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Without a Conscience

Writing exercise for 10/24/10. Unfinished.

July 23, 2005

Dear Conscience,

We have been through a lot together, you and me. You’ve helped me avoid some sticky situations and usually not listening to you leaves me with nothing but guilt and self-loathing. Like that time in second grade when I totally ignored everything you had to say and put the freshly sharpened pencil on that boy’s chair? I heard he had to go to the school nurse because of that pencil, but I wasn’t even around to see his reaction. Maybe if I’d been there, you would have convinced me to pull it away before he sat down, but when I heard about it later, I felt terrible. In fact, the shame still makes my face warm, some 20 years later.

I have always considered you a key element in what makes me a good person. But now, I feel compelled to say, from the bottom of my heart,


Yeah, fuck you, Conscience. I have listened to you all my life and gotten where? Well, let’s total up the score.

I lost my husband because you kept me from speaking up for myself. You know I hate conflict, so you told me it would just be easiest to let go of the frustration and move on. You know what happened? He stopped respecting me. He left me for his fucking secretary, of all the goddamned cliches. At least I got the money.

I lost my job because of you. I had to go and do the nice thing and take the heat for my alcoholic boss’s screw ups. By the time it came down to him firing me, it was too late to say anything, and he knew it. I’m a doormat. I have been used and abused by everyone in my life up until now and it is all because of YOU.

Well I’ve had it. I am done listening to you. From now on, I think I will do the opposite of what you say. No more holding back, no more being nice. I’m going to get out there. I’m going to take risks. I’m going to say what I think, regardless of what YOU want. It is no longer about you. From now on, it is about ME.

So don’t try to change my mind, no begging, no pleading. We are finished, and I want nothing to do with you.

Best regards,

July 24, 2005

Dear Conscience,

Living without you is going to be harder than I thought. I don’t think I understood how much control you have over my life. I promised yesterday to do the opposite of what you wanted me to do, and you sneaky little bitch, you almost had me take a running leap off the balcony, just because you told me it would be a bad idea. You’re not going to win that easily, though. I can see that this little game of ours is going to be complicated. I’m going to have to start small.

Today’s not over yet,

July 24, 2005 (later)

So it turns out today wasn’t a total victory for you. Went to Wal-Mart today and acquired a new pair of binoculars. For free. And you know what? It was a fucking rush. So I brought my new binoculars home and have been trying them out on the neighbors. There’s a couple in the apartment building across the way that really likes to have sex. They’ve done it three times over the last eight hours. Way to go, Champ. Maybe I should go join them?