Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breaking Up Can Be Easy to Do

A friend and fellow English teacher once passed on an excellent assignment idea: have students write "break-up letters," but tweak the model so that the recipients of their "Dear Johns" are objects, ideas, or states of being.

My students enthusiastically purged, variously breaking up with tight jeans, gossip, staying up too late, and Morrissey (!?).

The last time I suggested this project to a creative writing class, I was pregnant with my second child, and ready to part ways with partum-ness. I've been thinking about that break-up letter to pregnancy lately, perhaps because what I need to break up with now, four years later, is the idea of pregnancy.

What about you? Which relationship of yours is past its prime, had its moment? Is it time to dump the mullet, the bob, or the bad hair dye? Have you been cheating on veganism? Would you and denial be better off apart?

Before I share my letter, I want to encourage you to read my friend Missy's rather hateful break-up with a most annoying toy. If her missive and mine don't get your juices flowing (and you don't mind a few spelling errors in your Dear John letter), try this template.

And then move on, already!

Dear Pregnancy,

I’m really struggling with this letter. It’s hard for me to let you go, and for many reasons.

The first is that you might be my last...and I hope I don’t have any regrets about our times together. I hope I appreciated you enough and didn’t complain too much.

Another reason I feel wistful is because you’ve brought such good things into my life. Those things are still with me, and I appreciate them (almost) every day. I know I'm being selfish, but I’m thankful for what you've given me. I am not so sure what I brought to you, though some have said we looked good together.

You’re just not for the long term, dear pregnancy. It can’t be a permanent thing. The relationship started out so exciting, and secret, but made me a little queasy a couple months in. I questioned why I got involved with you in the first place. I was dizzy with it all and even had trouble eating; the emotions were overwhelming.

Gradually everyone knew we were together and that part was a lot of fun. People were so happy for us! Let’s admit: the best times were in months four to seven, because we got along so well then. Thank you for that special time. You made me feel so good, so energetic, so excited and complete.

But let’s face it, pregnancy. The last few months--particularly the last few weeks--have been a sort of hell. You’ve pulled at me in ways I’m not comfortable with. The pressure, the late nights wondering when this will end, getting mixed signals from you...I’ve been in need of an answer. I need to know your plans. I realize you’ve just been doing what you need to do, and I respect that. But I think I need something new, something else. I need to move on.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m willing to admit you’re just a stepping stone to another level. And because you can’t decide when we’ll part, I’m going to give you a deadline: If you don’t leave me by the 18th, I’ll have to have you surgically removed.

Sorry, sweetie. I know there are others hoping to have you in their lives. I'm sure they’ll find you just as attractive, seductive, and enriching as I have.



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