letters | x/xanax #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Xanax,

I guess it’s probably inappropriate to write to you. Or at least weird. But there are a few factors at play here.

First, you are the only thing I could think of that starts with the letter X that has any significance to me. Sorry for using you this way.

Second, I’m a bit frustrated with you. I know I need you sometimes, but I can’t always have you because you make me so tired. How can I take you in and then have to explain myself when I fall asleep for three hours in the middle of the day? Don’t you see what happens? Don’t you know how it is? I have to hide my emotions. I have to cover up my feelings. I can’t use you often because there’s always the chance that when I do, all of my weaknesses will be revealed. I can’t have that.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to feel the way I feel and not be able to do what I need to do because I have to hide my feelings… my emotions… my ‘condition‘? Of course you don’t know. You’re a pill. I’m a human. A fucked up one, but a human nonetheless. Of course, when I need you most, I do not feel human.

And third, you are one of the, if not the, only things that calms me when I’m having a panic-ridden outburst of fear and loss and despair. I need you more than I care to admit. Not in an addiction sort of way. I don’t take you enough for that to be an issue. It’s just that while I have a list of no less than thirty techniques to relax, to distract, to refocus, none of them matter when I’m panicking too much to even find that list, let alone try any of those techniques.

So, thank you, I guess. But I wish you could help me off the cliff without burying me in sleep. It seems there should be a balance somewhere in the middle, but I haven’t found it.

See you soon.


p.s. — Oh, who am I kidding? I already said it all.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | w/work friends #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Work Friends,

I’m sure you think I’m a total bitch. I don’t blame you… not really. After all, I’m still on the group text where you arrange that gathering every summer, but I never say a word. Maybe you don’t even realize I’m still in the group.

It’s not that I don’t have fond memories of you. Well, some of you. [Some of you were, and I’m sure still are, annoying as fuck.] It’s that I am not working and haven’t been since we all got laid off. You have all moved on and have jobs. Good jobs where you seem happy. I’m jobless and unhappy. And I know I can’t handle being around you.

If I saw you… any of you, all of you… there would be questions. How are you? Where are you working now? How’s the family? I can lie and say that I’m fine. I can lie and say that I’m not working because I decided not to and I’m happy as can be… that it’s completely by choice. I can lie and say that my kids are angels…. my family couldn’t be better. I can pretend I’m not a complete failure. But I know these are lies, and I’m not that good an actress. You will know I’m totally full of shit. You will see right through me.

After all these years pretending I’m okay, I should be better at it, but sometimes I can’t keep it together. Being around that many happy [or seemingly happy] people is too much for me. Tears could (would) come and then you’d all know how miserable I am. It would give you something to talk about after I’m gone. Maybe you wouldn’t talk about it, though, because after all this time, you probably don’t even care. I don’t blame you… I’m a terrible friend.

In reality, I was never part of the group anyway. I was always on the outside because I’m just not a social being. We may have had some fun in the office, but I went out with you guys a total of once during the entire time we worked together.

Now that I think more about it, I’m betting most of you thought I was a bitch the whole time… because I know it’s hard for socially capable people like yourselves to understand why it’s so difficult for me to socialize… so difficult that I avoid it.

I feel bad about you especially, J, because I think we were real friends… not just work friends. But I’ve lost all connection to you, too. The embarrassment and shame I feel about my life is all-consuming. I don’t want anyone to know.

So if I didn’t already say it… goodbye.

p.s. — Hey, J? I want you to know that I fondly remember those fake ‘meetings’ we had in your office when we were really just hanging out for an hour drinking coffee. I really did value our friendship. I’m sorry I killed it, but it’s too late now. I’m far too ashamed to ever get back in touch.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | v/vanilla cheesecake bars #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Vanilla Cheesecake Bars,

I could eat a whole pan of you. But why is your recipe for an 8×8 pan? That’s too small. I’ve used a 9×9 pan a couple of times, but I didn’t change the recipe. It’s not more cheesecake. It’s just a psychological game I play with myself. I thought of doubling your recipe, but I wasn’t sure you’d bake properly. Maybe this is your way of controlling my enormous capacity for cheesecake. Um… thank you??

