The Breakup

(I wrote this piece as a exercise given to me by my therapist. All humor aside, This excercise helped me to more clearly see the unhealthy relationship I had with my credit cards. I am happy to report that although I have been tempted to re-open my Nordstrom account. several times, we still remain "broken up")

(Toni is sitting in front of shredder with a pile of recently paid off credit card statements and cancelled credit cards. The Nordstrom card starts jumping up and down.)

“Hey Toni! Can we talk?”

“Sure. What’s up?”

“Well, to be honest, I’m hurt and totally side swiped me here. I understand that you feel a need to make a change - but completely discarding me, removing me from your life, shredding me to pieces…it just seems so unfair to you…and to me. We’ve been together a long time..we had a good thing going on. I was always there for you. When you wanted something I came through for questions asked- no judging! Now I feel like you were just using me…didn’t I mean anything to you?”

“Listen, I had to change. You made me feel powerful but it wasn’t real. Having you in my back pocket just made it easy for me to be irresponsible. I won’t lie…I enjoyed those carefree moments, the high I would get from you. But at the end of the day I was in denial. I was left with a quick thrill but then I always felt I owed you. And I felt crappy about myself not telling my husband about you. Sneaking packages into the closet…secretly paying you off each month. It was wrong. I tried to ignore how much I owed you and you didn’t seem to mind. In fact you just made it too easy for me. You never put limits on me. You just let me get in deeper. You enabled me. This relationship is not healthy for me. Trust me it is not easy to let you go, but it’s for the best.”

“Well then won’t you miss me?"

“Terribly I fear.”

“And what will you do once you find yourself wanting something expensive? Who is going to be there for you? How are you going to satisfy yourself?”

“Honestly, I am not really sure yet. I don’t have all the answers. I only know that I need it to be more difficult for me right now. Not having such easy access to the things I desire will force me to not be compulsive. It will force me to take my time and determine if I really need something and maybe just maybe I can learn to live without everything I desire. “

“Yes but what about all the perks that having me around gave you? The free massages, the VIP treatment, all those points! Think of everything you will no longer have!”

“Well I never used most of those ‘perks’! Sure, the points are nice, but I’d rather lose them in exchange for not having a mound of debt.”

“And the pre-access to the July sale I give you? Are you forgetting that! Don’t you want to be first to all the best deals!”

“I won’t lie…I panicked at first when you mentioned that. It might be hard next July,. But when I think of the absurd amount I spent this past summer from the sale, I can’t recall one item that I couldn’t do without or couldn’t wait for. And I noticed that after the sale was over and September rolled around many of those items were still on sale! I’ll be okay without the pre-access. I’ll actually be more than okay because I won’t have the ability to trip myself up thinking I need everything I see! I am going to work hard to enjoy shopping in a new way. I am going to go with CASH.”

“No! You can’t leave me for CASH - that dirty green monster - my arch nemesis!”

“But yes I must because you are just not good for me. For all you say you have done for me have you forgotten the 19% interest you would charge me for your part in our relationship. I can see clearly now how much I was actually overpaying for these ‘deals’ I was getting! Pretty sure all those pre-sale items have cost me a lot more than their non-sale prices with the interest I was paying each month. I was blinded by you and all I thought you had to offer me. But now it’s just not worth it. Our relationship must end and I am going to go to cash only. But I do hurt and I sometimes panic over not having you in my life anymore. I must continue to remind myself of the person I want to be and I can’t be that person with you.”

(Toni takes a deep breath and puts the Nordstrom card in the shredding machine slot )


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