Day 14: A letter to your favourite teacher/professor
I have a few.
I go back and forth between thinking you don’t know what you’re doing, and trusting entirely that you have your shit together - because you totally do. It’s just hard to imagine sometimes that any faculty member at this school could possibly trust me, given that bad semester I had.
Thanks for trusting me. I know I’m capable, but it’s hard to convince anyone else sometimes. I look awful on paper, but you know better. Thanks.
You seem a little creepy sometimes, but I assume it’s all in my head. It’s probably your mustache/glasses combination. You sort of remind me of the generic “stranger” archetype we always saw in neighborhood safety PSAs as kids.
I’m glad you appreciate Battlestar Galactica as much as I do.
Dear Mrs. Wilson,
I never could tell if you hated me or not, but I liked you a great deal. Your AP English class was honestly the only class in my entire high school career that actually mattered. Nothing else was useful, and no other teachers got us as enthusiastic about learning as you did. I mean, you made us downright cocky about how intelligent we’d become under you.
I regret that I was dating that horrible boy during the time I was taking your class. I always came out into passing period, wanting to yammer on about something you taught us. He’d always scoff. He hated you on principle because you were a feminist, and he was a textbook misogynist.
Anyway, thanks for being cool. I liked the bright yellow refrigerator door you kept in your room. My parents, like everyone’s parents, stopped putting my As on the fridge when I left elementary school. So it was nice of you to put our good essays and tests on the class refrigerator door. It’s nice to get that arbitrary, traditional, childish recognition sometimes.
I hated you around the time I graduated from high school. Everyone was in tears at our commencement concert and ran up to hug you goodbye. I didn’t because I was sick of you.
I didn’t appreciate how much you stuck your nose into my life. After school, sometimes I dreaded going back to the band room to get my horn because I knew you’d poke out of your damn office and ask me to come in for a chat. “Marriage counseling” was what you called it. And after all that you knew about what was going on, you still worshipped your prodigious student. Yeah, he was a good player. But he hurt me, and you stood by supporting his decisions. You fucked up.
I miss you sometimes, though. It’s weird to think that I’m almost as old as you were when you were first my teacher. And that you were here at IU before me. I guess you made me laugh a lot. Wind-Ensemble became my favourite class. But sometimes I felt like I was walking on eggshells; your moods could change so suddenly, and without warning. I guess that’s why you loved Joey so much. You were both time bombs.
But you were still the teacher I was closest to. In that Stockholm Syndrome kind of way I’m so prone to. You forced your friendship on all of us, and we wound up lost when you left. And you were wise. You were good at giving advice, although not great at understanding when people couldn’t take it.
I guess this was more of a hate letter than a letter of appreciation. Still, I’m filing it under “letters to favourite teachers.”
I am disgusted, fascinated, disappointed, impressed, saddened, and occasionally content when I think of you. You’re like that friend I can’t really shake, but who has her good moments (usually drunk).
For one, I feel a little trapped by you. You’re my vehicle, my vessel, but I don’t feel like you ought to represent me all the time. You look nothing like I picture myself. You look angry and sturdy. You don’t look vulnerable or frail. Delicate. I’d like to be deceptively delicate. You don’t glow or sparkle like I think you ought to. When I’m in awe of something - a nice tree, a nice person, a nice film - my childlike wonder doesn’t manifest itself in your corporeal form. You can’t express anything I’d like you to express.
You’re never sexy. You rarely get called sexy. Or pretty. You’re not beautiful. Just “cute.” Like a big, dumb, round button. Kids are cute. Clumsy animals with floppy ears and paws are cute. It’s always been this way with everyone. Sometimes, damn you, I’d like to be sexy. That’s your homework, body, be sexier.
I like some stuff about you, though. I like how pale you remain, no matter the season. I like your fingers and toes, and how breakable they look. Your boobs are a tasteful size. When your lips aren’t dry and chapped, they’re alright. I also like the fact that you can’t burp. I’m sure it means something is wrong with you, but it’s a nice problem to have.
I also like how you do all of my work for me. I can move without really thinking about it; you get me from place to place without much strain. You digest my food for me - I only have to do the fun part, which is eating - you take care of breaking it all down so I can survive. Same goes for breathing and pumping blood, although I wish I had received a stronger, less jank heart (readers can take that literally, as I have a minor heart murmur, or as a tacky metaphor for my emotional coldness).
To be honest, you’ve come a long way. You still have ugly days, but they aren’t every day like they used to be. Sometimes I even think you’re sort of nice-looking. At least your skin is clear. You could probably stand to lose a few pounds, though.
