The State of the (Emotional) State Address

4:22 AM

Dear Miss Bergmann,

Just today I got the report of your recent thinkings and feelings. Your comings and goings were, as you already know, unsatisfactory; and after picking through them, I felt the need to examine what was turning the wheels in your overactive brain. They (my office staff) conducted a thorough investigation officially wrapped up in a twenty-six page report. Upon perusal, the first word that comes to my mind is this: Really? 

I don't know what else to say to you. The stuff that clutters your brain is ridiculous. What, I see something about sniveling over somebody not liking you -- in your opinion, at least -- and, good heavens, a half dozen panic attacks over a cryptic eyebrow raise or voice inflection from your friends (who you doubt really want to be your friends). You spent an entire three nights dissecting one conversation with one person and then whining because you couldn't sleep. And you thought that'd gain sympathy. (You did, didn't you? Oh, me.)

I have none to spare. I can't feel sympathy for you when you went on a clinging rampage for the past several weeks, obsessing over your relationships and placing all your worth in people who aren't worth it to you. I would if you were in the sixth grade and hadn't learned this lesson ten times over, but you knew -- you did! The report reported it repeatedly! -- that you were being annoying and morose and then (I don't know whether to laugh or bawl) you sulked all the more because you didn't want people thinking you were annoying and morose.

The report shows that you didn't think one original thought in the past few weeks. Not one. You thought your friends' thoughts after them (all concerning you, of course). You molded yourself into who they thought you were -- or who you thought they wanted you to be. You didn't stick up for anything that you loved or cared about; you only cried over how they didn't agree with you and you didn't want to agree with yourself.

Now, I give you some leeway when you genuinely care about somebody and want to make her happy out of pure selflessness -- which is a rare occurrence but not too foreign to somebody who likes people in general. I know moderation is hard for you when love is concerned. But you didn't really care about anybody these past few weeks, did you? I'll spare you the trouble of thinking: no. You only cared when they cared about you, and you obsessed yourself with knowing every jot and tittle of their thoughts toward you. You were so self-absorbed that you didn't realize that the most distressing thing about the situation was your imagination.

I've warned you that if I caught you at this game again I wouldn't go easy. It isn't because life's cruel and won't let you sleep in on improving yourself. It isn't because you're hopeless and I like to pick on you. It's because you are so beyond these babyish social skills that I rap your knuckles. I know you can do better. You've got a temper and an opinion; you're not limp-minded and weak-willed by nature. You don't concern yourself about how you look and you're not worried about your weight and you don't struggle with popularity, usually. You don't have the excuse to be insecure because you're not. You don't have the luxury to play victim because you aren't. You don't have the temperament to cry over socially spilled milk. You're a big girl. It won't kill you to come out of your messy introvert's cave and live.

In fact, after reviewing your case, I prescribe just that.

Your Conscience

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7 impressions

  1. Hehe . . . oh dear. I thought I was the only female who received such letters from my conscience.

    How many times must a re-learn that my intorverted, inner-looking habits are selfish? How many times do I need to get myself in an emotional stew before realizing that looking at self always is depressing and/or trouble-in-the-making?

    Thanks for sharing this. I read it to my brother, who didn't understand a bit. I think it's because he's a boy and deals with different issues. Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

  2. "The report reported it repeatedly! -- that you were being annoying and morose and then (I don't know whether to laugh or bawl) you sulked all the more because you didn't want people thinking you were annoying and morose."

    I, on the other hand, had no doubt. I laughed. And then giggled again when I reread the line pasting it into this comment. However, I also differ from your conscience in that I do have sympathy for you. A ton of sympathy in fact, because it doesn't matter that you are no longer in sixth grade and ought to know better. I am 42 and still can fall into that self-absorbed state of obsessing pointlessly over what others are thinking about me. At least you are keeping your sense of humor and providing us all with a gentle, and always helpful, reminder. :-)


  3. Oh, so I'm not the only one that gets these things? ;)

  4. Are you sure you didn't copy that from the report my own conscience drew up recently? Wow, Bailey. You have such a gift for putting everyone's emotions and failures into your own firm yet sympathetic words. Thank you so much!

  5. Very, very nice post. Thank you for your honesty. I can't say I've ever struggled this much socially, but I struggle a lot with many, many other things, and your "letter from your conscience" was very helpful and enlightening. Thank you for putting yourself "out there", even the parts that most people would like to hide, because that's what helps others the most, and we all need to be helped and encouraged.

  6. I know that commenting on such an old post is a little ridiculous, but I loved this so much that I just had to. Thank you for such a fresh, thought-provoking post! I'm a new follower, and I think I might be just a tad addicted. As evidenced by the fact that I'm reading posts from last year.=D -Maddy


Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)