Dear Cookie Monster, age 20ish,
Thank you for your letter. It was refreshing to see that all out in the open rather than just creeping around the corners of my mind turning everything to rot. (No offense. But actually yes, take offense). I think of your words as like something that smells really bad in a cartoon and makes the wallpaper curl and the flowers die.
You intimidate me.
You’re mostly right about things, or have been in the past, so ignoring your words scares me. If you think I can’t do something and I try anyway, your voice will be whispering in the back of my mind the whole time. And when I do finally give up, you’re always the first one to say, “I told you so.”
So you think I’m pathetic, trying is pathetic, all these kind and good things I’m trying to bring into my/our life are pathetic.
Thanks, you’ve told me that a million times. Anything new?
Well, guess what? You’re actually the pathetic one. You just bring other people down for trying when you wouldn’t dare try yourself because you’re just as scared as the rest of us. You’re scared of trying and failing, so you don’t try at all. And you mock anyone who does try to make yourself seem bigger.
Alright, enough of this.
Getting mad at you and name-calling isn’t going to get anything done. All we do is fight, and what has ever come of that? This, where we are now.
You say I won’t succeed, that any success I achieve will be short-lived, and that this is just another scheme of mine to trick you guys into cooperating with me.
Well, I don’t have any objective that I want to meet and I’m trying to be as genuine and honest as I can and actually listen to you. That last bit is my only goal because I am so sick and tired of all the schemes and games. If you want noodles and chocolate and bread, then let’s go get some. I’m going to walk past all those shops while I’m outside today, so why the hell not? I seriously will do that. I don’t care about what I look like. I’m living somewhere new and no one knows me here, so I’m not worried about them thinking how “fat” and ugly I am. You guys have the reins, I’m not steering this thing. I’m just going to be here and hopefully talk to you.
You say I won’t know what to do when this whole thing backfires, or worse, when you guys stop talking to me, and you’re right, I don’t know what I’ll do.
I don’t have a plan. If you don’t want to talk, I won’t make you do anything. Maybe I’ll just talk until you’re so fed up that you tell me to stop, and that telling will technically be talking. Annoying, right?
I said to think of me as a big sister. I know that’s “sappy,” but I think it’s a pretty good analogy.
The only real difference between us is our age and the events that occurred between those times (there are a ton of reason why real siblings are different other than that, but just humor me). Because I’ve been through those experiences that you haven’t, I’ve gained some knowledge about things you haven’t had an opportunity to go through yet. If something I’ve learned will help you with your situation, then I’ll let you know and try not to be holier-than-thou and condescending when I do so. In return, there are probably lessons that I’ve forgotten but you remember because you just learned them, or maybe there are things I’ve learned that are harmful and I need to un-learn them.
The point is, I just want us to hangout and not try to accomplish anything.
I would love a taste of my own medicine, although I will probably resent it and you in the moment. And I’m not going to quit being myself because it embarrasses you. I get to be the embarrassing older sister with all the girly clothes and you get to be the goth/emo little sister who hates everything. How about it? I’m not going to try and change you. I think we will be great together because we are so different. I wouldn’t want you any other way than you are, and I hope you’ll grow to accept me as well.
Yes, I realize that I’m being preachy and new-agey again right now.
But I do genuinely think and feel this way. Or maybe I’m just trying to be this way because I feel like you need an adult sane rational role-model in your life. Either way, I hope you put up with me while I’m trying to figure things out. Like you said, I’m also a Cookie Monster and a future Ana is going to look back and say things to me as well that I don’t want to hear.
I am so tired.
I barely got any sleep last night because I was planning my rebuttal. Pretty lame, right? I think that surmises things pretty well: I’m tired. You’re tired. We’re all tired. I just want this fighting to stop so I/we can get some sleep and just be. There’s stuff I want to do with my life that I think you would find pretty cool if you gave me a chance.
Anyway, see you around. I look forward to/am dreading your next letter.
What would you say to your inner-critic?