I think I’ll take you to the doctor again soon and make sure you’re alright. You’re not what I would have chosen, but you’re what I have. I’ll always be here to live inside of you and, in my annoyingly neurotic way, obsessively care for you.
You’re kind of a bitch. And I’m just saying this because I’m your best friend - it’s not like I don’t like you. I’m still going to, like, hang out with you (as if I have a choice) and get breakfast with you, and I won’t untag all the photos of us, but you’re impossible to be around sometimes.
For one, you’re insane. I think you might actually be insane. You’re obsessed with always having something to be sad about, and why? Because you have fun being sad? Because it’s more fulfilling that way? Hell, you even liked being sad at parties. Like, you enjoyed going out to parties with the intention of having a lousy time. Who does that, you freak?
I guess you’re not going to parties any more, so. Problem solved.
Also, I don’t like your hair. You should do something with it. Don’t cut it again, but maybe find some way you can put it up where it’ll be 1.) Out of the way, 2.) Tolerable if it goes curly, and 3.) Not in that “I’m a snooty bitch, and this snooty hairstyle goes with my snooty glasses and snooty cardigan” thing you always do.
You’re selfish. But you’re also really fucking bad at being selfish because you keep doing things that make you unhappier and unhappier. I guess you just like to bring people down with you. You really ought to be locked up. Or pushed out of a cliff. Or out of your window. You keep eyeing that thing as it is.
Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?
You can’t bring back your teenage years. You can’t bring back sexual naivety and mystery and excitement. Or self-denial or oppression. Your recreation of those obstacles is kitschy and cheap. Grow up.
Most people like to be loved.
They like stability.
You like horrible things, like that lump you get before crying. You like being so sad that your skin is sore. That your sternum feels like it’s been scraped at and pulped with a knife. You like feeling lovely but unappreciated.
Sure, you also like feeling happy. But do you even know what that means any more? When was the last time you were happy? You can’t remember, because for as long as you can think back, you’ve made yourself feel like shit. And others along with you.
Day 11: A letter to the head of your faith (God, Allah, the Pope, whatever)
You are probably very _________ and I am __________ to have or not have you in my life. I don’t actually believe in god or an afterlife, although I’m sure it’d be awfully _________. I honestly can’t say much on this topic, given my lack of faith, but I do ask all the followers of _________ to maybe be more considerate to those of us who do not believe in _________. When you don’t, it starts holy wars. And I’m pretty sure _________ wouldn’t even appreciate that.
So, guys, if you want to go to ___________ when you die, please be a nice person. And don’t do it necessarily for that reward, or for __________. Do it for humanity.
Your campaign burned me out on politics. In my freshman year of college, I was knockin’ on doors and plastering signs on everything. I was registering folks to vote for you and chalking the campus with reminders and your “O” logo.
Then you took office and nothing really happened. I don’t know why I thought it might. I was all swept away by your kickass speeches and the fact that it was so progressive that you could be the first black president.
Truth is, Democrats and Republicans are different names for the same thing (name that Death Cab album!) and I’m sort of jaded to the political world. My beliefs align heavily to the left, but American “liberals” aren’t quite liberal enough for my taste. But no one, right or left, is going to fix the gap between classes.
It offends me when people call you a socialist. Man, I wish you were a socialist.
Also, you aren’t really what matters. Congress is what matters. Your policies and promises mean next to nothing compared to what they can do.
You should push for LGB and Trans rights more. And maybe fight back a little harder on the war against women. I know they’re hot topics, and you probably want to get reelected so you don’t want to do anything controversial, but still.
On the other hand, I like the fact that you’re casual and you’re all, “Fuck you, I don’t have to wear a tie right now.”
PS - This was the most boring one to write so far, because I really don’t care. The crap going on in other countries is a million times more interesting.
I can’t tell if I like you guys a lot more now just because I don’t see you very often, or if it’s because you finally stopped being crazy people. It’s probably the former, but that’s alright.
Let’s start with the bad stuff.
You made my childhood a little hellish. You constantly told me horrible things, like that I was the reason you both wanted to die, the reason for Dad’s heart concerns, and that I wasn’t the kid you wanted. You treated me like I was a “problem child,” even though I always got excellent grades, never got in trouble at school, my teachers loved me, and my idea of a good weekend was a night in with my friends playing board games and watching The Lion King. Truly, you were the only two people who told me I was bad. Even the shrinks you dragged me to thought the problem resided in my parents. But of course, every time they told you that, you’d tell them they didn’t know what they were talking about before shipping me off to a new one. It was exhausting, telling this to every new therapist and psychiatrist, knowing they couldn’t help me.
