Dear Pols…

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It’s my half-birthday today (I know, I know… but any excuse for cake, right?) which means it’s a year since I wrote this letter to myself. I’ll probably scribble myself a quick reply later, so I thought I’d put the original letter here. It was previously on my blog, but I deleted it because I’m a bit of an overly emotional idiot really I was having an administrative reorganisation of my blog.

 

Life has been interesting lately. Actually, that’s an understatement. Life has been a roller coaster lately. Highs, higher highs, lows, long slow climbs that you just know have an enormous drop on the other side but aren’t quite sure how far the drop is, and a whole plethora of emotions. I haven’t blogged about any of it because, if I’m honest, I’m not sure I ever want to be able to revisit most of those places in the future. I do know from conversations with lots of people, though, that I’m not the first to be where I was, and I’m certainly not the only one to be in that place right now.

 

As you all know, I’m partial to the odd trite saying. I love a cheesy cliché, I do, and recent times have been no exception to that. Naturally, my corny catchphrase of choice of late has been “this too shall pass”. It got me thinking… It WILL pass. Of course it will. Everything does. But where will I be when events of the last few months are filed under D for Distant Memory? I guess the answer to that is that I don’t know (who does?) but I’m thinking best case scenario here, and having a word with the me who emerges from this in twelve months’ time…

 

Dear Pols (aged 34 and a half),

 

How are you? With any luck you’ll be reading this in the same place I wrote it: at your desk in the office at home, looking out at the children playing in the garden. They’ll be bigger than they are now but I don’t expect they’ll have changed much otherwise. This past year will have been tough on them at first, but I suspect the children you see in front of you now will have adapted nicely; they’re tough little cookies and they have your (our? This whole writing-to-yourself thing is kind of weird) strength of character. It’s that thing Dad used to say, isn’t it? Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. It has been tough. Horrendously tough. Unexpectedly and unpredictable tough. But we’re tough too, and so are those children, and that’s why I can write this knowing we all got there in the end.

 

You’ll have learned a lot in this past year, I expect. One of the lessons I’ve already learned is that sometimes there is just no right way to handle a situation. Or, if there is, it usually comes with the benefit of hindsight. I guess everyone in life is just muddling through as best they can. Maybe other people would have chosen different ways or different paths, but I did the best I could and I hope the road I chose for us has brought you to a destination where you’re happy. I’m pretty certain it has. When I look around me now, I see the green shoots of a promising future. The clouds have been many, but the silver linings have been plentiful too and I hope they’ve long outlasted the clouds.

 

I’ve been working harder on being kind to myself, so hopefully I’ve made that job easier for you. I’ve learned recently to take the lessons from the times I could have handled things better, and let the rest go; chuck them in that proverbial fuck-it bucket and move on. I’ve also learned to stop taking responsibility for the way other people deal with situations. I hope that’s worked out well for you. People react to stuff in their own way; it’s not your job to work through that for them or to accept responsibility for how they feel. Nor is it your job to guide them to the truth, or to explain yourself.

 

You have some really wonderful friends, Pols. People whose support and love has been unending and unconditional. I hope you have the opportunity to repay that to them one day. Meantime, they know how much they mean to you because I’ve told them. You should know who your friends are by now, because I’ve pretty much figured out who’s in it for the long haul, and who isn’t.

 

I know this will find you in a house full of happiness and love, because that’s what I’ve been building for you. A wonderful, crazy home with laughter and fun and a never ending source of strength. You’re loved, you’re wanted and most of all you’re utterly fabulous. I know that last bit because someone we know told me. Your future is bright, and anything else will pass.

 

Be happy, Pauline. Let me know how it goes.

 

Love,

 

Pols (aged 33 and a half)

Saying Goodbye

This is a post I wrote on December 1st last year, and never published. Today – overwhelmed by the myriad emotions of this seemingly endless journey – I went looking for it in the hope of rediscovering perspective.

I was never sure how I might feel when The Night finally came; that long awaited night when we’d finally pack up all of Jessica’s male things and say goodbye to them for good. It’s fair to say it’s taken me a long time to reach the point of acceptance, and I know my emotions are still a little fragile. Loving Jess is easy, but coming to terms with losing Him was a long and painful process. Last night was The Night, and I finally said goodbye to the man I’d fallen in love with.

How I loved that man. He literally swept me off my feet and loved me in a way I’d never experienced. The memories of our days together, him and me, are among the most precious things I possess and they remain a beautiful but bittersweet place to visit in my mind. My mind is overflowing with memories of things we did, places we went, and feelings which grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I spent months torturing myself with trips down memory lane, where my mind was haunted by that amazing man who stole my heart and then left me. I looked again and again at my favourite photographs, knowing they would break my heart a little bit more, and I missed him so much that it ached.

Of course, he hadn’t left me at all. All he’d done was throw off the mask he’d spend a lifetime wearing to reveal Jessica, the woman he’d been hiding inside all along. It didn’t take long for me to see that, beneath her feminine exterior, Jess was that same wonderful person I adored. She had the same sense of humour, the same gentle manner, and the same twinkle in her eye. The safety and comfort of the deep love we share had given her the confidence and the self-belief to be herself, and it truly is a beautiful thing to behold. I’ve watched this wonderful, courageous woman emerge from behind a disguise she thought she’d been condemned to wear for life. Jessica isn’t second prize; she’s the star turn taking to the stage after the warm-up guy finished doing what he’d set out to do.

So, as we packed up his things and bundled them into the bin, I finally discovered the answer to the question of how I’d feel when it was time to say goodbye. Thankful, that’s how I felt: thankful to him for being the person to introduce me to the incredible woman sitting opposite me as I write this. He showed me that it was okay to let go of him, and that my heart would be safe with her. He gave me the strength and courage to choose this path, and he held my hand as I took the first tentative steps along it. As Jessica and I set off on our new adventure, we’ll remember him fondly as the reason we’re together.

Gooodbye, J. Thank you for the memories.