Dear Princess Celestia,
Happy New Year! I wish I could be sure exactly what I want to say, but I have quite a lot of things on my mind. Fortunately, perhaps even amazingly, they are all for the most part good things.
2014 was a particularly dark year with some bright points few and far between. I feel that I learned a lot, although those lessons took a tuition of shockingly disproportionate grief. It was 11 months of soul rending pointlessness, right up until December began. I read those journal entries and my letters to you and find myself appalled at what I'd been through. Not even because of what those trials were for, but rather for the fact that they weren't for anything. Just... survival.
Some people imagine that hell is blood and fire and sharp piercing agony over and over again, but that's a kind of pain that at least makes sense. That pain has causes and effects that are plainly empirically observable. Truly maddening is when you're hurting and don't know why. Not only is there no discernible cause, but no higher purpose to it. It's not just pain; it's pain for no good reason.
I learned things other than about friendship. I learned about my own weaknesses and shortfalls quite a bit too. I learned that I have a tendency to, paradoxically, expect the worst from people while acting like I'm expecting the best from them. Every accepted open hand came with the expectation of a slap. Every kindness came saddled with the suspicion that it was camouflage for cruelty. No one was safe from my paranoia. The people I love the most... I realize in retrospect I fully expected them to be judging me and hating me behind my back. Rather than trusting in their good faith, I trusted that they would lash out at me at some point but forced myself to smile and pretend to feel safe. ... I'm sure they were able to tell, at some points, and I can't imagine how much it hurt them, how much it insulted them, those times it seemed more obvious than usual that I was just waiting for them to wound me... while being prepared to keep loving them after they did.
But they didnt, Celestia. They never intentionally hurt me. The people I know and love now, they just aren't like that, and I don't know why it's only becoming obvious to me now. I can't even remember in detail the last time someone weaseled their way close to me only to yank the rug out from under my hooves when I least expected it. Even now that horrible little voice in the back of my mind tells me, "they couldn't yank the rug out when you least expected because you always expected. If you ever stop, just wait and see what happens."
I feel, at least, however, as though I may actually be able to overcome this.
The big takeaway to all of this is that trust is not a binary proposition:
Sometimes you can truly believe that someone is benevolent and not even have even the most scant a trace of cruel or selfish or dishonest or treacherous suspicion toward them.
Sometimes you are startlingly aware of how much they can hurt you, and have these scenarios haunt you every day, constantly worrying if today will be the day they choose to finally take their chance and shoot you in the back...
Sometimes you feel the above and decide that ... it is worth having them close to your heart, even if it is only a temporarily illusion, an uncertain comfort at best, and bide your time, attempting to glean as much stability and happiness as you can before it all "inevitably" goes down in flames.
I want to learn how to trust someone completely again, Princess. Especially my friends.
I recognize now that I am acting in violation of honesty by internally intentionally accepting horrendous risks that are unrealistic to the people they relate to. It's like slandering them inside my own mind. I'm sorry. I will try, to my very best, to stop.
I recognize now that I am acting in violation of loyalty as well. Hopefully, the elements of harmony will allow me to fess up, and show my friends proper respect.
Well. That turned out quite a bit differently than I expected it to. Thank you again, Princess Celestia, for providing me a soundboard.
Your faithful subject,