Part of my brain thinks I’ll find joy under the crust when I eat you up, but the rest of my brain knows I won’t. So I’ll have to settle for the joy of you on my tongue. Apologies… that came out a lot dirtier than it sounded in my head.


p.s. — You’re welcome, in advance:

Vanilla Cheesecake Bars


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | u/universe #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Universe,

Why are you punishing me?

I’m tired of feeling like I need to hide from my life. I have no peace. I can’t get a break. I’m afraid I’m going to snap.

Do you want to know what brought this on? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. I almost hate to because I don’t want you to think I don’t absolutely love my daughter. I adore her. But I feel that you’re trying to give me some kind of test. And I think I’m getting a big fat F.

Is it normal for a daughter to get annoyed with her mother for simply being the parent? It is? Yes? Then why do I feel like shit when she gets mad at me for it? Am I doing something wrong? Maybe it’s just my fragile mental state. But it has always been this way for me. [The ‘feeling like shit’ and the ‘fragile mental state’.]

So… I can be the parent and I feel guilty. Or I can give in and know that it’s wrong. (It is wrong, right?) I’m so confused. One way makes me feel guilty, the other makes me feel like a failure. Neither is a winning choice. I tend toward the failure/give in option because then I’m the only one who’s upset. With the other option, both she and I are upset.

To add insult to injury, the husband came home in a bitchy mood from work last night.

[Aside: For the record, his ‘essential’ job is in an office. He is not in healthcare or any job where he’s in close proximity to others. It just happens that his company supplies equipment to industries like water, gas, oil, and other essentials.]

He walked in at an inopportune moment—just as I was [calmly, I might add] telling my daughter that her attitude was not acceptable nor appreciated. Then my husband snapped at me the moment I spoke to him. As though I did something wrong. When I called him out on it, first, he denied snapping at me. Clearly a lie because then he gave an explanation for snapping at me—he doesn’t like when the first thing he hears when he walks in is conflict. Boo fucking hoo. Does he want to trade places? Stay home all day with the kids instead of go to work? No, he doesn’t. I’ve asked him.

Then I felt even worse than I did before. Like I did something [else] wrong. Like I should have just kept my mouth shut. In fact, I only spoke if necessary for the rest of the evening. And this, combined with the crap with my daughter, had me in tears. I literally went into the bathroom to cry so no one would see or hear me.

I just don’t get it. I know I shouldn’t let anyone walk all over me so why do I feel so guilty and terrible when I don’t let them?

Why are you doing this to me?


p.s. — I’m really struggling. I know I got myself here so it really is my own fault, but is there any way you can help me? Do you want me to beg?

p.p.s. — Maybe this is all magnified because of fucking quarantine, but truthfully, I don’t think it is. It’s not really new. Please help me. This is me begging.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | t/teenagers #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear [my] Teenagers,

You’ve made it this far in life. [Okay, my girl, you are only 12, but you sure as hell act like a teenager, so go with it.] It’s not by accident that you made it here. You did have help along the way. And yeah, Dad helped, too. Seriously, though. I try my best. Am I the best mom? Hell no. Sometimes I don’t even think I’m a good mom. But I adore you both and would do anything for you. That doesn’t mean I’ll do it right. But I will do it.

Especially during these trying times (and they are really fucking trying times), there are some important things for you to remember. Some you may know, some you may not. Some you may know are meant for the other kid. Well, suck it up… you have to read them all anyway!

Please commit these to memory. There will be a test.

