*Warning: naughty language ahead!
It has somehow felt like an eternity that’s passed in the blink of an eye.
How can it simultaneously feel like yesterday and a lifetime ago that I last saw you, smelled you, hugged you, teased you?
Five years since we went to dinner, or the beach, or rolled our eyes at Dad (sorry, Dad).
Five years that I have no idea how to even begin describing. Five years since someone could truly understand my feelings, or my childhood—or me.
Year one was mostly what you’d expect, I guess. I think I handled it a little better than anyone thought I would at first. People might tell you I was numb.
I got fired from my job. If I’m being honest, I really wasn’t doing it well at that point, so it was fair.
I used your insurance money to buy a few plane tickets and move to an island. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think I needed to physically escape any place where I held memories with you.
That was no easy task since we once shared a womb.
After year two, I thought I had it all figured out. Some things were messy, sure. But I had a few happier days. I made some really great new friends; I had a job that I loved; I felt like I had found some footing. I was moving to Brooklyn with my best friend. I was finally standing on solid ground again.
Year three was a real fucking wacky one. I let an old flame back in. I told a lot of lies. I seemed happy, sure, but I wasn’t on the inside.
And though you might think it would have been obvious at the time, I could never seem to figure out why. I drank too much, and I cried a lot. I must have gained nearly 25 pounds. I was angry at everything.
But I was also getting softer. I think the combination of it all was the pressure I needed to start wearing me down. To chip away at the walls I’d built. To dismantle the protective armour I wore in every waking moment of my life.
The best way to describe year four would probably be as a “filler year.” I took a few more great trips and decided to get my life in order somewhere along the way.
I felt everything deeply. My capacity for empathy and compassion somehow felt amplified. I smiled more often than not. I missed you, but it was tolerable. I healed old wounds. I started to take care of myself. I started to love myself.
Year five has been utterly transformative. It’s been fucking scary. Literally, anxiety-inducing. Beautiful. Freeing. Wild. Unexpected.
I gained a sense of confidence I’ve never felt before. A sense of security, the hope I always told people I had, but internally, wasn’t quite so sure of.
Through all the years, it’s been the one I’ve missed you most. I’ve wanted to text you on more occasions than ever before.
Especially when I fell in love with a wonderful, silly human who saw me for me. Someone whose eyes are always soft and kind, but especially when he’s looking my way. Who saw the version of me that I always wanted to be. Who saw the “me” that you knew, the version of me I had almost forgotten about.
Falling in love with him reminded me of how fiercely and deeply I could care about someone. And how fiercely and deeply I could care about myself. In a way that I haven’t let myself feel about anyone or anything at all since you’ve been gone.
And when he didn’t love me back, it taught me to let go. It taught me that I didn’t have to hold on to everything so tightly all the time. That I didn’t have to be afraid of everything anymore.
It reminded me that like you were, some things are beautiful but not intended to last; that like your life, things don’t always happen how we hope or imagine they will, and that is alright. It taught me that no matter what, I will be okay.
Year five has left me stronger and braver and hopefully a little wiser than I ever imagined that it would. And I am grateful for that.
It’s been quite a journey since I lost you—since I lost half of me.
Not a day goes by that you don’t cross my mind.
I feel this weird sense of nostalgia for all of the things that could have been, all of the memories we never got a chance to make.
But I’m not in any hurry to see you again. Thank you for visiting from time to time. And for sending signs when I need them most.
I think for the first time, I can honestly say that I’m doing the very best I can. My love for you will never falter—my memories will never fade.
I hope you’re proud of me.