If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.
After spending a lifetime with someone, it is so hard to say goodbye. The words just don’t come and the feeling is lost. Which is hard to say from someone who is supposed to be writer – I’m sure you’ll have an opinion on that. So I am saying it first, because I am accepting it’s hard. It is hard to face up to your shortcomings and figure out the next thing you’re supposed to get better at doing. And it’s hard taking the feedback you so generously provide, even without asking first.
Even after all our years together, you still don’t get it. Or maybe I just don’t get it. I can see you do it out of safety and think it’s the right thing, but it really isn’t. The things you do hurt me deeply, so why do you insist on inflicting pain?
We both know how this shit rolls. You pipe up when things are scary and new because you fear the unknown. And because you do that all the god damn time, when you do actually have something constructive to say – I dismiss it. Then you get pissed off and when you’re proved right, all I get is. ‘I told you so.’, and that’s not helpful, for either of us.
You keep me trapped on the sofa and engrossed in a Netfilx series, while my desk remains empty, the laptop closed and the blank page open. I am not stupid, I know what you’re playing at.
I am good and I have something to offer. If you could just have a little faith and wait for the impact of our offering, then… then you wouldn’t have to be so loud. Because you are very loud, almost deafening in my head. You take over and just steal the show. I can’t breath for the tension you have around me. You might think it’s a hug, but you don’t know your strength, its crushing me.
And this is why I have to let go first. I am so sorry. I have found another critic. Someone who I am for, someone who understands and craves the work I do because it resonates with them, they appreciate me. More than you do.
You have your own guilty pleasures – the ones you turn to when you think I am not looking and I bet you don’t criticise them for their work.
No, you fall into their escapism, drink it all in and come out with a glowing recommendation to anyone who will listen, and even those who don’t. Just because you love it!
Now, I have found a new critic and one you didn’t expect and one you definitely wouldn’t approve of. I am taking a risk and I have set the boundaries. You did teach me that much: manage expectations – on both sides. My new critic has their instructions and I have pledged to not take it personally because I value their feedback. They are giving me a new lease of life and the ability to move on, where you would keep me stuck.
I doubt this is goodbye forever. I know our paths will cross again one day. But know this, when that happens – I will acknowledge you, I will listen and I will thank you. That’s all.
I have moved on. I hope you can to, please don’t make this any harder than it needs to be.
Goodbye old friend, I hope you find the appreciation you are looking for, one day.
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