I met ‘em when I was 18 years old. I was in the backseat of Paul’s car laughing and drinking Jack Daniels chased by Southern Comfort. When you were offered to me, it just felt like the right thing to do. I mean, my friends and I were all sharing while singing out loud to songs promised at the concert we were heading down to Kalamazoo to witness up close and personal. I thought, “What the heck?”
I didn’t like you much, to be honest, but you kept pushing towards me with a tenacity that only lover’s know. I embraced you and for a while, we loved each other passionately, fully, and without remorse or thought of consequence.
We’ve been together for over half of my life. Twenty-eight years collectively where you have stood beside me as my pal, my buddy, my emotional rock, my shame and guilt. For twenty-eight years I’ve allowed myself to return to you time and again despite your abuse. Despite the way you take my breath away, and I don’t mean in a good way. I cling to you as a drowning man to a life raft. I run to you, no matter the occasion.
I know exactly how you’ll touch my body, move my emotions, and comfort me when I’m upset. I am hyper-aware of your indifference to my wandering eye because you know you’re my Master. You know I’m your slave. You know that I will give up everything I have if it meant being in your presence for just a little bit longer.
When we are in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, I can enjoy your company like an old friend being reunited with me. We laugh and joke. We carry on stories of “Do you remember when…?” And I love you for those. My emotional attachment to you soothes my body and my brain. You tell me everything is going to be all right as long as you’re with me. I let you stay far too long because I depend on your gratuitous being to cope with daily life.
But we have a problem. I’m no longer in love with you. I’m embarrassed that you show up at social events. I’m embarrassed that you dominate me into humiliating positions where I have to hide my shameful love/hate for you in public. I find myself apologizing for you before we’re even together.
We’ve been married longer than all four of my recognized wedded times. I realize, however, that perhaps, it’s time for us to go our separate ways for good. You see, I’m stealing love from my life with our relationship. My loving husband said, “I wish there was something I could say that would make you give up this relationship like there was when I asked you to wear your seat belt. I’m getting robbed of time with you because of that.” He’s right and I feel ashamed.
My husband sees me cheat on him every day and because of my long-term relationship with you, I’ve not had an interest in changing anything. Which isn’t entirely true, I’m a slave to a master that calls me when I’m uncomfortable, bored, upset, or need a break. But my love for my legally wedded husband is stronger than my relationship with you.
I want a divorce. I want you to leave and never return. You are not valued, you devalue. You are not comfort, you are shame. You are not a stress reliever, you’re an abuser, like me. You are not special, you’re the butt of every joke. You’re not welcome any more to go with me to restaurants, clubs, cars, homes, or anywhere else. You’re just not okay and I am not going to give in to the lies you tell me about how much you love me. You hurt me and I let you. You control me and I don’t like that. I don’t want you ruining any more of my life than I’ve allowed you to already.
I’m not 18 or immortal anymore and you need to understand that. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of damage I’ve allowed you to do to me. I, truthfully, hope the only thing you leave with me is the memory of my own allowed self-inflicted version of a slow suicide that I’m aware of in my life.
I am sending you packing, cigarettes. Butt out of my life. You can’t blow your smoke screen around me anymore. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust get ye out of my life you must! You must!
P.S. June 7th is the birthday of the friend that introduced me to my own self destruction. I was no coerced, but it seems poetic to choose that day as the day I officially divorce myself from that habit.