A Letter to Suzanna: The Most Selfish Person I Know

Dearest Suzanna,

For many years of my youth, you were supposedly the cousin to look up to. The first born of our generation, you were given opportunities that children of a war torn nation could only dream of. While a country picked up the pieces after a decade long war, you were given the opportunity to have private tutors, music lessons and fancy new things sent from your relatives paving a new life in America. When you came to the USA, everything was handed to you on a silver platter, the family so excited to have you here. You were still young, and still had the world before you to conquer. However I wish the family would have told you the truth back then about who funded your upbringing so you would learn kindness, compassion and be grateful for the life you were given.

I looked up to you because the family spoke so highly of your achievements. I was young, I was naïve and I thought college and graduate school was such a magical thing that was so far away, but you were there, you were making Grandfather proud, and the whole time, nobody knew that he was funding this expenditure. Maybe if you had worked for your degree, if you had ever felt suffering, hunger, or exhaustion, you would be more grateful for the sacrifices the family made on your behalf.

Now you’re in your 40s, and I feel like I can better judge you for your actions, and maybe feel compassion for why you are the way you are. However, I feel like there is no person who deserves my compassion less than you.

You are an adult, who lived through a war, and saw what it did to a country that lost itself to communism. You were given the opportunity of a new life, in a new country, that opened itself for you to take. You came from a family that has felt suffering, loss, and through it all has stood together to build a life and future for its next generation. You are a mother, and while your daughter may be an even more spiteful and selfish human being than yourself, there is still hope for the sons’ you produced who seem to have some compassion in their souls, obviously courtesy of their father. You are a daughter, a grand-daughter, sister, aunt, niece and cousin. How is it through all of this, through all that you have lived to see, all that you have come from, that you became such a sad, selfish, compassionless human being.

Your family worked to support you and give you everything you needed to prosper into a successful human being. Your mother worked, as a single mother to give you opportunities. Your aunts cared for you, supported you, and built the bridges you crossed to access great opportunities. How is it that once you achieved any level of status, that you grew to be so selfish? How is it that you could turn your back on the family that supported you, on the children in the world that don’t have the same opportunities you were given, and not feel a tugging at your heart to help them?

What heartless human being is asked if they would like to support an organization that helps children start a new life after being victims of domestic slavery and sex trafficking, responds with the question, “What can your organization do for me financially in 2 years? How can you as a board member of this organization do for me?”.

Who even asks a question like that? Why would any person ask a question like that? Who thinks of themselves, when being asked to help others?

You know the board member, you know the organization. You know what they do, you have no doubts about the legitimacy. You have seen what these children go through, and you have children yourself the same age as those who are suffering. How is it that you would think you should benefit from helping those in need? Why is it that you believe without qualms that you deserve anything?

As your junior, I write this, mouth agape, in awe of your selfishness. I am ashamed to be related to you by blood. I am ashamed to call you my cousin, and if I know Grandfather the way I feel I know him, he is probably rolling in his grave, regretful of his contribution to your compassionless existence.

You spend so much time speaking of your achievements, bragging of the companies you left behind in the dust. You talk about all your travels around the world that you never have to pay for, all the experiences you give your children, and just how gifted and smart they are. You talk about being a millionaire like its something unachievable by anyone but yourself.  Yet, when you are asked to give to the less fortunate, by those who paved the way for you to be able to achieve this grand life, you turn your nose at them, only curious how they can benefit you.

For all the time you spend acting like you are better than the family you came from. For all the moments you bad mouthed your mother for her choices to support her family instead of abandoning them. For all the ways you belittle those who paved the way for you. For all that time you spend judging those who are not at your level, telling them they are to blame for their inadequacies that you proclaim, have you ever stopped to take a moment and look around you and ponder how you got to where you are and who might have contributed to that process?

Through all these years of high achievement, success, and grandeur that you have lived, have you taken a moment to thank your mother for giving you life? Have you taken the time to thank your aunts who helped care for you while your mother worked? Did you thank your family, for all the money they sent to help pay for your food, schooling, piano lessons and clothes? Did you visit Grandfather’s grave and thank him for all his contributions that helped you on this path? Have you considered being grateful for your sole existence?

Through all your talk and show and judgment, have you considered what your life would be like if you hadn’t received all the help? Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of the hungry, the homeless, the abandoned out in the cold might be like?

It baffles me that we come from the same family, and yet you could grow up to be so selfish? I wondered if something happened to you along the way, that made you into the way you are. But I see you in public, I see the way you treat others you deem of your own kind, and I can only say that you are the way you are because you are simply compassionless.

I feel sorry for you Suzanna. That is all that I can think to say to you after all that I have experienced with you. I feel sorry that you don’t feel joy in helping others, and that you share these feelings with your children who act the same way. I feel sorry for their futures, that they may never feel grateful or learn to be kind. I am sorry you feel like the world must revolve around your existence and your benefit.

I am sorry that you will never truly understand the feeling of being content, being happy, or Joy.

I can only hope that you may change, that you will find compassion and kindness for others. I can only wish you the best as you continue this journey and hope you are not lonely when you reach the other side.

Good luck to you cousin. For I hope I never grow to be as heartless as you.

Love, Jayne

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