It’s not you, it’s me

The end of a relationship is never easy.  Even when things end badly, or it’s your choice to end the relationship, it is still not easy.  A great deal of thought must go into examining something that is a part of your life, weighing the good vs the bad, and making the decision that it is better to live without that something, than it is to live with it.   But still, the choice is rarely easy.

Although I knew this day was coming.  Today I had to face the end of a long relationship.  10 + years.  Nearly ¼ of my life spent living with them.  Every day, twice a day, interacting with them, regretting the times I don’t see them.  Knowing there would be consequences to my neglect.

Many times over the years, I’ve considered what life would be like without them.  Facing life without them was scary.  So scary, in fact, that I kept myself in denial.  For four months I denied that it was over.  I moved on to something new.  Something exciting.  Something that wasn’t as harsh.  Something that didn’t leave me stripped bare and vulnerable at the end of the day. I knew, eventually, I would have to tell them that its over.

I knew I had to end it.  I knew there was no way for me to do it in person.  A phone call?  That was, probably, the only way.  I wrote myself little notes about it.  But those notes always got tucked away because I knew it was a difficult call to make.

There would be questions.  They would ask me, maybe some begging.  And truthfully, I knew I couldn’t walk away completely.  They are a hard habit to break. I knew, there was the chance that I would have to look backward.  I may need to revisit them.

I even tried to end it through sneaky means.  One that would never give them an explanation of my absence.  Despite the fact that it was sneaky, it would shield me from the pain… the confrontation…the realization that I may, in fact, be able to live without them.

I had to cut the cord.  And I had to do it today.  Oh there were signs.  I am not going to deny it.  About 10 weeks ago, I received my first sign.  It was a small box on my porch.  A “gift” from them.  I put it aside.  I didn’t even open it.  My decision was MADE.  Opening that box wasn’t going to change anything.  I knew what I had to do.

You may ask…  did my husband know?  Did I give him any indication of my decision?  Did I tell him it would be over?  Did I tell him I was considering cheating?  Yes.  I told him.  I HAD to.  I could not lie to him.  He is too good. He was the ONE person I had always been completely honest with even though I had not been honest with myself.  In fact, he is the reason I chose to end it today.

The email from him came early.  At 7:51am the email came.  It was 16 words from my husband.  A mere 16 words, that cojoled me to take the necessary action.  It was a turning point:

“ Why are we still being billed for Proactiv?  I thought you were not using it anymore?”

Busted.  I was busted.  He was right.  I wasn’t using Proactiv anymore.  I had made the decision to move on.  In fact, I had moved on, four months earlier and I was happy!  I couldn’t deny the fact that I was happy.  I knew I had to break-up with The Proactiv Solution.

Inevitably, when you move forward you will be compelled to look back.  I remembered with horror, and with a bit of a chuckle now… how it all began.

I had started to work for a new company.  It was a German owned company and consequently, I had many German colleagues.  One such colleague worked in the office next door.  I do not know if you have ever worked with a German before, but many of the stereotypes are true.

To be certain I wasn’t mis-speaking,  I decided to google “German Stereotypes”  This is what I came up with:  Dodgy Facial hair.  Well, maybe, but not in this case.  What else?  Common German Stereotypes:  They say what they think, they are admirably well-ordered, splendidly disciplined.   I will go on to say, most German people (at least the ones I know) think, unequivocally, their way is the best and ONLY way to do things.

One day I sat in my office… and at the time I was 32, so not a teenager, and I had a few pesky blemishes.  I knew, VERY WELL, they were there.  In fact, I was self-conscious of them.   Most people, at least, most American people, would just not say anything about them.  Not Germans.  And particularly not the German in the office next to me.  She came in and said “Kristin!  Do you know that you have these spots on your face?”  And she pointed, on her own face, to the places where my “spots” were.

“Yes,” I said “I am aware of these spots.”

“ They are pimples?” the lady-German asked.

