Looking Ahead… But Also Looking Back

In all honesty I am unsure which direction to look in at present. I have absolutely no idea what both the near and far future holds for me, and right now looking back at the past year hurts rather a lot.

Four days ago I split up with my boyfriend. In truth both he and I knew it had to happen at some point, but I didn’t know when, and I hadn’t anticipated how much the end would hurt. Jules and I had a discussion in bed, the night before our one year anniversary, of all times. At that time we were still living together and not getting along well. From what I can remember it was quite an unpleasant discussion; one fuelled by some anger on my part as I felt I wasn’t being treated as I should be. We both said there was no love left between us, that we found it impossible to get along and there did not seem much point in continuing as a couple. The following day, on our anniversary, nothing was mentioned of our prior discussion but the entire day felt like a lie. I also felt annoyed that I had given him a card and gifts and received nothing at all in return. But what can one expect from a person who openly admits they no longer love you?

That was back in September and it was not long after that when I grew desperately unwell with anorexia, soon to be followed by stays in hospital and my admission to an eating disorders unit. So I suppose there was never a right time to split up or even have another discussion about splitting up. Our problems were just sort of swept under the carpet of my illness for a time, while I concentrated on almost killing myself and Jules concentrated on worrying about what might happen to me but also tried to get on with his life outside of our strange bubble.

As I have written about before, I ended up back here by the middle of October, living in my parents’ house and I have not seen Jules since the day I moved out of his house (hundreds of miles from here). We have barely communicated with one another, which for a while I resented. I got to a point where I would refuse to contact him first and left it down to him to- in a way- prove that he cared at all (as I was quite convinced that he didn’t then). Gradually our contact with one another faded and almost stopped entirely.

We had several ‘discussions’ over this two month period on the phone about breaking up, although that was really more of a case of me threatening him and never carrying anything through.

Until now.

Christmas came and went and I found myself in a state of doubt about many aspects of my current lifestyle, my fading relationship with Jules being one of them. I had been thinking seriously about putting a stop to things for a few days but I couldn’t bring myself to do it and found myself trying to swallow tears every time it came into my mind. But in the end I had to bite the bullet and take a deep breath before I dialled his number, as I realised there was never going to be a ‘right time.’ In that moment, before he answered, I was more concerned about causing him any harm than I was about hurting myself as a result. But actually (at least on the surface) he took it all surprisingly well and conducted himself in an impressively mature manner.

I did not manage to hold back the tears during the call as I had hoped I would, but there was no malice whatsoever between us and it all made sense, for a change. We both said we would like to stay in touch and that neither of us wants to cut the other out. If this works, this will be the first time I will have managed to maintain any sort of a friendship with an ex-boyfriend. I like the idea, but so often it’s impossible if the relationship ends in a mess or on a bad note on either side. Jules and I don’t seem to work as a couple, I will try my best not to dwell on  or have regrets about that, but we were in fact friends before for good reason and I genuinely respect and care for him as another person; I don’t have any reason to hold anything against him harshly.

Admittedly, I had a difficult night after putting down the phone. I have no doubt that Jules is thicker skinned than me- he has a lot of friends, a job he loves and plenty of distractions- whereas I spend most of most days sat alone and with nothing to do, with few I can be blessed to call my friends.

I tried to get hold of a couple of people in hope they could chat with me and reassure me that I had made the right decision and that I’m not a bad person or even a bad girlfriend. But no one would pick up so I found myself indulging in the terrible cliché that is listening to music, remembering and crying. It is not that I did not give Jules and I a chance, or that he did not give us a chance- we both gave our relationship many chances but it refused to work. I was more sad about the fact that ‘forever’ doesn’t ever seem to work out with me and men, and I was sad that we were happy once and we did have some amazing- surreal, even- times together. Instead of focusing on the arguments we had regularly towards the end, I couldn’t help, in my mind, looking back on the fun and crazy times we had together. It was painful that night to think of those times, but now I feel it is a nice thing to do. We should never try to erase our past, no matter what skeletons it may hold, the past was the present once and there’s nothing wrong at all with having fond memories of ex-lovers.  At least that’s what I believe.

I am still a little sore around the edges, one week on, but I don’t feel like I am grieving now over our breakup. In fact we have spoken on the phone since that day. Not for long and it was really only small talk but I really meant it when I said I do not wish to cut him out of my life, and I know he feels the same way about me. Instead of it being difficult to talk to him, it is a comfort as he knows me in a way many do not- of course he does, we lived together for quite some time- and so I can be myself and know that he cares what happens to me, as his friend.

I also feel that Jules is better off as a single man, or at least without having me as his girlfriend. He is such a sociable, youthful creature and I think our relationship put a strain on what he really wanted to do. I feel good that I want that for him now, as at one stage, when I was unwell, I was probably a little over demanding of his presence and attention.

I got through Christmas, and then I faced my breakup and some other challenges, and then New Year came along.

Once again, despite one hell of a terrible year, I was truly blessed with the company I shared, celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in all our lives. I was invited to my best friend’s house (who is staying in the same location as me until the end of the month when she goes travelling) by her mum and mum’s partner. We all ate vegan Mexican food (all for my personal benefit) and drank alcohol-free cocktails (also for my benefit, bless them) all night. The cocktails were amazing- nobody needed booze, we were genuinely wasted on sugar to the point where we had the giggles and could not string sentences together at one stage! We played games, danced under a bubble machine and laughed all night. I had not laughed like that in as long as I can remember, and it was just the greatest gift.

So often, when I am being hyper and a little off the wall, I am loopholed by others who will say I am acting out of sorts and it is my bipolar playing up. Not with them. I was entirely my wonderful, mad self that night without a single person passing judgment or telling me to ‘calm it down.’ I laughed uncontrollably until I cried and I said some silly things and generally let go of my usual act (which most days involves either pretending I am fine and not depressed or trying to seem less mad). I realised later that not everything I do is related to bipolar- I am me: I am hyper and I’m a bit unusual and I smile a lot. I wish I could feel that comfortable about the world every single day, as many others do, instead of being trapped in the prison of my mind and constantly worrying what people will say about me if I truly let go. Perhaps one day this will happen for me.

When midnight arrived and passed I held the same hope I do every year: This will be my year.

Apart from when I was a young child, there is not one year I can think of where things have gone particularly well for me, and this last year has to have been the worst yet, what with falling off a cliff, suspected bowel cancer, the death of a close loved one, hospitals and rehabs and almost dying from anorexia, being accused of fraud twice and being investigated, followed by the conclusion of another relationship and many, many issues with my mental health.

As the clock struck twelve I thought perhaps what seems like my string of awful luck will end in 2016 and my ship will finally come in. I am not asking for much, for now all I ask for is a small thing; a small sign that things are going to be OK to motivate me to keep going. I am not asking for perfection, I will happily settle for steady and… Well, not quite so shit!

Some say the transition between December 31st and January 1st is just another moment in the calendar that humans once created, while some call it a spiritual occasion. I myself am not sure, I certainly am not expecting any sudden miracles just because I have made that transition for the 25th time in my life, but I do hold out some hope that it is unlikely that things can stay bad forever.

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