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Friends with Benefits

teafaerie | Musings | Friday, February 28th, 2014

Dear Mary Jane,

I’m afraid that this letter is not going to be easy for you to read; but there is a lot of important stuff that I really need to say to you right now, and you know how writing things out helps me to organize my thoughts.

Photo of the Teafaerie

First off (and perhaps most importantly) I want to take the time to remind you of how very much I appreciate you. You were my first love, and I will never forget the magical days of passionate discovery that we shared when we first got together. I was so very smitten with you!

You were the girl that my mother had warned me about. Which, of course, only added to your considerable mystique at the time. And you were always a whole lot of fun to be around, even if you sometimes got me into trouble. You were popular with the cool kids (unlike dorky old me), and when we first hooked up I thought that your casual lawlessness made me look sophisticated. Plus, you already seemed to be acquainted with almost everybody who I wanted to get to know better, and whenever I brought you to a party I always had a fairly easy time making friends.

As we grew closer you became my constant companion. Everything just seemed like so much more fun when we were together! I love going to the movies with you, I love going camping and exploring the great outdoors with you, and I love going out to dinner with you. I even appreciate just sitting quietly at home together. And you know how much I enjoy your company in bed and in the bathtub!

Besides, you’ve always been there for me when I needed you. You help me to relax when I’m too wound up, and you gently soothe my little aches and pains whenever I’m not feeling well. (Remember that time when I was nauseous for DAYS and you were the only one in the world who offered me any solace at all?)

I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten about any of that, and I never will. Furthermore, I want you to know that I really and truly do hope with all of my heart that we will always find some way to remain friends. There are aspects of myself that only you can bring out in me, and I really do want you to be a part of my life!

But… (You knew that there was a butt coming, huh? I really am sorry for dragging this out.) But the reality of the situation is that we’ve been growing apart for a long time now. I’m sure that you know what I’m talking about.

It’s not your fault. I’m the one who has changed, and I totally take full responsibility for that. I’ve recently gotten really busy with a lot of important projects (some of which you admittedly helped to inspire), and I simply don’t have as much free time to hang out with you now as I used to. And I KNOW that you really want to assist me with those projects, too, but trying to work on some of these things with you can turn out to be rather like letting my 4-year-old niece “help” me make cookies, you know? It may be a whole lot of fun, but it doesn’t exactly get the job done any faster.

We’ve both seen this coming for a long time, I think. But it really clicked into focus for me when we spent a couple of months apart recently. I missed you, of course, but I also got a chance to rediscover a few things about myself that I’d almost forgotten about over the years, and I feel that I could really get a lot of benefit out of exploring some of those long-lost elements of my personality at greater depth.

There are also a few things that I’ve been feeling vaguely angry with you about for a long time, but I’ve only recently been able to articulate them. To put it bluntly (and again, I apologize if this seems overly harsh), I’m getting extremely sick and tired of your passive aggressive bullshit! There. I said it. Like for instance the way that you keep ordering pizza and filling the freezer full of ice cream when you know damn good and well that I’m trying to eat more healthy foods.

Why are you always “accidentally” mislaying my car keys? Why do you persistently encourage me to procrastinate whenever you know that I’m on a tight deadline? And the way that you’re always trying to make me feel like I need you in order to medicate my persistent background anxiety feels a little bit codependent around the edges. Anxiety is a natural part of life. And somehow I managed it just fine while I was away from you, now didn’t I?

But even more disturbingly, its been becoming more and more obvious to me that you’ve been subtly sabotaging some of my other important friendships all along. I’m thinking specifically of my childhood friend Morpheus, with whom I got a long-awaited opportunity to reconnect during our recent separation. Truth be told he took me on long, wonderful, exquisitely lucid adventures almost every night while we were apart, and I have to admit that I enjoyed every minute of it! I really had forgotten about how very much I love him. And frankly I found it suspicious how easily I was able to regain access to his realm almost as soon I got far enough away from you. I mean, jealous much? Is that why you always try to make me too lazy to go out and play with my friends? You tried to convince me that I needed you in order to fend off the dreaded Sobriety Sickness, but it turns out that after it settles in for about a week, the natural state actually has a lot to recommend it. But you didn’t want me to find out about that, did you? You always seemed to find some new excuse to drag me back into your clutches, every time I almost managed to get you out of my system for long enough to notice that sobriety itself can actually be a fascinating biochemical state in its own right.

The uncomfortable truth is that you’ve been making me feel kind of nervous lately. It’s nothing that you’ve said or done. It might be a simple matter of my changing metabolism. Or maybe I’m just growing up. But ever since we took that break, simply being around you seems to fill me with a sort of ill-defined contentless anxiety. Maybe it’s just a phase that I’m going through and we’ll be able to work it out and get back together someday when we both have a clearer idea about what it is that we really want out of our relationship.

I hope this doesn’t come across as a goodbye letter. Like I said, you’ve been such an invaluable inspiration to me, and it would break my heart if you and I were to ever lose touch with one another. I just think that it would be beneficial for both of us if we were to spend a little bit more time apart for a while. It’s partly that I want to explore my relationship with Morpheus, of course. But more than that, I guess that I feel compelled to try to find out who I am on my own. We’ve been together for half of my life now, you know? I’ve haven’t really experienced what it’s like to be by myself since I was in college. I guess that it’s just something that I feel like I need to revisit for a while.

I’m so proud of all of your recent accomplishments! I wish you the very best of good fortune in your upcoming legal battles. Hang in there! I really do think that it’s only a matter of time. And good luck with your medical work, too. You’re such an extraordinarily talented healer, and I strongly believe that you’re well on your way to establishing the wider credibility and social acceptance that you so richly deserve.

I hope that you can understand where I’m coming from here, and that you don’t end up taking any of this too personally. I just need a little bit of me time right now. It happens. And like I said, I’m sure that I’ll eventually want to start seeing you again at some point. But I think that it would be much healthier if we were able to eventually work out some kind of an occasional friends-with-benefits arrangement, rather than trying to make a go of it as full time partners.

Oh my sweet, sweet Mary Jane! I’ll never regret the time that we spent together. You’ve played a big part in making me who I am today, and I shall be forever grateful. Thank you for all of the laughs, the lessons, the insights, the fun adventures, the comfort, the inspiration, and most of all for providing me with your unique and fascinating perspective on life.

This isn’t the end, old friend. It’s just another opportunity for transformation.

With kindest regards,

The Teafaerie*

 Taefaerie Says Farewell