  1. Me not doing something for you isn’t a reason to get upset.
  2. Me doing something for you isn’t a reason to get upset either.
  3. And me doing something for you doesn’t mean I’ll do it for you for the rest of your life.
  4. Waking at 2:00pm is not ‘waking up early’.
  5. Waking up at 8:00am is not ‘sleeping in’.
  6. Me telling you what to do is not disrespectful. You not doing it is disrespectful.
  7. You are not the boss of me. I am the boss of you. I am the parent; you are the child. Please be sure to make the proper distinction.
  8. Fortnite is not a sport. Thusly, an Xbox is not a piece of exercise equipment.
  9. No, I don’t know what fucking day it is. Check your damn phone.
  10. Complaining about the same thing over and over again isn’t going to change shit. [Trust me, I know.]
  11. Yes, cooking for yourself is an important life skill. You really do need to learn how to do it. I know the gas stove has scary blue fire, but you’re going to have to get over it. I will also teach you about fire extinguishers.
  12. Likewise, laundry is an important life skill that you must master.
  13. Remember that we only have one bathroom. Plan accordingly.
  14. You need to work out your differences with each other. I am your mom, not your referee.
  15. Do as I say, not as I fucking do. Yes, this includes foul language. [And it includes cheesecake— I know I had two pieces but you only get one. I’m the mom. That’s the rule. Aaaand Dad doesn’t like cheesecake so it looks like I get three. If this isn’t worth becoming a mom, I don’t know what is.]

And remember… you will always be my babies. Even when you’re 50.


p.s. — I will give you an hour before the test to review. Starting… now. I sure hope you don’t get the cheesecake question wrong.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | s/sandra #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Sandra,

What the hell is wrong with you? You are such a mess.

You don’t do enough… not for your friends, not for your family, not for yourself. Hell, you just don’t do enough of anything. You couldn’t find a job so now you’re stuck at home (current world issues aside because you were already stuck). You can’t get yourself to accomplish anything even though you have time. You have no ambition… no motivation… no confidence. And you keep telling yourself that you’re worthless.

People do need you, you know. I know you think no one would care if you vanished. You think most people wouldn’t even notice. But deep down, you must know that’s not true… don’t you? Don’t you?? You matter to people.

You just don’t matter to yourself.

You’re weak. You can’t pick yourself up. You’ve been trying for so long. And you fail every time. What now? Giving up? Hey, maybe that’s your answer. Give up. It’s too hard anyway, right? Forget about getting better. I know that’s not the answer you want. But no one has another answer… not even you. You feel that you simply cannot be helped. I understand why you feel that way. You’ve tried everything in your power. Granted, you’re level of power sucks, but you’ve done what you can. Even therapists give up on you. Maybe they’re right. Maybe there’s nothing anyone can do for you. Maybe you really can’t be helped.

Your weakness, your worthlessness, your pointlessness… these are the reasons why you look to others for validation. You don’t think you have any worth, so you need someone else to tell you that you do. I understand that. It’s pathetic… but I really do understand. I wish you could have that constant pick-me-up. Maybe if you’d married better, you would have that. But that was another of your failures.

Of course, it’s not really anyone’s job to build you up all the time. That kind of makes you a selfish bitch. You do realize that, right? You’re supposed to be able to build yourself up. You can’t, though. You tell yourself all sorts of wonderful things, but they don’t help because you don’t believe yourself. You believe that other people believe the things they say, and that builds you up. But you can’t do it on your own because you don’t trust yourself. I know why. You’ve made so many terrible choices. You’ve failed so many times. I wouldn’t trust myself either.

I’m not going to sugar coat it… I don’t like being around you. I don’t like you. I know it’s harsh… but it’s the truth.

p.s. — At least you used to be able to use all these fucked emotions to write. Poetry, especially. What happened to that? God, you are so fucking frustrating!


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | r/rick and morty #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Rick and Morty,

Thank you for being so ridiculously absurd and for making me laugh. The first time I saw you, I wondered what the fuck I was actually watching. I guess eventually, I embraced your weirdness.

I think maybe I relate to you, Rick. No, I’m not a fucked up scientist (no offense intended). But you act like you’re better than everyone yet underneath it all, you hate yourself, don’t you? Okay, maybe you don’t. But I kind of think you do. You hate idiots and you’re smart, but you hate yourself anyway. I’m kind of like that.

I love your meaninglessness philosophy. [That’s what I like to call it. You probably have a much cooler name for it.] You accept that life is really just nothing. There is no greater meaning so what’s the point in worrying about everything? Just focus on what makes you feel good.

I’d love to live that way. But what makes me feel good comes from others, not from myself, so it’s hard to focus on that when I have no control over it. I’d need to make a list of everything in my life in order of most-to-least joyful and picking the top few to focus on. But… even at the top of my ‘most-to-least joyful‘ list isn’t anything joyful… it’s just the least miserable. But you don’t need to hear about that.

