Two years ago at exactly this time, I met Tyler. It was also the time that I was facing extremely difficult life circumstances. I was completely crippled. At a time when life was so complicated, I found simplicity in Labrador with Tyler. He became my escape. I was able to start regaining a sense of clarity by embedding myself deeply into his world. His family became mine, and they took me in like their own. Knitting, tea-nights, ice-fishing, skidooing, camping, hikes and long walks were all I lived for. His love and support was unconditional and I felt completely safe for the first time. I lost all contact with everyone outside Labrador, hoping to numb the feeling of complete humiliation and abandonment.
Despite the happiness I felt for finding a family that loved me, I knew it wasn’t enough. The facade was hard some days to keep up, and he’d hold me while I cried hysterically. My career was at standstill, I had plateaued as Labrador’s epidemiologist. I was under-utilized for my skill set, but was overworked and undervalued. On November 11th, 2017 I moved to St. John’s as an opioid response epidemiologist. I was one of 12 epis who were deployed throughout the country. In that one year, my career went from being stagnant to the most thrilling experiences I have ever had in a professional setting. But I left behind the comfort of the family I found.
Throughout that one year, I was alone, completely alone. I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t a real Newfoundlander or even a real Canadian at every turn. It was as if, everyone could see the shame I felt for running from own roots. But in the time that I spent apart from Tyler, I learned more about what I wanted in a partner and what I needed in my life. And for the first time in my life, I began to explore the reasons why I felt the need to distance myself from my own identity.
As I began to work on accepting myself, I began to see that he wasn’t invested in that aspect of my life. I don’t think it was intentional, it was easier if we were exactly the same; no deep rooted insecurities about our histories, identities and families. Regardless of how badly he wanted to be there for me, he just couldn’t understand the layers of how a culture and religion can deeply impact families, societies and individuals on multiple levels. The pain I experienced was foreign and I felt like I couldn’t share it anymore. I needed someone who wanted to dive deep into the complicated mess, to push me intellectually, physically and more importantly hold my hand as slipped because I wanted to do the same for him. He didn’t feel an urgency to grow, to explore and find new passions, we just wanted different things from our lives. And I just couldn’t wait for him anymore.
As I walk away, I know that we will both always love each other. We parted so respectfully and lovingly. There was absolute no ill feelings on either side. We knew that we had to walk away while we are still holding each other in high regards. His family raised him to be a complete gentlemen, he is a man with a heart bigger than anyone I have ever come across and just an absolute gem of a human. After the last horrible relationship, I couldn’t imagine being treated as well as I was. He’ll always be the guy that I loved but couldn’t be with because we just weren’t meant for each other. He’s my Mary Austin.