I have a very mean side. Sometimes she is mean to other people but most of the time she’s just mean to me. Her name is Pepper because she looks exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in Iron Man and she is driven and smart and waaaay too perfect but sort of out of touch with reality. Before I named her Pepper, I didn’t exactly realize she existed. I just knew that I felt bad or worried or like I wasn’t good enough sometimes. But then I decided to become friends with her and everything changed.
I wrote her a letter this week. This is what it said:
I want you to know that I hear you. I hear you when you say:
Your house is a disaster. Again. You should be ashamed.
Those people probably think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
and That kind of success is for other people…not for you.
I’ve noticed that you are also a worrier on worry steroids. I hear you when you dream up things that could happen to me or the people I love, and then tell me about them in great detail as though that is going to in any way prevent them.
I used to silence you by eating a cookie or buying something I simultaneously didn’t need and had to have from Target. But you are very persistent. You always showed up. Once the cookie was gone or the chic Target item looked completely ridiculous in my house, there you were reminding me that I just spiked my blood sugar and wasted money. Again.
I want to tell you that it’s so much better now that we are friends and that I am sorry. I’m so sorry for not listening to you for such a long time because I know what it feels like to be trying to share a message and nobody is listening. Now I know you just need me to listen and say, “Ok Pepper I hear you. Thanks for sharing your concern. You can relax now. I’ve got this.” just like I would to anyone else who disapproves of me or is in a worry frenzy. Then I get to decide if I believe you or not.
You lie 100% of the time (I checked) but I still believe you sometimes because you are very convincing. I know you have good intentions. I am not mad at you. I’m glad your expectations are so high because you keep me on my toes and striving for more. And I want you to know that even though I don’t agree with you most of the time, I do hear you. I’m listening.
I love how funny you are. You come up with some great material about seemingly neutral topics like dinner time, yoga pants and the happenings in between meetings at church.
I also know you think you are protecting me. You think you are saving me from the pain and sorrow and embarrassment and shame that life can invite. The thing is Pepper, I can handle it. I have tried out those feelings and none of them are anything I can’t deal with. They never stay long and they always teach me something very valuable. I’m supposed to have those feelings while I’m here livin’ this thing called life. They make the sweet parts even sweeter by the way.
So while I am glad to know you, I am also totally on to you. I know you are like a really good attorney whose client is guilty. You don’t even know they’re guilty, but they are. So keep doing your job and I’ll keep listening and just know that I totally get why you do what you do. And it’s ok. I love you anyway. I really do.
Let’s hope nobody with a basic understanding of spelling or grammar reads this letter. Am I right?
What do call your mean side? Tell me about her in the comments below!
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