🌙 A Breakup Letter to Sharp Objects

Photo by Ilya Plakhuta on Unsplash

Family meeting. Get the gang altogether, and let’s sit around the coffee table and talk. Scissors, razor blades, box cutters, and a single kitchen steak knife. Some dull, some sharp, some jagged, some smooth. Some old, one painfully new. I can’t be too upset at you; it’s in your nature, after all. But is it mine? But our relationship has been toxic for over fifteen years. It’s wild it’s been that long, right? Day One, eleven years old. Craft scissors. That’s sad. I was sad. My poor arm. Poor you, too, Craft Scissors. You were meant for construction paper and cards, not little girls’ inner forearms.

Fifteen years is a long time. Granted, we’ve been off and on since age twenty-one. I stopped — for years. Got a tattoo in honor of resilience and overcoming, too. Then you-know-who came along, and I added another trauma to my resume: DV. DV, blaring TV, sitting in the bath cutting like old old me. That’s sad, too. I remember making an effort to keep the blood from dripping on the tattoo. I didn’t want it to feel my shame.

I’ve never been good at saying goodbye. I dance around the words, the notion of finality. I tell myself it’s not really the end, because maybe we could meet again “someday.” But there shouldn’t be a someday if there’s abuse, and we both know what’s been going on here. So, I have to be strong; you do, too. But not in the way we’re used to. Strong doesn’t mean holding everything in. Strong doesn’t mean weathering the storm alone, or crying in the tub alone, or isolating within the ugliness that makes it hard to breathe.

Humans aren’t meant for that. I mean, crying in the tub now and then is fine, water is water, but humans are meant to be connected. That sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Emotionally, evolutionarily, basically — we need each other. We just do. And it’s time I learned how to rely on people and friends instead of household weapons.

So, weapons no more. Scissors are just scissors. I hope to see you cut wrapping paper one day. I hope box cutters open boxes of presents, and kitchen knives divide dinner for loved ones, and we all move on. Boundary setting can be difficult, particularly for those who have historically struggled with it, but it is necessary.

Before we shake hands and part ways, I would like to thank you, as weird as that may sound. Yes, what we did was unhealthy; yes, it left me with (many) scars. But I don’t know how I would have survived without you, especially during my teenage years. Learning how to cope healthily took years; and honestly, I’ll be damned if I let anyone, including myself, shame me for the ways in which I once survived. I acknowledge you for that. I acknowledge me for that. I acknowledge survival and I acknowledge moving on and moving up and moving forward.

So at long last, goodbye. Don’t worry too much, though; I’m going to be okay now.



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J.N. Estey

J.N. Estey

She/her. MSW. Published writer and poet. Columbia ’21. ☀️ = Professional work, 🌙 = Personal work.