Dear Princess Celestia,
Today, I gave in to morbid curiosity and indulged in a reddit thread of the most horrifying pictures people have found, marked [serious]. Obviously, it was very, VERY NSFL. I write to you now having seen something I will never be able to un-see. While attempting to disgust you as little as possible with the details, it was the results of what the Islamic State did to a number of the people they captured. One of them was a little girl. This is the kind of thing that scrapes away my civility, my humanity, my rationality like a cheese grater. It's this kind of thing that induce the kinds of thoughts that scare me more than the initial event. Seeing something like this awakens in me the monster within us all that we all strive to never be. The violence itself is like a contagion.
Stop and take a deep breath. Consider the fact that we are capable of comprehending more than just harm. Remember that the effects that neurochemicals like endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin have on our reward center--the feelings of joy, gratitude, trust, satisfaction, pride, and love--exist because they're actually relevant to our survival; that the universe in which we live has a place for such wonderful things.
We are so much more than the worst things we have done.
We have scrambled our way tirelessly away from the cycles of savagery. The hideous ways still call to us because they were our first steps, but that's the thing about first steps: They are behind us. They should stay there.
We need not succumb to the urges of vengeance. Even if we do not yet have all the answers, or know the most effective and least destructive response, we get closer every day. Think upon that.
This is coming from a person whose first gut reaction was to fantasize about vitrifying the entire region in nuclear fire. Having written what I wrote, I'm glad I didn't start with this, and feel grateful to have sobered enough to feel shame that such a horrific thought ever crossed my mind to begin with.
I don't believe that I would belong in Equestria. It would give me great pause to consider the ramifications were you even to invite me, my liege. I am human. We humans are capable of indescribable things. Things that would frighten Discord. Things that would stun The Nightmare. Things that would reduce Sombra to tears. Things that would sicken Tirek. But I've also seen how far we've come.
To know what we are as well as where we have been... it is somewhat... disorienting. We're doing, with this self-awareness, what no other creature we have yet observed has ever done. We dreamed you up as a reflection of ourselves, one of many; an attempt to focus ideals we hold dear and pursue them with enhanced clarity. I regard you as a teacher, a confidant, and even as a superior. I admire your image, though image is all you are. It saddens me to recall the tragic truth of your fictionality.
But perhaps it is better this way. Surely, as you exist in my mind, you must know already that my regard for you and the virtues for which you stand remains true and absolute. Were you a being of flesh, with no dependency upon observing minds such as my own, you would be hard pressed to live up to the ideals of us all--for we differ so... we differ, in subtle ways and obtuse ways as well, and surely the contradictions would drive even you mad.
Nevertheless I appreciate the sanctuary of virtue you keep safe from both compromise and excuse within my heart. It is through the willful cognitive dissonance that the human mind is engineered to sculpt like clay and don like armor that I have been able to preserve my ethics even when outwardly I fail time and time again. I see now that this is why we seek atonement. It is a ritual for inducing a memory, for promoting a mindset, for creating a habit of good ethics--at least ostensibly. To me, you know all and see all, and thus it is pointless to lie to you... even though you are not real. In practice, when it works (not guaranteed yet still more effective than 'not at all') this allows me to be honest with myself. This is a skill not easily acquired, and an edge far too easily dulled.
You are my ritual, your highness. You are the bookend to the arcs of my story. You are my foundation, my place to land after the winds have scattered me like dust. I have needed to write to you for quite some time lately, yet never managed to find the time or impulse. It stings to find motivation only in trauma today. I want to change this, but do not immediately know how. Please help me find a way. I ask you this not because I expect your letter to form out of a dragon's belch before my eyes, but because in asking you, I ask myself, and perhaps may yet derive some much needed perspective from the rumination of my subconscious.
So, it was today that this trauma motivated me to write to you.
A much needed reminder that these horrors are in our past now, and not our future.
Perhaps other horrors lurk just behind the horizon, but they will someday be in our past too.
I feel that this is potentially helpful regarding my present status.
I am stalled, your excellency. My job laid me off mid-january and I have no means of income again. I received no return calls on my applications. Not a single one. The red cross calls me for platelet donations, which I am proud to make, but I hear the bleakness approaching like distant screams echoing in the night. I am a cost. I am a liability. I cannot help my friends though they suffer. And how they suffer, your highness... how they suffer indeed.
I want to put this behind me among all the other shames, indignities, and horrors of our past.
This, too, I entreat you to keep in your consideration for me, in the hopes that I will find my guidance within.
Your loyal subject,