I find myself at a crossroads in my life not knowing which road to take. As I try to work out how I got here – single, jobless, directionless – I realise that it’s in part the fault of the men in my life, in particular: my biological father, my ex-boyfriend and my most recent boss. Paradoxically, I am eternally grateful to them for abandoning me, dumping me, and firing me, for I realise now, thanks to the gift of hindsight, that these are the kindest things that they could have done for me.
I never knew my biological father. ‘Abandoned’ before birth, he and my mother separated before I was born. However, my mother met the man I call ‘Daddy’ at a party when I was 18 months old. For the past 24 and a half years, I have been loved and looked after by a man under no obligation to commit his life to being a father to me, but who has. Abandoning me and leaving the space for another man who wanted me as his daughter is something that I am eternally grateful for; for without it, I wouldn’t know my Daddy.
Valentine’s Day. He walked out of my room and I knew that this time, it was over. An irreconcilable difference: I want a future with marriage and children, he doesn’t. Would I have ever ended things with him? Probably not. Do I resent him leaving me? No, I respect him immensely. I respect him for loving me enough to let me go, knowing that if he couldn’t commit, he needed to release me to find what I am looking for and to give himself space to work out what he wanted in life instead.
“This isn’t working, is it?” he said, as I burst in to tears in his office. He was the best boss that I had ever had, and the office was the best place that I had ever worked. However, the job wasn’t the right for me and was slowly bringing me down. “Have you ever thought about journalism?” he suggested, after I explained that I had absolutely no idea what I am doing with my life and was clueless as to what I might do next. My answer was yes: I have always wanted to write and it’s not the first time that someone had suggested that I would be good at being a journalist. Rather than go home and cry under my duvet, I started researching journalism courses and writing opportunities. I called a friend who I knew worked as a journalist and asked her advice. I drafted this blog post. I felt something stirring in me that I hadn’t felt in a while: determination.
These men made difficult decisions and ones that I would have never asked for myself. Yet I will be eternally grateful to them for being brave enough to hurt me knowing that I deserved better and wanting me to be happy. For through the bitter experience of pain comes the sweetness of hope: the hope of the endless possibilities that are to become my future.