A Letter From Self to Self

Hey Self,

How are you? You good? No, of course you’re not good. If you were good, I wouldn’t need to send you this letter. I’d just be eating toast on the beach, far away from meta epistolaries. But hey, you know what? It’s ok. Go ahead be not good. I like you anyway.

Now hold on a second. You got all recoil-y when I told you that I liked you! What was that about? Remember those pill bugs that you used to collect with you were a kid? And if you touched them underneath, they rolled up into little balls? That’s kind of what you did when I told you I liked you. That seems like a bit of an overreaction! I like you I like you I like you. No, seriously! I really do!

OK, fine. I don’t have a good track record. I know that I’ve told you a lot of mean things in the past. I am always shouting at you that you are too sentimental, not strong enough, weak, selfish. And yeah, I am the one who woke you up in the middle of the night just to tell you that you were fat and ugly. These are not my proudest moments. I just bring all this up to be transparent. I haven’t always been the best to you.

Yeah, no, you’re right. It was even worse than that. You’d cry and I’d tell you to suck it up. You’d feel angry and I’d tell you you had no right to feel angry. I was the queen of “Get Over It, Loser!” That made it worse, and I can see that now. I really thought I was helping you. At least, I know I told you I was helping you. I told you I was protecting you, and you believed me. Maybe I secretly knew, somewhere inside myself, that it wasn’t actually all that helpful. I’m sorry. 

And um, I didn’t want to have to bring this up, but it’s probably best to get it all out in the open. In the past, sometimes I got physical. I starved you. I filled your lungs with smoke. When I was done starving you, I fed you lots of sugar and pizza — so much that you would get really, really sick. I starved you again! I worked you too hard on the treadmill. I forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to. I cut you. I burned you. I waxed all the hair off your body. I’m so, so sorry.

I don’t blame you for not trusting me. Because really, I’ve been pretty terrible to you for the past 30 years or so. And what’s worse, I can’t promise you I’m fully reformed. Sometime, when things are really bad, I bet I’ll bully you again. Look, I’m just being realistic. I want you to try to remember this time right now, where I am telling you that it’s not your fault. You are really great. I like you.

There. See? You’re starting to believe me. But maybe I need to take it a step further. I don’t just like you. I love you! You are a wonderful person. Think of all the things you can do! You can read and move your body around and you can help other people feel good. You’ve got really great hair, and I like how you smell. I even like how your FARTS smell! I mean, who else can I really say that about? No one. 

I know it’s going to take a while for you to learn to believe me. I’ll try to tell you more often. I’ll try to be kinder, I’ll try to remind you why you’re great. (You are, ok?) And when you’re sad, I’ll try to remind you that that’s ok; everyone gets sad and sadness is normal. When you’re mad, I’ll believe that your anger is justified, and I’ll try to give you space to feel it. Even when you’re mad at me. It’s going to take a long time for you to forgive me. 

I’m gonna lay off the stories about how other people don’t like you, or judge you, or think you’re ugly, or don’t believe you are capable. For that matter, I’m also gonna lay off the idea that you should care at all about what other people think! I think you’re great. I love you. I LOVE YOU!

A Million Loves,