Dear Self Respect,

Normally I get by just fine without you, but today I am curiously annoyed by your sudden appearance and then mysterious absence. This is from a twenty-eight-year-old woman who still drapes herself in curtain material every other weekend and shouts “huzzah” at mostly single nerdy guys who like to hit each other with pretend swords and be known as “Lord Romplebottom the Valiant.” We had an unspoken agreement, Self Respect: I wouldn’t bother you if you didn’t bother me.

You were comfortably absent during my high school years, allowing me to date a guy who was seriously “amazed” at his own “brilliance” and indulge in the all-important world of extracurricular activities, like band. I can still play the chromatic scale on three instruments. You left me well alone during my undergraduate years where I developed the above predilection to dressing in sofa upholstery, as well as drinking mead from a tankard that read “Rocktoberfest”. You gave me a wide berth when I wrote my thesis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you still allow me to brazenly declare as a postgraduate that I “study vampires for a living”—while completely sober.

So why did you have to show up yesterday and throw a spanner in the works and then sneak out like a cheap one night stand without so much as a “Thanks for the memories”? I was perfectly happy degrading myself with a much younger “friend with benefits” and reveling in my cougar-in-training status when you decided I deserved better. Yes, I admit that I possibly was delirious and drunk on cough syrup as I sat on the couch yesterday with pneumonia, watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns (ok, it was really Twilight) all alone, when you infiltrated my defenses in my weakened state.

You, Self Respect, decided I deserved soup and sympathy in a relationship, rather than wild drunken monkey sex and no strings. You slipped into my psyche and inevitably, having too much time and broadband on my hands and intoxicated with my newfound feelings of self worth and Lemsip, I descended into an epic display of oblique-but-passive-aggressive Facebook posts. Self Respect, I added quotations from an unrequited, emo-teenage werewolf to my profile. Sadly, my therapist would probably call this progress.

Then, after my cough-syrup induced righteous crusade, Self Respect, you dissipated as enigmatically as you appeared. And now, without the warm loving amber embrace of my honey-flavored elixir and the empowering strains of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” I am left to clean up the mess you left behind and explain what I meant by “those text messages.” Please do me a favor and just leave me be next time, or at least give me advance notice so I can direct you toward a worthwhile cause like mine subsidence.

Self Respect, I’ve managed without you so far and have only made questionable—rather than disastrous—life choices as my usual shameless self. So, like the rain, please go away, but do not come again another day.

Cate Santilli