To The Voices in My Head That Tell Me to Eat Nothing but Carrots for Dinner:
Congratulations. You are, seriously and unequivocally, REALLY DAMN EFFECTIVE. I’m guessing it doesn’t matter a great deal to you, but I don’t even like carrots. You know what I wanted to eat for dinner? I wanted a grilled cheese. Emphasis on cheese. I wanted fries with that grilled cheese, and maybe even an overpriced chocolate milkshake. But you—YOU—are just so goddamn good at what you do, I had eight baby carrots and a glass of water, and I’m guessing that just about made your month.
Your powers of persuasion aside, I also have to commend you for whatever it is you do that convinces me the mirror is a dirty, dirty, lying liar. See, I look in the mirror and count my ribs and am on the verge of saying, “I shouldn’t be able to see those.” But then, because you are so accomplished at convincing me that I’m actually bat-shit insane, I look again and realize I am actually quite morbidly obese. Yes, I might still be able to count my ribs, but you somehow, miraculously, manage to make that fact coexist with my OBVIOUS morbid obesity. That seems to bend the laws of space, time, and physics, so you absolutely deserve some accolades for that particular magic trick.
More than anything, I have to applaud you for undermining my survival instinct to such a degree that, some days, I find myself LOOKING FORWARD to death. I mean, how is THAT possible? We hear stories about people fighting off rabid rapists, about people gnawing off their own limbs to escape when trapped, about the urge to survive transcending even those situations wherein one’s demise is imminent and unavoidable. Human beings are hardwired to fight for life tooth and nail, to accept defeat only when there is literally no other recourse… and yet, because y’all are so fucking talented, I’m actually EMBRACING my mortality and ANTICIPATING my release on the mortal coil. Someday, you’re gonna have to tell me how you’re accomplishing this. It might behoove you to do so sooner rather than later, though.
We’ve been together for a long time, haven’t we? Not many people believe us, but we’ve actually been colleagues for twenty three of my thirty one years. The half-life of many radioactive substances is less than that; I’ve been hearing you for longer than I’ve been menstruating, for god’s sake. I suppose I should admit that I would be lonely without your company. Who would keep me up at night? Who would stop me from buying those leggings that make my thighs look like a sumo wrestler’s? Who would remind me that, even though I might be feeling particularly saucy on any given day, I’m still utterly worthless as a Homo sapien? I don’t think any substitute could affect me like you do… certainly none of this therapeutic psychobabble I’ve heard so much about.
Voices in my head, I am SUPER EXCITED to hear what you have to say next. Will it be more systemic self-loathing? Will it be instructions to take the fourteen flights of stairs to my destination, elevator be damned? Might it even be the whispered urge, the steady peer pressure to press blades to my skin, because… let’s face it… does my skin REALLY deserve to be intact? Every day is a new adventure when it comes to your dialogue with my inner monologue, and I find myself waiting on pins and needles like I do for each Game of Thrones episode for your sage wisdom. What will tomorrow bring, you Greek chorus of negativity dictating my every action? Any possibility of your letting up a bit? I know that’s a huge imposition, taking away the very purpose of your presence and all, but it’s been a long twenty-three years and I have a headache.
Tell you what, we’ll compromise. I promise not to eat any simple sugars or saturated fats, if you stop reminding me what a waste of oxygen I am when I eat simple sugars or saturated fats. I’ll keep parking at the very back of the parking lot, forcing me to walk half a mile to the shopping mall or pharmacy, if you’ll take a break from lecturing me for not spending that extra forty minutes on the elliptical. Most importantly, I will remain in mortal terror of gaining weight if you would just do me the simple favor of shutting up for fifteen minutes, rendering the brief silence in my head the loudest thing I’ve heard in over two decades.
I Remain Ever Your Faithful Servant,
Shannon L. F. Greenstein