Here I am....365 days since the world changed. Well, my world anyway. And I was the one who changed it. 52 weeks, or 26 pays from work, and I got one year older. In some ways those numbers sound like nothing. Days and weeks fly by, weekends seem to be gone in the blink of an eye, yet when I think of where I was one year ago today it seems like a lifetime ago.

The 31st May 2009 was simply one of the worst days of my life. However, the build up to that point, and the fall out afterwards had some pretty goddam awfulness too. How do you tell someone it's over? If you're lucky, you both know it's coming. My first boyfriend and I were like that. We'd been together for over 9 years, and the relationship had just run it's course. Well and truly, and I think we both knew it.

This one was different. 13 years of ups and downs, highs and lows, a false start and a painful end. Interestingly he spent 24 hours talking me into going out with him. And he tried the same approach to stop the breakup - but 48 hours this time. Traumatic and exhausting for both of us. But it's always struck me as a weird symmetry how we began and ended.

If I'm honest, I still have flashes of specific moments of awfulness. Some of how hurt he was, and some of how he hurt me. It's only time that will dull those moments, and I've written before that I have to reconcile the pain I caused him within myself. It wasn't nice to do, and I tried the best I knew how. But at the ripe old age of 39 this was only my second relationship. And yet I've been in relationships for the greater part of my life. Since I was 15 and I only had 18 months alone in between.

The reality is it's 12 months on, and I feel different. Maybe it's because things are progressing, the end is in sight, one way or another the finish line will be crossed. There's much more time behind me now, than there is in front of me. And maybe that's part of the change in headspace. Maybe it's turning 40. Maybe it's getting engaged. Maybe it's all these things. As I wrote last time, I can look in the mirror and see the older me. I now have this wealth of experience behind me. And very luckily I've had the support of many lovely, caring and wonderful people. Through the awfulness, these people have kept my head above water and restored my faith in humanity. Someone may have been yelling and calling me every name under the sun, but the fabulous group of people around me, reminded me that this wasn't who I was. I wasn't the names being yelled.

I think I wrote once, that through pain comes growth. As I sit here, I now know this to be true. I had put parts of myself into boxes, some not to be opened as it was all too hard to deal with. But in the last 12 months I've slowly opened them one by one. Even the one's full of fear. I feel reconnected, whole, happy and content. I still have my shaky moments in dealing with the past, but I'm getting better at it. Everyday is one more step towards the end, and towards a new beginning. One more day towards letting it all go, and being free to be myself completely. No more boxes, no more hiding, just the future. Bring on the next 365!


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