It’s not you, it’s me.
I’ve been meaning to write this letter for a while old friend. It’s been on my mind for a while now and I think it’s only fair on both of us if we take a break.
I want you to know that it’s not because I don’t love you. You’ve been everything I could have ever dreamed you to be, and you were everything I ever wanted, for a while.
When I was younger I would think about you like some unachievable goal, I’d look at you and think you were far too out of my league and that nothing would ever happen between us- but I never let go. I worked and studied hard and finally I had you. And I wrapped my arms around you and threw myself into you and you completely became part of me. We travelled the world, we were poor, we were slightly less poor, you were my friends, my family, my social life- so much so that I started to forget who I was. But that was a good thing, it was what I needed, for a while.
But there’s someone else. And there always has been.
I remember that moment clearly, the deciding one, when I was in a meeting at school.
It was outside the drama studio funnily enough, wedged between there and the dyslexia room (how poetic) on a little table and chairs where I sat opposite a teacher who knew nothing about me but my name. The backs of my thighs were stuck to the chair probably because it was summer and we wore those inappropriate skirts.
This teacher (that one with the face of someone who drank too much whiskey who i bitterly resented for giving me a detention for having an untucked shirt), he asked me what I wanted to be. In those words. What do you want to be Josephine?
And I said. Well I either want to work in theatre or be a nurse.
To which he replied ‘theatre is not a stable profession I think you should be a nurse’
And in that moment I decided. I decided to go for you. I wanted to do everything in my power to prove the red faced man in front of me that I could. And I did. I found you.
But as the years went by and the stubbornness went in phases I kept thinking about nursing. About what my life could have been like if I’d chosen them instead. But I knew I’d made the right choice in you. I knew that you were the right choice for me then. And I don’t regret a moment of it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you. I love you with all my heart and I never want to stop being with you, but I want to try something else for a while, look at our relationship in a more ‘open’ way.
Maybe, in a while, we can look at this relationship as exclusive again (and I don’t feel bad in saying this to you since you’re not actually a human with emotions) but now I need you to be my friend, because this was a really hard decision to make and I need you. I certainly didn’t decide to do this because I wanted to lose you.
Some people haven’t understood my decision. You’re the wild option and they either think I’ve decided to be sensible because I can’t handle you or I’ve ‘come to my senses’ but that isn’t true, dear art, because I want to be a nurse just as much as I wanted to be an artist. Sensible, if anything, would not be moving to a new city and getting myself further into debt and trying my hand at yet another career (which I’ve been doing quite well at might I add) attacked by Tory budget cuts.
This is something new I want to try, my polyamorous relationship of careers.
My time with you will make me a better nurse, as I’m sure my time nursing will in turn make me a better artist. Or at least an absolute must have collaborator for anyone wanting Wellcome Trust funding. A nursist. Or arse. Only time will tell with that one.
I’d like to go back to the red faced teacher one day (I know which pub to find him in too) and say ‘actually sir, I did both’ but he won’t remember me, I’ll just be one of the many children he told not to do something creative and risky.
All my love, but definitely not a goodbye.