Dear Skin & Soul,
I’m sorry for introducing so many changes to you at a time.
Skin, I’m sorry for getting excited when I get my paycheck and start spending it all on new skin products. I know that instead of blowing my money on such frivolous things, I really should take a preventative standpoint, and buy good and healthy things for my body to consume — organic fruits and vegetables, that spirulina shit my chiropractor recommended to me once… and yes, I shudder as I say this, but… even brown rice. Now, you’ll know I’m getting old when I buy that instead of white, which I so dearly love.
But see, Skin, these products — you don’t understand! Here I am, my obviously dispensable cash just dragging heavy in my pocket every two weeks, waiting to be spent on creams that could imbue my skin with the dewy quality you so often find on Korean YouTube bitches.
And to add to it, I lug these tubes and bottles home, and expect you to be able to take all of it simultaneously — on comes the new soy cleanser, then the new rose petal toner, then the new royal jelly bee night cream. None of that incremental approach. Just a “FUCK YES” in front of my bathroom sink, and away we go. Then I stand there smiling like an idiot, layers of goop on my face, waiting expectantly for my skin to transform, right before my very eyes.
And really, I am doing myself a disservice applying all of it at the same time — how the fuck am I supposed to know which product caused my Monday morning T-zone breakout? Gahhh, I’m in IT and I should know this — how do I troubleshoot what went wrong if I don’t go about this methodically?
Soul, I know you’re getting impatient and rolling your eyes at me, and believe me, I know I’ve done you wrong. I’ve done you so wrong.
But see, Soul, I’ve always been like this. I constantly put my life (and effectively, you) in upheaval, setting things on fire in yearly cycles. Dumping my boyfriend? Hellll yeah! And while we’re at it, why don’t I:
- move to a new apartment by myself,
- and get a new boyfriend who just so happens to be my ex’s roommate,
- and just multiply my social life by a thousand,
- and finally tell my family about my history of sexual abuse?
Yeah… that will go over well, right? I’ll become a better, more well-rounded person before I can even blink!
I just get so impatient with myself. I don’t do this in the slow, deliberate pace needed to give you time to heal. I go all in. I put you through so much heartache and loss at a time, sacrificing your well-being for my short term sense of fulfillment. Now, because of what I have done, you think yourself a lost soul, almost comparable to those wretches you read about in Dickens books and the BBC world news section. I’ve put you through a war, sending you off with just a day’s training and a pitchfork as a weapon.
I have to apologize to you. Because of me, you feel like an attention-seeking creature spawned from betrayal, deception, duplicity, impulse, detachment… all sorts of ugly things. I’m really not trying to make an excuse, but Soul, in order to survive, I have had to detach us. I’ve had to keep guilt at an arms length, so that when I hurt somebody, you are insulated. When I betray somebody, we’ll cry — but only for a short amount of time… just enough to give you a healthy taste of that guilt and still walk away intact. What I’ve feared all this time, and what’s been confirmed recently, is that you are incomplete, missing chunks of your flesh like the soldier you are.
I haven’t protected you the way I should have, Soul. Maybe I should take those preventative measures I mentioned with Skin. After all, aren’t you more important than she is? (Sorry Skin, it’s true, and you gotta make peace with that. Looks aren’t everything.)
But I don’t know, Soul. I can be as disciplined as possible to protect you, but life isn’t supposed to be calculated like that, and as the Shins say in “Girl Sailor”:
You are not some saint who’s above
Giving someone a stroll through the flowers,
You’ve got so much more to dream of
Oh girl, sail her, don’t sink her
Sometimes, change happens quickly and overwhelmingly. That’s how you and I grow stronger. We make mistakes in this accelerated pace. But I think you and I deserve a chance to pursue happiness, don’t you think?
And really, you’re being a drama queen, really you are — you’re not as bad off as you think. Your human made a mistake. Other Souls’ humans make mistakes — all the time. Aaaallll the time. Sometimes, we make them as a nation, as this year’s election results have certainly proved.
Anyway, I digress. All I can do now is make amends to you, and get you up and hobbling, and work on these ugly things that you seem to think you are—betrayal, deception, etc.— and make you realize you are not those things. You’ve definitely gone through them, because your human decided to act that way… but I take ownership of that. You shouldn’t need to.
So Soul, please just focus on recovering, accept my long overdue apology, know that I love you, and know that you’re strong.*
* * *
*Just a disclaimer though, you will be less insulated from now on, because I will try my best not to detach myself from other people’s pain, especially when I’m the cause of it. I know you’re ready for that, and that you’re strong enough now. We both are.