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It's not you, it's me

A guide to how you will feel before, during, and after your breakup with the Humanities, in epistolary form.
By DAVID CARON  |  September 17, 2014


Dear Liberal Arts Degree,

I’m writing to you in clunky analog because I want to be sure I express with depth and precision exactly what it is I’m feeling right now. I expect your mind is racing already—typical of you really, “Why this? What could you possibly want to say that merits the slow collection of thoughts a letter implies?” (Let’s face it, Humanities: you think too much, which is part of why I care so deeply for you)—but I won’t keep you suspended by our usual kind of discursive patter. This might be hard for you to conceive of: beginning in medias res during a formal address. But you’ll understand, by the end, why I’ve chosen this device.

I love you and I’ll always love you, but we’ve grown apart. Or, at least, I have. It’s been a gradual deterioration: at first things seemed so cut and clear, black and white. We had our share of binary moments, but we pushed through by realizing how these differences emphasized important features of our respective lives. And I think we grew to appreciate those differences. Toward the end though… what can I say? It’s become so schizophrenic. You don’t seem able to make up your mind about anything anymore: it’s all jouissance or irony or pastiche—and oh, the jargon of it all! I just wish you would say what you mean every so often instead of making it so difficult! I get it: art is hard. But even that notion is passé these days.

I’ve been feeling this way for some time, and though I’m not one to subscribe to the idea that History has an arc or design or, further yet, end to it (these are things I’ve learned from you), I feel in this case that our history—the little one—has reached its intended denouement. I know it sounds irrational, but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that feelings often triumph over reason in cases like these.

That’s not to say I didn’t savor the time we had together. When I recollect my initial attraction to you I can’t help but admit that, at first, it felt like a fling—I had no desire to invest in a relationship and let’s be honest: there were others, of course there were others, you had to know that. Sarah Lawrence, St. John, Marlboro…you weren’t the only one, Farmington. I was simply biding my time: experimenting with new places, new people, new experiences.

You were older than me, much older in fact, and that had its own kind of appeal. Plus you didn’t live far away, which helped. However, despite the difference in age and my original intention to remain unavailable, I began to discover that I was, beneath the thin veneer of disinterest, investing myself in you. You were the only one among the lot of potential interests that seemed to want me, that pursued me. My parents were timid about endorsing the relationship, but I assured them it was what I wanted at this particular junction in my life. They did their best to support me, and I was able to come home on occasion to do laundry and chitchat about how things were going.

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