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A Letter of Forgiveness by Annie Nishida

Dear Annie,

I know everyone makes mistakes, but you have done some dumb shit, girl. You’ve continued to trust Apple Maps to not get you lost, insisted on seeing “Take Me Home Tonight” the day it opened, and have gotten so excited to meet the bassist of an unknown indie band that you rambled on about how you once got a panic attack at one of the venues he played at. Not even at the show he played; just a show that happened to be at the same place and at a different time.

Well, I’m writing this to let you know I’m not holding any of it against you, and that we’re going to move past these events together. Everything is a learning experience, and you’re a better person because of all the stupid things you’ve done. Except the time you didn’t say “hi” to Dave Navarro on the escalator. That was your bad and I’ll never forget it.

I forgive you for those few months in 2006, when you pretended to like horror. You bought the Final Destination trilogy box set, asked for Stephen King books for Christmas, and held a personal grudge against Spielberg because “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” wasn’t scary enough. And you only did this stuff because liking horror was the cool thing to do at the time, as was liking My Chemical Romance and wearing tank tops on top of t-shirts (okay, maybe that was just you).

You’ve hated the sight of blood since you were little, and once threw up when you had it drawn at a doctor’s appointment, but that didn’t stop you from trying to fit in with a bunch of so-called non-conformists! Eventually you came to your senses after watching one-too-many gruesome deaths on your television screen and decided that it’s also cool to be your squeamish self and, you know, not watch people be beheaded by “fate.” No one’s opinion of you is worth it, and blood is gross, even if it is fake.

I thought you learned your lesson after that and were never going to make a disastrous mistake that would make you doubt your identity again. And then you got straight bangs. This was during freshman year of college, when you were hanging around with a bunch of Asian-Americans who loved anime, inanimate objects with smiley faces on them and calling dudes “oppa.” Everyone wanted to either be in a K-Pop group or date a girl in a K-Pop group. You took a good, long look at these desirable ladies and came to the conclusion that what they had in common wasn’t their mindless, synchronized dance moves or their ability to talk in baby voices—the magic was in their hair.

The first chance you got, you went to your hairstylist and requested bangs. Suddenly, you didn’t feel like yourself anymore. You felt like a girl who changed her hair to be more popular. After a month, the bangs were gone, and you vowed to never return to the god-forsaken place known as “I Got Straight Bangs to Impress People Hell.” Regardless of all the photographic evidence that remains of this period, I forgive you for this mishap. You learned your lesson about not changing to become more “do-able” to men who like girls in tiny dresses singing repetitive lyrics. Or if you are going to change your hair for someone, at least make sure it flatters your face shape.

Perhaps the stupidest thing you’ve done happened when you were younger and in the middle of puberty. Remember when you watched “The Puppetry of the Penis” documentary on HBO because you thought it was a sex thing? Because I do. You were lurking around the movie stations late at night for something very specific—soft-core porn—and came across a title that sounded like porn, but did not quite look like porn. It was a compilation of performance footage and interviews with men who made balloon animals with their dongs. You kept watching and praying that it would suddenly turn into what you desired; that a set of lady parts would suddenly appear within the forest of dicks. It never did. But you still sat there, pathetically waiting for something that was clearly not going to happen.

Luckily, these folded penises weren’t useless. They taught you a lesson on holding out hope for too long when you’re clearly dealing with immature boys, a flaky friend who doesn’t treat you with respect, or something that sounds like it would entail people doing it, but is clearly just a myriad of floppy wieners being shaped into dinosaurs and hamburgers. Some things just aren’t worth waiting for, and by the time you figure this out, you’ll already be three-fourths of the way through a phallus documentary, angry that you waited this long to be disappointed. You’re only forgiven for this one, Lady, because you ended up miraculously getting off to it anyway.

After all of this, I could say you’re going to be better about making good choices, but the fact is, you’re still going to make mistakes. For every ten times you, rightfully, choose to watch something other than a Spielberg (curse you!) movie, there will be a time you accidentally end up watching penises turned into butterflies. But it’s okay. Without these mishaps, you wouldn’t be the knowledgeable person you are now, confident enough to “just say no” to bangs that make you look like a kawaii cherub. And one day, you’ll come across Dave Navarro again, and be ready to say “hi.”





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