How does one write an essay to her ex? How does one subvert the genre of breakup essays?
I will start by thanking my gorgeous friends, who assured me consistently (and eventually with exasperation) that I would, in fact, get over the man I dated when I was in my early twenties.
“He was the love of my life!” I declared.
“I will never find a love like him again!” I weeped.
“You’re not right for each other,” they assured me.
Still, heartbreak in your early twenties hurts—well, it always hurts—and there is often an identity crisis that follows. (Hello, sitcom-starring-me vibes.)
The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to spend a lot of time questioning everything about my life during the six years of our relationship.
Who knew that I didn’t actually like craft beer? I was heavily invested in that culture during my relationship. (Ah, wasted youth.)
Who knew that relationships should be built on deep emotional compatibility? I now realize that we weren’t The One for each other, and what a relief!
It is a tumultuous time right now, and I don’t want to say that I found myself during a pandemic (because that is, say it with me: insane), but I have settled into my own life. As my own person.
Have I subverted the genre of breakup essays yet?
I have written many standup comedy bits about my Ex Lover. I have definitely overdramatized our relationship and our breakup (sitcoms require drama).
What would a letter to my Ex Lover say that I haven’t already shared in a standup set?
I mean, I often knew exactly what he was up to and how he was doing. We did the whole, “let’s stay in each other’s lives” thing for a while. And while we were “staying in each other’s lives,” I jokingly asked for a MacBook Air in return for the emotional support and labour I provided him with for six years. I actually did need it for my new job.
So perhaps my letter to my Ex Lover would say:
Hiy hiy moniyaw (“thank you, non-Indigenous man” in Plains Cree). I hope you are staying safe during the pandem. Wear a mask and thank you for the MacBook + AirPods.
This version is what I would send to seem chill and aloof despite not being either of those things.
Maybe my letter would say:
Hiy hiy moniyaw (“thank you, non-Indigenous man”) for the MacBook and also, your love.
We really did have an extremely beautiful and loving relationship.
Thank you for loving me in the only way you knew how (very little physical affection, but with acts of service and material gifts).
J’adored our brunch dates and extremely palatable conversation.
I wish you nothing but health and safety and new love with a new someone who has the same energy and love languages that you do.
I promise to continue to pretend that I am the main character in a long-running HBO sitcom, with an incredible costume designer, set in a nondescript major city. The kind of sitcom that has a cult following—because as you know, I have an extremely polarizing personality and not everyone falls in love with me. You played a very important role in my life and in my sitcom.
Thank you for the MacBook and also, your love.
Please wear a mask at all times.
I think that is all.
I can’t think of anything further that I have to say to my Ex Lover.
Our time together was beautiful, but I am ready for a new life filled with new love for myself (and maybe a long-term entanglement with someone named Matt or Phoenix).
It’s about time I moved on and stopped crediting my Ex Lover for my growth, strength, and power. I built this life on my own.
I mean, I didn’t buy that MacBook myself, but you see what I’m getting at.
Niya Nehiyaw Iskwew Sohkitakosiw. I am a Cree Woman with a strong/powerful voice.
So maybe my letter should just say:Atamiskawêw Hiy Hiy Moniyaw (“goodbye, thank you, non-Indigenous man”).