You smothered and confined me. You exposed me when I didn’t want to be exposed. You never gave me a place of my own. You didn’t let me keep a journal, or listen to rock music, or wear black. I don’t know of many parents who remind their children, “This is not your house. That is not your room, or your bathroom, or your clothes. Everything of yours is ours - we’re just nice enough to let you use it.” Consequently, you chose the colour I hate most for my bedroom walls. You nailed a crucifix above my bed. You told me which friends I could have, which clothes I could wear, and which music I could listen to. I wasn’t exactly what you had in mind when you thought to have a child, so you tried to force that image on me. There were times I thought I hated you for it. I don’t think my anger and my lashing out in response to this was shameful. I think you guys were pretty shitty sometimes.
On the other hand, I’m not the daughter you wanted, so now it’s sort of nice that I don’t live with you; I can be an acquaintance. A family member on the outskirts - the kind you always have to be nice to, because you don’t know them well enough to yell at them.
I honestly can’t wait until you don’t have financial leverage on me. Considering my academic plans, that might not be for awhile. But it’s still the day I’ll feel the most free.
On that note, I do honestly appreciate all you’ve done to help me pay for things - most notably the apartment I live in during the summertime. Living there, and not in Lafayette, helped me grow up quite a bit. I learned how to run my own place. Be isolated. Entertain myself. Keep things clean. Household tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and mailing bills. Sometimes it bothers me that the only support you lend is financial, but I guess you know (and love to remind me) just how easily you can take that away. So, thanks.
Some good/obligatory stuff, in bulleted form because none of it is quite as grim or deep as the dark childhood stuff:
I find myself wanting to have lunch with you more, Mom. I like sitting at a table with you and shooting the shit. I feel like you feel isolated and trapped, just like I do sometimes. I know you need to talk to someone when things are rough with Dad. And no one can talk shit about Dad with you like I can.
I’m also glad our midnight White Castle runs are still a tradition. I’m a pretty big fan of those.
Whenever we fight, I know the perfect mean thing to say to you. I hate that, and I’m sorry.
When you tell me about your young-adult self, it makes me sad. You were very free-spirited and sometimes downright reckless. I wish I could see that side of you have another day in the sun. You should get out of the house more.
Dad, you’re a big nerd and I think it’s cool as fuck. Your jokes aren’t funny, but you’re self-aware about it. That’s what makes it okay. I’m glad that, these days, when I tell you how my life is going, you find humour in the shittiest of situations.
I’m also glad you’re more realistic about “sins” than Mum is. I’ve come to you with a lot of problems I imagine most girls generally run to their mothers for, and I don’t mind. Mum thinks I’m a slut for having lost my virginity at 19. It’s nice to have someone defend me when she goes off about it.
I’m glad you got me into bands like Yes and The Velvet Underground. And that your bicycle is hipster as fuck. And that you think Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are overrated. And thanks for all the films you made me watch. Your high school pictures are something right out of the Look At This Fucking Hipster blog, except back then it was just “dork.” You were born in the wrong time.
I wish I could make you happier, but I’ll settle for those few talks we have in the kitchen late at night when I visit home. We always wind up laughing a lot, and I think that’s what you need.
Whelp, that was a great deal more depressing than it was meant to be, but overall I’m happy about my relationship with you guys right now. So we can’t live under the same roof without tearing each other’s heads off. That’s not so bad. Maybe that’s just what growing up means. I still love you a lot.
You make me feel like an asshole, but in a really classy I-have-money-and-I’m-cultured way. Which is probably the worst way. So fuck you. Also, can I fuck you? You’re the best ever and I love having your films on my shelves. I feel like you really get me, you know? We could probably go on a date and wind up sitting in a restaurant for a noticeably long but still comfortable and fun period of time talking about films. I’d pick at my food and chew on my straw and feel really self-conscious about my hair because OMG YOU’D BE SO DREAMY MANIFESTED IN HUMAN FORM.
Also, as snobby as you can be, I dig that you include contemporary American directors in your collection. Because, as a film student, I always hate how no one ever wants to name-drop a contemporary American director in class. That’d be too mainstream. But you call it as you see it and you don’t discriminate just because something is more accessible. Good on you, mate.
