Hi. It’s me. Eli. How’ve you been? Yeah, I noticed you. No, I wasn’t trying to avoid you. I was … hey, we can be honest, right? Yeah, I was ducking you. It’s just … it’s just that I’m happy, you know? No, I haven’t gotten a raise, and I haven’t really replaced you.
I mean, I’m doing things, mingling.
That space you once occupied in my life? It doesn’t really exist anymore. I can’t say that I’ve replaced you, one for one. My life is different right now. It doesn’t involve trying to get the most of you, or understanding you, or making a case for or against you.
It’s a tranquility I could have never known if I’d never given you up.
You figured I’d come crawling back. I was so into you. You filled my mornings, from the moment I woke up, until I arrived at work, and beyond. I couldn’t get enough of you. You lured me in with muses like Lauren Frayer, and kept me hooked with political discord.
You are a problem, news, that I’m no longer beholden to try and solve.
Fooled by a business?
This isn’t meant to be malicious, but … the you I once loved? It had so much substance. Or was I fooled by adoration and proximity? I felt you held the key to the universe. The answers. The right questions. The discourse, the ideas, the solutions.
I was so wrong.
The you I see now has little capacity for good things. Jesus Jones, have you looked at yourself in the mirror? Your headlines, for starters. I wanted to go back and give you examples. Incidents in which you were absurd and sensationalist.
Know what, though? I can’t even stomach you that long.
I can’t identify news from sponsored content because the lines are blurred, “fair and balanced,” an imperfect idea, a long-ago concept. It feels to me like a constant stream of vitriol, leaving a void where once I could turn to you for perspective, a starting point.
I could once think through what you offered, but now I don’t even recognize you.
If I scrolled through until I found kindness, humanity, an ounce of mindfulness from any point on the political spectrum, I’d grow weary in the search. The only world I can truly depend on is the one inside the scope of my sight, in close proximity to where I am.
My window to the world, shattered
Maybe your implosion serves a greater purpose.
It really sucks, though, you know that? It wasn’t long ago I could tune to NPR or read a news feed and come away with a sense of understanding of the world we live in. Now, it’s nastiness. It’s a pervasive venom that threatens to seep into my bloodstream.
I won’t let it.
I’ll stand down, write, think, love. I’ll eat fast-food burritos, oblivious to the political leanings of the restaurant’s owner. I won’t name call or defend. I’ll turn up the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and fall in love with the woman in this Twizzler commercial.
You’ve about ruined sports for me, too. Did you know that?
To find game stories for my Avalanche, Broncos, Nuggets, and Rockies teeters on the hopeless. Instead, I’m force-fed updates on player-commentator feuds and prison-life rumors. I get plenty of fighting words and AAU coaches and piss and vinegar of all types.
I don’t know anymore who’s won, but I do know I’m tired of losing.
You’re like a sunburn.
I don’t need your ass. Plain as that. I feel bad for saying this because I’ve found a mindfulness not possible while your petty ass occupied my attention. It’s in breaking the cycle, for seconds, literally, of the blame and shame you insist on injecting us with.
This breakup has galvanized my resolve to see kindness first, not only in the homeless man who needs a meal but in the overworked restaurant staff, impatient friends, the failure to see humanity in those we oppose, necessarily. I won’t sit back and watch.
What can one man do, anyway?
I can encourage those who need it. I can focus not on my president or my ozone or my neighborhood, but on my family, my surroundings, things close I can practice kindness to, not expect to change them to fit my narrow and personal value system.
That’s so much more than I can say for you.
I can’t stop the clicks on you, the reliance by those who form their worlds in the shape of your words. I haven’t replaced you, but I have replaced the anxiety and resentment you’ve planted in me. I’m free. And we’re never, ever getting back together.