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A Break-Up Letter to London

Dear London,

It’s not me – it’s you. I tried my best to make it work. I gave five years to you, hoping that after all this time and work, you’d be good to me. I guess I learned the lesson that so many others have, it’s hard to survive in the big city. If it doesn’t break you, it will probably steal your soul.

I think deep down I always knew that I couldn’t stay with you forever. In the early days, when I was a naive student tripping at your feet, starry eyed to your good looks and charm, it was easy to pretend that it would always be like that. Even then I knew though, in my heart of hearts. The magic feeling would wear off eventually.

When it did I refused to accept it at first. Days and nights spent rationalising your behaviour, telling myself that I would get used to the fact you attracted so many others to your shiny lights and big promises. Weekends searching for that spark we used to have, looking in cafes and parks, blocking out your claustrophobic smothering with music and words. I’m not sure when it happened, but I stopped loving you London. Somewhere between the first and fiftieth time you made me curl up in a ball crying after a horrible fight with the tube. Around the time that I started staying in because I couldn’t bear to go out onto the streets full of rude people, scary people, people that I couldn’t help. When you took money from me, asking so much more than most other places for not a whole lot in return. It crept up on me, but one day I realised that I couldn’t keep doing this. I was in a hostile relationship, not wanting to give up on you, but feeling like I couldn’t stay with you much longer or I’d lose myself.

I told myself I’d stay until the summer. I had business to finish, and things to do here before I could go. But then an opportunity opened and I realised that if I didn’t take it I would regret it. So I packed up my things and I left. I’m sorry I had to do it like that, just go so quickly, especially at Christmas time, but it was actually the best time. I left you, and in doing so I found a home. I found a calmer, friendlier place. That doesn’t ask anywhere near as much from me, and holds a whole load of new opportunities in return. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but from where I’m sitting it’s pretty green here.

As much as you hurt me, you helped me in a lot of ways. I grew up with you, began to find myself, then lost myself completely and rediscovered who I am. You gave me the inspiration and the courage to go for things, and for that I am ever grateful. Without you I wouldn’t have done half the stuff that I have in the past 5 years, or had half of the experiences that I now treasure. I can only thank you, and promise to remember the good times as well as the bad.

This isn’t goodbye entirely, I hope we can still be friends. I know that’s what everyone says after a breakup, but I mean it. I will come and visit you, we have too much history, too many memories to just stop being in contact all together. There are still great friends that live with you, and projects and events you hold that I don’t want to miss out on just because I’m not with you any more. I hope you can understand my reasons, and to be honest I think you’ll barely notice that I’m gone. You’re great at pulling people in, but just as good at chewing them up a bit and spitting them out. As I sit here in my new home, moving forward and getting to know a new city, I know that you will still go on, and that gives me comfort…

I will never forget you London,

I hope you learn to be better to people.


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