October 5, 2013

A Break-Up Letter to 2 of My Favorite Words: Right & Wrong.

Photo: Soul Stealer on Flickr.

I’m scared to let you go because if I let you out of me entirely, will I even be a moral person anymore?

Hey guys,

I think we need to break up. It’s been great, truly it has. Both of you have created huge parts of me. You’ve created my opinions, my wants, my decisions, my choices; which in turn have created my friends, my enemies, my jobs and my hobbies.

My entire world is built upon the foundation of the two of you.

I just don’t think it’s working out anymore. I don’t think it’s working out because you don’t make me happy. (Maybe you never did.)

You have to admit: us being together keeps the three of us sitting on the couch with our arms folded, watching everyone else go out to party and hating them for it. It’s just not good for us.

To Right:

I’ve loved you.

I’m scared to let you go, because if I let you out of me entirely, will I even be a moral person anymore?

What will keep me paying my taxes, showing up to places on time and returning phone calls, if those things are no longer the right things to do? Will I just stop caring about the well-being of other people and spiral into a selfish pit of hedonism?

Let’s be honest with each other for a second, here: we’re just using each other. You use me to give you life. If I stop associating with you—and let’s say everyone else hypothetically stops associating with you—you become erased from our cultural lexicon. You don’t want that. I know you don’t.

But that’s okay, because I’ve used you too. I’ve used you to feel better than other people, because I feel I am more right than they are.

I’ve used you to justify other relationships with toxic words in my life, like: correct, should, better and best.

I’ve used you as a bandaid for my heart-wounds when something really gets to me; and instead of holding myself accountable for my thoughts and behavior (and doing it with kindness), I give myself a free pass by aligning myself with the beautiful ring of those three words, “I am right.”

And even though it seems like maybe you should be the one to give me only good feelings, I often feel very conflicted when I’m with you, because I feel like I’m pitting myself against the entire world and I start doing a lot of weighing and measuring and cataloguing and… Phew, I’m tired.

To Wrong:

I’ve loved you, too.

There’s nothing that makes me feel quite as vindicated as wholly believing that someone else is utterly, stupidly and outwardly wrong.

That feeling alone makes me believe I will ascend to the throne of a small European nation. Believing that something is wrong makes me feel powerful—almost God-like, as I convince myself that I have the authority in this life to look from my human stature to another human’s stature and tell them that their way of living is incorrect.

Sure, you make me feel good for a second, but the feeling is fleeting, and once the momentary rush of vindication wears off, I’m left feeling utterly discontented with my life, other peoples’ lives and the world we all share together.

You’re like a bad drug.

Actually, you’re like a really good drug. I know that because I’ve kept you with me for more than 20 years.

That’s a long time.

Please, don’t feel bad about any of this. I still think highly of you. You serve a great function—maybe the most important function: you wrapped yourself in my brain and my heart and became me until I was ready to transcend you. That’s freaking courageous—to get left behind. I admire that. I respect that.

And, look, it’s not like we’ll never see each other again. I know I’ll see you on the streets hooking up with my friends. Hell, maybe on a particularly rough day, I’ll dial you up and we’ll have really ill-advised make-up sex and you’ll spend the night. And I’ll cook you breakfast in the morning (regret pancakes!) and we’ll lolly-gag around because you won’t want to leave and I won’t know how to ask you.

We will always have a relationship, Right, Wrong and me.

It’s just, the nature of it has to change right now.

I’m finding that my happiness lies in letting you go. When you two are wrapped around my every limb, I feel disconnected from my love, my empathy and from my ability to let things go and just enjoy being me.

Keeping you around is no longer worth leaving all those other things to the birds.

And, yeah, it won’t be easy letting you go, either. There are a lot of things I think are right and a lot of things I think are wrong—about myself, about other people, about religion, politics, morality, science, child-rearing, the meat-packing industry, laugh-tracks on sitcoms, yadayadayada.

But you’ve got to give me the chance to see what life is like without you. Because I have a feeling it’s spectacular. And maybe you guys will be spectacular without me, too.

This is normally the part where I offer a condolence of, “I’m sorry,” but the only reason why I would say that is because I feel like I should be saying it. I’m not sorry, because this is what I actually want. Of course I don’t want you to be in pain, but I need to let myself get big and not feel the need to apologize for that.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Please don’t try and come over with my friends, or sneak on the other line the next time my mom calls.

I need space.

And in the wake of our absence from each other, may there be only limitlessness.

Limitlessness and love.



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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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