“Yes, they are.”  Willing her to turn around and leave my office.

“Have you ever tried The Proactiv Solution?” she asked

“Well, no.  I see a dermatologist and she, pretty much, tells me what to use.”  I replied

Miraculously, she turned and left my office.

A few weeks later, The Lady-German entered my office and said “Kristin!”  and placed a small white box in front of me “I have ordered, for you, The Proactiv Solution?  You will receive it at an interval of 6 weeks?  The cost is $48?  And you must transfer the charge to your own  credit card?”  (Have you ever noticed, English as a second language people- every sentence ends in an up-tone or a question?)

Can someone tell me how to respond to this conversation?  Bear in mind, I BARELY knew this person.  I was in a new job, at a new company.  So I did what any sheep would do.  I thanked her for spending $48 of my money, every month for the foreseeable future and was relieved when she left my office.    I think, I was in shock, to some degree.

(Before you Germans get your Lederhosen in a knot… my co-worker, I honestly believe, had the best of intentions.   She really was trying to help me, I know that.  But she went about it in the wrong way.  Then again, she also invited herself on my vacation to San Francisco.

“You are going to San Francisco? I will join you.”

WHAT?!?!?!

And then wound up inviting a friend of hers to join us.   To join us on a vacation I never, actually, invited her to join.  That is a whole other story.)

At home, I stared at that little white box.  I resented it.   I resented the fact that I hadn’t been like- “I didn’t ask you to order that and I’m not taking it.”   Harrumph.  Well I own it… I might as well TRY it.  At least if it didn’t work, I could tell Miss Deutschland that she was WRONG.

So I did.  I tried it.

Damn it.  It worked.

It worked.  However… my dermatologist had just prescribed a vitamin for me to take right around the same time.  So I didn’t TRULY know which was working.  Was it the Vitamin or the f*cking Proactiv?   My skin looked so good I was afraid to find out.  So I continued on, using both the Proactiv and The Vitamin.

Until… the Vitamin broke up with me.  Or more specifically, my insurance FORCED the Vitamin to break up with me.  So, I was forced to see whether my good skin was the result of the Proactiv alone.  As it turns out, it was.   I took comfort in the fact I hadn’t wasted $2,880 on Proactiv when a freaking Fred Flintstone Vitamin would have done the trick.

Enough about the romance, let’s move onto the juicy stuff: The Break-up.

A few weeks ago, I received a new debit card.  Inexplicably.  I didn’t request it, however, Bank of America thought that there could be some fraudulent activity on my card.    My immediate thought was – Oh good, my credit card on my next shipment of Proactiv will get declined and I won’t have to break up with them!!  Coward’s way out- which fits me to a T.   (Apparently, I forgot that I had changed that charge to a credit card to “get the points,” hence the phone call from Tony.)

In the end, I picked the semi-coward way out, canceling via “live chat.”   I like to avoid human contact at all costs.

Sarah, the “Agent,”  tried to persuade me to just try a “Proactiv Booty Call”  which is 2 or 3 shipments per year.  I stayed strong.  Well, semi-strong.   I did request to still get ONE product ever ninety days.  But after I blew off her booty call she iced me out.  No auto delivery on a single item, no discount.   ☹

I did hit her with the “It’s not you, it’s me.”   I said “I love Proactiv, I’m just not IN love with Proactiv.”  I told her I wanted to be friends.  I even suggested
we be “ friends with benefits.  She wouldn’t budge.  So at the very end I told Sarah she was fat and I could do better.

Seriously, the real reason I have stopped using Proactiv is… I’m a little old for it.  My skin is clear and I need some products that are less drying.  I, honestly, LOVE Proactiv and think it’s a great product and it changed my life and has made a lot of people a lot happier with their skin.  I have nothing but love for Proactiv and for Agent Sarah, who I am sure is a beautiful woman and is not fat.  And who knows, I may be back and I still plan to order the ONE product I still use whenever I need it. 

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