A long time ago I read this short story by Lorrie Moore called, "You're Ugly Too." The title comes from a punchline to a joke that goes something like this - A patient goes to see his doctor and is stunned when the doctor tells him he only has six weeks to live. The patient says he wants a second opinion, and the doctor says, 'Okay...you're ugly, too.'
It's been a 'You're ugly, too,' kind of time lately. 'Along with you regular failings, Rebekah, you're ugly too.'
Dear Miss Scott,
We relish the opportunity to inform you, not for the first time, that you have failed at everything you have tried to accomplish in your dim and undistinguished life. Below is a brief enumeration of your primary shortcomings.
One - You have no ability to attract the opposite sex, and you will never find love or companionship or even an amiable acquaintance with a human male. You are a fool to think or act otherwise, and you only embarrass yourself when you do so. People are laughing at you, Miss Scott. In the future you would be better served to keep these desires to yourself.
Two - You are woefully underemployed, and lack the mental acuity and perseverance to succeed in any field of employment. No one takes you seriously, and you will continue to be surpassed by your peers, all of whom have the intellect and stamina to thrive in professional environments.
Three - You do not fit in at church, and you never will. You have known this to be true for many years. Regular reminders of this fact will continue to be sent to you.
Four - We cannot offer you a more blunt statement than the readout on a scale could provide. That you gained weight in the first place, and that you have been unable to lose this weight over the course of a lifetime is an indication of the fundamental weakness in your character. You can never make up for the time and opportunities you have lost, but remediation of this problem would at least decrease the burden you presently are on the healthcare system, and the visual offense you present to those who find excessive weight to be unappealing.
Five - You're ugly, too.
Your acceptance of the above is assumed, and noted in the record.
The Committee on Life
Sometimes I hate the mortal mind. It can twist and darken and poison so subtly, but so fiercely. At the same time that you absolutely know negative feelings about your worth and capacities aren't true, they can still ring with such strong reverberation through you're brain. Anything that rings that deeply shouldn't be ignored, right? You wouldn't feel something so deeply if it was wrong, would you?
That's what I struggle to explain to people about depression - the dichotomy of pure truth and perceived truth that you can hold in tandem in your brain. Trying to separate the two and expel what is false wears you out and wears you thin, but at the same time it can just feel...normal? Like the standard way a life works?
But sometimes I think the best thing you can do is not try to solve anything, just say to yourself, 'Oh well,' and push pause on the great effort to Figure Things Out. To not get tangled up in the exhausting gymnastics involved in maneuvering the minefield of your thoughts and just...
To the Committee on Life,
Your most recent letter has been received.
I mean, who do they think they are, anyhow?