I aspire to be more like you, Rick. Minus the alcoholism, unibrow, drool, and bad hair.


p.s. — To my readers: Please enjoy this convenient 20-second video so you’ll always be sure you’ve washed your hands long enough. A public service provided by Rick and Morty.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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letters | q/quarantine #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Quarantine,

I know you’re necessary. I take you very seriously. And I respect you. I know we’re in the midst of a health crisis, and it is not my intention to minimize your importance in any way.

But I’m having a few issues.

I’ve barely left the house for weeks. I don’t have anywhere to be, but guess where I don’t want to be? Right. Home. I’m losing it. Yes, I’ve been unemployed for a long time. And I generally hate people. This whole situation should be easy for me. Oh, but it’s not. Everything is thrown off. The kids are here 100% of the time. [More on that later.] I am *never* alone. My routine is all fucked up. I’m bored as hell. I fantasize about going shopping for non-essentials. And I want to hug my mom.

Some people are using their extra time at home to get shit done. Not me. Nope. I’m too anxious… and I have no peace or motivation. I guess that’s normal for me, but it’s heightened. Having time isn’t really new for me [see aforementioned unemployment], but I wasn’t accomplishing much before. You’ve changed nothing. But damn, do I feel like a fucking waste of space when others tell me how much they’ve done since they’ve had to stay home. Not only have I not done shit during the last five weeks, but I didn’t do shit with any time I already had before you came along. I guess that’s my fault.

You’ve brought about these new catch phrases, and, God, how I loathe them. I never want to hear the words ‘new normal’ again. Fuck that. This is not normal and nothing anyone says will convince me that this is any form of normal… old, new… no. Just no. And how stupid is the term ‘social distancing’? We are not socially distant. We are physically distant. As we should be. But socially? No. Socially, we are more connected than ever. I have a group text with my mom and sisters. We talk every single day. Socially, we are much closer. Physically, we are apart. Easter was fucking sad. Especially for my mom and one of my sisters as they both live alone. Thanks a lot for that. (That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t get it.)

*Sigh* What was I saying? Oh, yes, back to the kids.

I’m going a special kind of crazy. They are good kids. Thankfully. But my god. I need a break. My teenage son stays up later than I do (into the wee hours of the morning) and sleeps ‘til afternoon. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but he does have schoolwork. My daughter is twelve, and I am so screwed if her bitchiness gets worse when she becomes a teenager. She picks fights… daily. And she is always talking. To me… to her brother… to my husband… to her friends. Would it be rude for me to tell her to just shut the fuck up for five minutes? Yes, I know it would. And when she’s on facetime with her friends, not only do I hear her talking, but I have to hear her friends talking, too. Oh. My. God. Kill me.

And the kids fight. Normal, I know. But I am sick of it. It’s a different version of the same fight every time, too: my daughter getting on my son’s case for not being nice enough to her; my son wishing she would just shut up and leave him alone. I can’t fix it. It’s not really mine to fix. But it’s mine to endure and I am so over it.

I try to distract myself. I’ve been baking too much. It’s not really the baking that’s the problem… it’s the eating. I might as well start applying desserts directly to my butt and thighs. [Sorry for the disturbing visual.] I try watching tv, but all I see is stuff about you. Even if I do find something decent to watch, you’re mentioned in every other commercial. You know the ones. ‘We’re all in this together‘ and other such ads? Those. They’re supposed to be uplifting, but honestly, they have the opposite effect.

You’re everywhere. And you’re fucking depressing, you know? I realize that’s rich coming from me, but there it is.

Sometimes, late at night, I lie in bed wondering if you’re real or if this is all just a bad dream. And if it is a dream, am I ever going to wake up? I’m afraid you’ll never go away.

p.s. — What the hell day is it anyway? I should check twitter. Did you know that each day, @twitter tweets out what day it is? I should retweet the Monday tweet on Tuesday. That would fuck with people.

p.p.s. — Thank you for not impacting my husband. If he wasn’t still going to work, that would surely push me over the edge, and no one wants to see me lose my shit.


©2020 what sandra thinks

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