven't given much thought to editing lately, and it shows. Now that I read this piece again, I see how it's overwritten and self-indulgent at several points. I'll definitely revisit the old stuff and rework it.
You might not see yourself as a teacher, but you've taught me something today. Thank you so much for your generous, thoughtful feedback.