Dear E formerly known by the name of L:
I’m leaving you. Cold turkey. There’s no other choice. You’ve been making me sick for the last three years and I didn’t even know.
You helped me through a divorce, the loss of two dogs, the near loss of my home, my mother’s cancer and death, illnesses, four surgeries, so many heart cracks.
You stole my tears, my pleasure, books I might have written. You might even have caused some of the illnesses I thought you’d nursed me through.
But I can’t regret my choices. I had small children to take care of. I was alone. I needed you.
There’s a pressure at the back of my head; my legs shake; my stomach aches; I disassociate. But this is different from the other times I tried to leave.
I have so many more tools now. The wise words that I’ve internalized from my therapist; the comfort of my new lover’s arms; years of yoga practice that’s taught me to endure challenge and discomfort; the Tara meditation with rose quartz beads, the mantra from my acupuncturist “Remember you are safe." I realize that 95% of the time my body thinks it's in danger even when nothing's wrong. These words calm it right away. The 5% of time when I feel emotionally unsafe I can use the tools. I can remember that what my empathy, passion and ability to write are directly linked to my foundational fear.
Two things help the most: one is sleep. I allow myself naps now. My body knows it needs to rest while I release you.
The other is eating. I’ve come to believe that certain foods were making me sick. But it was really just you. Now I eat good fats for my brain. Avocado, olive oil, the eggs and ghee I used to avoid on a vegan diet, walnuts that used to sting my gums. Kombucha and brown rice for vitamin b. Cacao and green tea and a little sweetening for stimulation. Korean food from the Farmers market—sage honey with fermented ginger, fermented garlic, hot miso broth, lotus root of the immortals.
I am going to wear colors now, not just black and white. I am going to read and re-read all the classic books instead of trying to keep up with all the bestsellers. I am going to listen to music again. Write a novel.
When I started to tell my daughter I was dumping you, she thought I was telling her she needed you, too. But I said she didn't. I told her to eat, sleep, talk to her friends if not to me. I reminded her that her fear is also her passion, her empathy, her energy. I remind her that she is safe.