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What am I worth, other self?

By Zachary McElgunn
Dear Human,

I believe you exist. I mean, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing you this letter, but I do, so I am. You exist just like me, and because I want to be heard, considered, appreciated, I write to you, my other self, to hear, consider, and appraise me.


So, what am I worth, Other Self? Do I deserve a life of the quality you live now, or a better one, or one worse? How will you appraise me? In all honestly, you only have my words on a screen, a picture possibly, and the presumptions you carry with you to the point of reading this letter, which really doesn’t seem like a fair consideration since you had your presumptions before you knew I existed.


Not like you can let go of your past experience. Not like I can let go of my past experiences.


Let’s digress. You ever watch a pattern break itself? It snags your attention doesn’t it? Clings to what you know. Like an unexpected accent – the burly, bearded man with the voice pitched higher than it “should be.” Like a similar point of view – the person of a different religion, different color, different gender who agrees with you about one’s obligation to family and community. Like an isosceles triangle – like an equilateral triangle.


What is it we want? It’s easy to answer because I know I am your other self. We want a secure life, being defined as well fed, occupied, and unafraid. We want happiness, as in endorphins resulting from our encounters, and a sense of wonder. We want our family to be okay.


Isn’t it amazing how connected our family’s happiness is to our own? If you expand your sense of “family,” your sense of obligation blooms into a new worldview, Other Self. Trust me.


I wish you the best, Other Self, as I wish the best on me. I hope that isn’t selfish, but I know it is. When you realize care for others improves your own well-being “selfish” becomes an oxymoron. I like that. I hope you do too.


Yours in navigating obligation,

About the writer

Zach currently resides in Richmond, VA where he works for E.A.T. Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating food deserts and working towards greater food-equality for all communities. Outside of that work, he spends his time playing jazz, making drinks, and telling stories with friends.
If you would like to respond to Zach’s piece, please send it to, and make sure to put Zach’s name in the subject line.