Dear St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub,
You should charge more than $5 for your product, because you could make so much money. And I’d be right there the whole time, supporting you becoming a corporate whore. You know why? Because you’re a god damn miracle product. My face is never too dry or too oily, and I never get breakouts any more. If there’s ever a blemish, it’s a lone blemish and it goes away pretty quickly.
Plus, you smell fucking fantastic.
I remember in elementary school and middle school, there was a distinct difference between people who watched your shows and made-for-TV movies, and people who watched other programs like Nickelodeon (represent). I never really got the Disney kids. They were like poster children for some kind of…conservative values outreach program. “Girls have to dress like this and enjoy these kinds of things!” “Boys have to have self-esteem issues and then talk to their fathers about it!”
All the girls in your shows for preteen girls are covered in lip gloss and sequins, and the way that translates to reality is having little harlot children running around the mall, buying lingerie and wearing eyeshadow. Probably blue eyeshadow, too, which is the worst ever. They’re too aware of their standing in the social hierarchy and its correlation to how attractive they appear to the opposite sex.
Your Disney princesses fucked us all up. I was really into Belle from Beauty and the Beast for a really long time (and in a way I still can’t stop loving that movie). But the thing is, she had Stockholm Syndrome. SHE DID. A horrible monster is mean to her, locks her up in a castle, and she falls in love with him. On some level, the unhealthy part of my brain is like, “Okay, hey, that’s kinda hot.” But every rational bit of me is screaming, “Wait, no! That doesn’t make sense! His characteristics are inconsistent! If he’s a beast, why is he all of a sudden nice!? Why does that redeem him for what he did? Why was I strangely more attracted to the Beast before he was changed back to human form OMG AM I UNCONSCIOUSLY INTO BESTIALITY?”
I identified with Belle because she was a nerd who rejected the big, burly man. Turns out she wanted an even BURLIER man to give her a whole library. Here, let me buy your love. I’m really rich. Have this ROOM in my CASTLE. I got you a bunch of pretty dresses. “Okay, Beast, NOW I like you!” At least, that’s how you wound up painting the picture.
And Ariel? What the fuck is that all about? Here, let me give away my VOICE to this evil witch so I can go fuck Prince Eric. And of course he falls in love with her - never mind the fact that she can’t talk, because look at those smokin’ legs! Ow OW!
You sort of almost did the right thing when you made Mulan, but you still suck.
What I’m trying to say is, you make really fun, quirky female characters and then destroy them. You “put them in their place” as women so that, by the end of the film, they aren’t who they were. They’re just some prince’s wife.
You’re not funny. I don’t laugh during any of your movies. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through one of my own volition. You look like you never progressed after high school.
Your voice bothers me. Especially when you do that “I’m a stupid person, GET IT?” voice.
Oversized hoodies in every movie? STOP IT.
I almost think it’s too obvious, choosing you as the celebrity I despise. Of COURSE everyone hates Adam Sandler. Duh. He’s not funny. He’s that guy who tries to be funny but isn’t. And everyone already knows that, so it’s almost silly of me to post. THAT’S HOW BAD YOU ARE NOW GO DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH YOUR LIFE OH MY GOD.
Get your fat ass out of your chair, do like twenty jumping jacks or something, and get off of tumblr. I know you pulled an all-nighter last night, so let’s not do that again. You have no self-discipline now that you live alone. Get it back NOW before you make bad habits. It’s homework time. This had better be the last thing you do online until that project is done.
Also, don’t eat that mini-muffin. I know it’s mini, but it’s still full of unnecessary carbs.
You totally get me, and really I think we just ought to make out a little. I use your font in every graphic I make in class, and my professor is probably getting sick of it. You also make me feel like shit because you’re young and a film auteur, and I’m just an aspiring film student.
My family is dysfunctional as all fuck, so thanks for making me feel better.
You woke up my desire for the sea.
You’re responsible for Bill Murray being the pop culture icon he is, and I’m now stupidly willing to pay a great deal of money to have a framed picture of him somewhere in my future apartment.
Your haircut would be dumb if you were anyone else, though. I guess you wake up and think, “Well, whatever. I’m Wes-fucking-Anderson.” But maybe you could smirk a little less, you snarky asshole. Whom I adore.
We share a birthday. That obviously means something, don’t you think? Yeah? Maybe?
I hate when people group you and Tarantino together. He’s not horrible, but he loves sensationalism and hasn’t perfected subtlety like you have. I guess you use more highly saturated colours and outlandish situations, but I like how quiet your films are. Tarantino doesn’t know how to shut up.
You also made beige leisure suits cool. Good for you, man.