A Letter to My Country

Dear Great Britain,

Notice how despite everything, including the obvious signs of wear and tear, I still refer to you as “Great” rather than as a “United Kingdom”, but somehow united felt like even more of an untruth.   Anyway, the universe asked me to write to you, so here I am.

I love you and I hate you, both in equal measure.  Our relationship goes back so many years, you were there when I was born, there when I spoke my first word, there when I started school and there when I left it.  There when I graduated from university and there when I got my first job.   By that time, I was really liking you, I thought we had something special.  I invested in a nice house for us to share and further grew the relationship by registering my own company within your shores, ah such happy times for us both!

Then it went wrong.  See, I started to realise you weren’t as into me as I thought.  I lost my job in 2002 and you didn’t seem to particularly care.  You didn’t even want to know my children – calls to your offices said they would have to settle for foreign citizenship.  I felt unloved.  It all went wrong and in 2004-05 I left you, vowing never to return.

Like many a relationship however, I couldn’t stop thinking about you and the good times we’d had together.  It’s funny how time clouds the bad memories and highlights the good ones, isn’t it?  I still visited regularly, trying to keep the veins of our relationship open, just in case there was any chance we could ever reunite.  I even spent time digging deep into the distant past to see how far our relationship went.  As far as I could go, back into the 1820s, it was pure and if anything convinced me we’d always been meant for each other.  See, the other thing about you was that you shared more similar views on freedom, business and personal responsibility than others I’d met, like Denmark.   I could even try to overlook the way you’d cruelly treated my ancestors, letting them die at young ages in hard work that we can only imagine now, or forced them into relative poverty.  You were probably just immature and ignorant then, weren’t you?

In 2016, you asked me for your opinion on whether you should stay in your current relationship.  I jumped at the chance to give my opinion, just like many others.  Surely, I thought, you’ll regain your freedom and appreciate me in a way you’d never appreciated me before.  We might even move back in together?  My current relationship wasn’t too happy about this, but I’d accepted we were probably failing and pushed on regardless, clearly giving you my opinion and reiterating it many, many times to the point of boredom on those forced to listen.   Like the others you asked, we feel frustrated, angry and disappointed that you then ignored us and hoped we might not notice when you pretended to leave that relationship, but instead signed an eternally-cementing bond, dressed up as divorce.

Well, around that time I was having my own big life changes too and I began to believe there was a chance it could all work out for us.  I made my plans accordingly, setting up to DKexit, the same time you were Brexiting, knowing we would meet again some day.  What a mistake that has turned out to be.

Even after everything, I still visited you earlier this month.  If anything, it felt like that moment you see your first love a long time after a break up, and the sinking feeling in your stomach you feel as you realise she’s now covered in tattoos, has body piercings and smokes.  Where did it all go wrong?  I knew it was over.

Or thought it was.  There were still gaps in that family history that I needed to look up.  Walking around Whitehaven on a sunny afternoon, finding the sites where my ancestors had lived, got married and possibly died.  Well, that reawakened my love for you.  I could see past the tattoos, piercings and cigarette smoke, just for a moment.  Nowhere else in the world do I feel so reunited with the things that are so important – my family and my history.  You bitch.

I will say this though.  If we do re-enter a relationship, it’ll be more on my terms than it ever was before.