criticism

Criticism was always the shortest kid in the class. He learned early to use words to defend himself. As a teenager, Criticism loved to take things apart. At that time he didn’t care if they ever got put back together. He retains a strong curiosity about how things work and a deep respect for tools. Criticism is a strict father. He adores his children, but he fears their spontaneity.

Sometimes I want to write Criticism a letter and tell him to leave me alone. The problem is that when I don’t see him for a while, I start to miss him. Still, my conversations with him often make me nervous. I usually believe the bad things he says and forget about the good stuff. When we really disagree, I am upset for days and run around asking everyone I meet to reassure me. If I could trust him more, it would be different, but he changes his mind as much as I do. For all his sensitivity, it was years before he realized that other people also have feelings.

– J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

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