Dear DTB 

Dear DTB,

This is tough. This is like well done steak kinda tough. I mean I like my steak well done but I still want to be able to get my teeth into it. I can’t get my teeth into this.

People say that it’s a burden or emotionally abusive to say that a person is instrumental to their happiness. Unfortunately, despite its connotations, you are instrumental to my happiness.

I can only really gather the courage to write this because I don’t think you’ll ever read it. If you were to discover this I hope you wouldn’t realise that it’s for you. If you were to realise that, you’d be angry. “Why couldn’t you just talk to me?!”, would be your response.

I can’t talk to you though. Not now. You’re a teenage boy in a cave right now; agitated and isolated and you love it. 

I’m asking you to be someone that you can’t be, at least not yet. I’m not there yet either, my therapist calls it “fake it until you make it”. I’m faking it so much that I don’t think you know that I’m terrified like you.

You think I’m strong which is why you talk to me the way you do. I’m not strong, I’m barely getting by.

I wonder where we’ll be in ten years. Will we find this funny? Or will we still be bitter? 

I think we’ll find it funny. We’ll be different people by then. I’ll still be stubborn and you’ll still be grumpy but we’ll be a bit softer.

Years of “good living” and hindsight will have made us softer. 

I cannot wait until we’re softer. I cannot wait until life is how we imagine it to be. We’ll be the envy of people on Instagram (if it still exists) and we’ll be smug. We will be allowed to be smug because of all the shit we will have to endured to get to that point.

This is the shit and I’m sorry that right now even my name annoys you. Guess what, yours doesn’t make me best pleased either.

But when I think about my life at 33 you’re there. You are instrumental to my happiness and that irritates me so much. I’m stronger with you, and that bothers me. We’re better people when we’re together. We’re softer. We’re faking it less and making our dreams a reality.

This, right now, is shit. You’re being shit and I’m being shit. At least we’re consistent.

In 10 years time you will no longer be known at DTB; isn’t that a refreshing thought?

So I’ll let you be a teenage boy in a cave as long as you let me be a middle aged woman having a midlife crisis whilst going through the menopause. This is making us softer. The steak is no longer as hard to chew.

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Adult life.

I thought that, at 23, I’d be married to my teenage crush and that we’d be living in our own house with little versions of us running about causing havoc.

In reality, at 23, I’m drunk texting my teenage crush at 3am to tell her that I love her. We’re friends, it’s fine, she obviously thinks it’s platonic…

I was wrong about adult life. I had visions of me effortlessly drifting through it, ticking off adult goals on the daily.

Nope.

Adult life is me eating a “funsize” bag of popcorn for breakfast in the car on the way to see my therapist.

Adult life is me updating my union membership to premium even though I don’t know what it includes and it costs £10 more a month.

Adult life is me trying to find songs I like for my goddaughter to dance to that don’t involve words like “fuck”, “pussy” and “bitch”. 

Adult life is painting pottery on my day off when I’m hungover and trying not to vomit up 5 pints of cider.

Adult life is getting excited when my Tesco vouchers come through and then spending them on Pokémon cards. Pokémon cards for me. That I collect. At 23.

Is this what life is like at 30? Does Christmas ever become dull? Will I spend my pension money on cat toys for the cats that they don’t even play with?

Is anyone actually an adult?

From the outside I think I seem fairly mature and like I’ve got my shit together. I have a responsible job and people trust me with their children. Underneath that am I just an 8 year old who wants to nap, eat pizza and play in the snow? Yes. I’m not an adult. I’m a fraud. 

Just me.

My therapist asked me what I could offer to my friends. I felt targeted. I felt like it was a leading question. 

I began to say how I shared the same sense of humour with my friends and that we had been through a lot together. She told me that she wasn’t looking for an answer like that.

I felt angry.

She explained that friendships are either one person depending on another or two people running parallel lives to each other. She hinted that I had a lot of friendships where I relied on people but I said that the opposite was true.

She then went on to ask me what I had to offer my friends if we did lead parallel lives. We no longer lived in each other’s pockets because of school and we had less in common because of our respective careers.

I froze. I had nothing to offer.

Then I cried.

She changed the subject but I thought about it by myself for the next week.

One day, it hit me. I had me to offer.

I am unique and that alone is a lot to bring to a friendship. 

I may not be able to talk to my friends in depth about their jobs and their relationships and their experiences but that doesn’t mean that I don’t offer them anything.

I think my therapist did that deliberately; she wanted me to realise that I am enough. 

I am enough.

Just me.