An Open Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

Dear me! What a couple of years it’s been for both of us!

I just wanted to let you know that I’m still here. In spite of everything, I’m still hanging on, somewhere on the periphery of consciousness. The panic has subsided a bit–I’m getting a little more comfortable with the face I see now in the mirror each morning. (Never seems to be the same one twice, lately.) I’ve learned to recognize the sound of my own voice–sorry, your own voice–again.

Still, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken, and high time we caught up with each other. I’m anxious to know how things are going on your side of the fence. Truth be told, I don’t really talk much at all lately, with anyone, about anything. I find it much too confusing; too much information, you see, too many conflicting images bouncing around the ether. I can’t keep them separate as efficiently as I once could–nothing is discrete anymore–everything’s all lumped together, continuous, distinctly gray. Black and white aren’t what I once thought they were: always mixing, as soon as I think I’ve deconstructed them, taken them apart and categorized them individually, always coalescing into a spectrum of indefinability. The one thing I’m sure of is that I’m no longer sure of anything…

Anyway, how are you doing, out there in the light, the visible to my invisible? Seen anything interesting, anything new? A wise man once said there is nothing new under the sun. How do you respond? Is it that there really is nothing new to experience, or is it simply that we refuse to look at anything from a new angle, a new perspective? Are all perspectives forced? Forced upon us, by who knows what?

Upon reflection, I don’t know that any thought I’ve ever had has been truly my own. Our own. I don’t know that there are any truly original thoughts left out there to be had. We humans have been around for a long, long, long time, after all: every new word seems a rehash of something already spoken, every new image a reinvention of something already pictured. It never ends, this giant circle we travel, over and over again, ad infinitum. Ad nauseam.

I’m not worried, though, at the end of the day. Even though we have become distant, you and I; even though the wall between us is a hard one–maybe an impossible one–to breach. One of us is the real one–I’m not sure which–but one of us is, and whichever one is real needs only the tiniest push to pierce the surface and breathe real air once again. Just one tiny push. The tiniest of pushes…

So, my friend, the best of luck to you. This fight for survival may get ugly, but I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere. And the day of reckoning approaches. We will meet again, and the truth will out. The circle will be completed.

I will return.

Dear Person…

Dear Person I Don’t Know Who Was Kind Enough To Write Today And Point Out The Error Of My Ways,

I am sure that to you this unwonted (and unwanted) interference in my daily life counts as “caring about me.” Allow me to put your mind at ease: There are plenty of folks “caring about me” as we speak. In fact, they’re doing their best to “care” me right out of existence.

I’m also sure that you will take this response as evidence that I am in need of this “care” you so generously have tossed my way. All I will say to this is that, in spite of the fact that once, long ago, I disagreed with you on Facebook (and we all know how very intellectually charged Facebook exchanges are), you really don’t know enough about me to make a decision as to my need or lack thereof in this regard. Perhaps if you had started by asking how I am, or what I believe/stand for, instead of just quoting inane biblical passages at me in passing, I might be more inclined to send a modicum of attention your way. As it stands…not so much.

I’m almost certain that, having thought of me, the lowly apostate, it came as a complete surprise to you that the first story to pop into your head was the one about the prodigal son. I mean, that’s how God works, right? You’re just sitting there thinking about someone, and a passage of scripture comes completely out of left field, leaving you wondering how the connection was made, unexpected as it was. Downright miraculous! Must have been divine intervention…

Finally, I expect that my response to your intrusion will confirm the justice (nay, the godliness) of your concern. You have struck a blow for the Truth, the Gospel, and the Christian way! Well, bully for you! If all those things boil down to bugging the unwary with condescending and unsolicited advice, you have indeed done it. You can rest easy: message received.

By the way, in case you’re interested, that message goes something like this: “As a Christian, living in a world full of evil, violence, poverty, and despair (often within a stone’s throw of my door), I can think of nothing better to do than reach out and bother someone I don’t even know about the ways I think he isn’t living a sufficiently moral life.”

Takes one to know one…

Sincerely, Me