I am breaking up with work again for the third time in two years. It has taken a specific courage that does not occur naturally in people pleasers. When I broke the news to the powers-that-be, I delivered the line of “it’s not you, it’s me.” My loyalty makes it hard for me to sever any ties.
When I was two years old, my grandfather's girlfriend gifted me a brilliant white teddy bear with a plaid bow tie. She was most likely intended to be male, but I clipped the bow to her ear like a hair piece and named her Missy because I longed for a little sister. Enclosed in the zipped pouch in her bottom were usually halved pieces of Juicy Fruit or barrettes. She was loved because I had an imagination that encroached reality. If a hurricane threatened our home, then Missy and I were suddenly sailors lost at sea hunkering down in my bed's comforter as the tides threatened to engulf us. She was an avid pupil, and her glass eyes riveted to my chalk board as I explained the day’s lesson. At night, when I trembled at the thought of UFOs abducting me from where I slept, she was the object that kept me calm and safe.
I grew up but I kept her.
When I moved out of a Park Slope sublet and into a Crown Heights sublet in 2008, she disappeared. The weird thing was that I didn’t have many material possessions aside from a bed, a computer and a closet of fast fashion that wouldn’t last through more than 10 cycles of laundry. What I did have, was a boyfriend who didn’t care what mattered to me if it didn’t matter to him. It took me months (years?) to realize that he’d swiftly tossed her in the move. Or he didn’t. Either way I was so distracted with the lack of a home base, and the agreement I had with him where we showed each other our worst selves, that I lost her in that time of transition, resentment, and young adulthood.
I’d always wanted to bestow Missy upon my offspring as a keepsake. Now that I have a child, I think maybe that what was an idealistic fantasy — Missy could never mean to my daughter what she meant to me. Maybe it’s better that she disappeared when she did. By throwing her away, he freed me of a childhood time capsule to which I would've always been loyal.