Where do I begin? I can still remember a time (or at least, I think I can…It all seems so very long ago) When you seemed like a good, caring partner. I grew up with you; loving you. I loved your history; despite your baggage (no one is perfect). Every now and again, you would go and do something stupid or insensitive, but I always forgave you. You and I, after all, were like one. You were my everything…quite literally. I breathed the same air your breathed, walked your streets (which were bumpy at times, but every relationship has its rocky patches). You, dear friend, were home to me.
Then, the referendum came and went, and you wanted to divorce the rest of our Canadian family. That is when you changed, in my eyes. You began trying to control me; telling me what I could and could not say. You started trying to choose for me which language I spoke. I tried to reason with you, we all did. But you wouldn't listen; pressing on with full force…Against me. Against everyone who helped build you. Against everyone who loved you and cared about your well-being. You thought you knew what was best for me, so much so; you thought you could control me, and morph me in such a way that I would become silent and voiceless and would eventually surrender; reluctantly crawling into the cookie-cutter mold you demanded I fit into.
Dear friend, you were mistaken. For, as much as I still consider you home, I feel as though we are no longer one. I do not proudly use your name when I speak of where I’m from; I use my maiden name; Canada, when I tell the story of my home, for you have become an embarrassment. You have chased away so many of the family that we once shared. You have turned your back on those who built you, and those who stood by you. And although it pains me to see you so selfish, so hateful, and so shameful, I still try every day to change you…into who I once thought I knew…into who I know you can be. And despite the fact that your name is still written on my heart, I will fight you if I have to. I will not let you become an even more callous monster. I will not rest until you see the wrong in who you have become.
Do not test me, old friend, for I no longer love you blindly, and I am no longer so young, and naïve that I am so easily distracted by your beautiful landscape. The air we once shared, makes me choke, and your streets no longer welcome me…as you've changed so many of their names, that I can barely find my way anymore. (I suppose they didn't fit into your mold of what you think we should be, either.)
Be forewarned, old friend, I will not back down, and loving you does not mean that I will relinquish who I am. Loving you does not mean I cannot despise parts of you. I can stand with you and against you at the same time. Walking away is easy…it’s standing still, that is hard.