A strongly worded letter to my gut biome as a 23-year-old student

An illustration of a student looking angrily at their stomach.
ILLUSTRATION: Kelly Chia / The Peak

By: Olivia Visser, Opinions Editor

Dear digestive system,

It’s me again. I know you think I’m constantly complaining, but I could really use a break here. You’ve got way too much power in this relationship, and it’s getting kinda toxic.

I’ll be honest — I don’t like you. I think you’re aware. You’re far too stubborn to get along with over any long-term period. You expect your needs to dictate my entire life! You’re toxic and you don’t handle toxins well. I try so hard to tolerate you while you expand your list of intolerances daily. Just once, I would like to enjoy a tub of cream cheese icing without being destroyed for three hours. Why do you need to humble me?

I wouldn’t normally call someone high-maintenance, but you? WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME? Endless doctors appointments and tests, multiple medications . . . I cut out caffeine and alcohol, and even took up special anti-inflammatory diets. I made all of these sacrifices for you. And what do I get? Nothing. You’re simply determined to hate me.

Dairy? Nope. Gluten? Nah. Vegetables? Nuh-uh. I’m still trying to figure out your taste preferences, but so far I’ve got: nothing. Yeah, that’s right. You’re pretty much impossible to satisfy. Sometimes on our good days I forget how one-sided our relationship actually is. I long for those moments where you’ll allow me to enjoy a slice of pizza or iced coffee, but shouldn’t that be the norm? The standards are on the floor, and you are sub-basement.

I wish I could say it’s time we part ways, but it simply doesn’t work like that. This isn’t just your life. Think about it — we’re in this together. We need each other. Communication is a two-way street, y’know, all that important stuff? At some point you’re going to have to grow up, because I’m LITERALLY sick of you.

Please don’t take this the wrong way (you tend to do that a lot) but listen to my perspective. If you were a little more open about your needs, we could work together. Compromise, perhaps. Just tell me what you like, and maybe we even have something in common. Heck, I’ll eat whatever bland concoction you desire if once in a while you let me have an apple or something.

If not, I don’t even know what my options are. Something’s got to change. I can’t let you walk all over me forever. If you’re so determined to be miserable then maybe I’ll just join you. Misery loves company, right?




An emotionally gutless human stomach owner

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