Pella Community High School
Dear Ms. Tracy Lynn,
Before we get too far, let me be clear: I don't scare easily.
When it comes time to do set design for the annual fall play, I'm the first volunteer to go up in the catwalk or climb the tallest ladder to paint backdrops. I find mice adorable, and I'm not bothered by elevators, despite having seen the Tower of Terror movie far too many times as a child. Even spiders don't faze me-once the ringing in my ears stops from the screaming of every other girl within twenty feet, I pick the creature up and deposit it unceremoniously outside. But Rx scared me. A lot.
Thyme was like a mirror. The longer I stared at her, the more she looked like me.That was absolutely terrifying.
Thyme and I share a flaw, painfully ironic considering flaws are what we fear the most. We are both petrified of failure, of not being good enough, of not being everything we think we're expected to be. Perfectionists to our cores, we beat ourselves up for everything we've ever done that's not one hundred percent, refusing to believe that being the best at every task we take on isn't achievable. When we inevitably fail to live up to these impossible ideals, we both become incredibly defensive, using every excuse in the book so we don't have to admit to ourselves that we just might not be good enough.
For Thyme, this pressure-cooker of a thought process led to an explosion. Her need for perfection became like her addiction to Ritalin: so intense that the consequences no longer mattered, and everything else in her life - her family, her friends and her reputation - were pushed to the wayside.
I have not yet reached this point. When the needle on my internal pressure gauge is deep in red territory, I can still sit down with my laptop and write out all the anger I've aimed at myself like a missile, letting my frustration pour out in metaphors and similes. I say what must be said, cry my tears, and hit Save, feeling the needle slowly move back to a more comfortable yellow. But after reading Rx, I began to wonder and worry: if Thyme and I are so much alike, what stops me from becoming her?
The answer is that I'm not sure. I don't know if it's the fact that I have friends who choose not to use alcohol or drugs and support my decision to do the same. I'm not certain that it's my involved parents, teachers and coaches who hold me accountable for my actions and whom I can turn to when I need help. What I do know is this: your book took something I had known in the back of my mind for years and slammed it in my face, forcing me to confront a truth I had hidden from - not only will I never find perfect, chasing after it might just destroy me. That knowledge in itself might just tip the scales.
While I would love to end this letter saying how I've now learned to accept my flaws and life is just hunky-dory because of it, you and I both know that wouldn't be the truth. Toning down one of my most defining characteristics, especially one I've had since childhood, is not going to happen overnight. But I will slowly but surely fight my way through, because Thyme has taught me that I must.