Dear Nova Scotia,
It's not you, it's me.
I've lived in you for as long as I've been me and we've had a rough go you and I. I was born a baby with her toes in your sand and I felt your magic. Throughout my childhood, you were there. Even for those brief years in the 80's when we had to go because you left my dad alone with no way to keep food on the
table. You stuck with us, stuck to us, like the seaweed did to my toes running through your beautiful ocean water every summer on Port Hood beach. My mom and dad, they had to leave you to get back on their feet, we went away to get strong and we came back and we forgave you. You see, once you're in someone's heart and soul it's hard to get you out. They will always keep coming back.
No one will ever deny your beauty. Your rugged shorelines are awe inspiring and I used to spend my summers floating in your ocean...looking up at the sun, tuning the world out until my skin turned golden brown. It was just you and me. It was always you and me. I had your back and I thought you had mine.
My first love was you, and then I fell for your boys. Let me tell you....your boys are somethin'... but you already know that because you design them that way. Rugged and down to earth, just like you are.
They're loyal to a fault and they keep their friendships way longer than they should, because that's what good boys do. If you happen to be a girl who falls in love with one of your boys, that girl had better be prepared to come in second because you always come first. It's hard for me to explain this one well, but you have a way of getting to a man like no woman ever could. As I was walking down the aisle on my wedding day, I felt it...I didn't know what it was at the time, but I figured it out as my marriage was ending. It's your culture. We grow up watching our parents drink beer in the kitchen with their friends and then we grow up to drink beer in the kitchen with our friends and so on, and so on. No one could ever accuse you of not being fun! You're the life of the party...but you have to be prepared to party for life. A lot of people get hurt because of this, you know. Some people can't handle it and when they can't - it's not easy for them to do the things they've set out to do. This isn't the culture that is on those big, beautiful tourism ads beckoning all to come visit you, luring them with your beauty - this is a culture only those of us born and raised can attest to. I'm born. I'm raised. My family first hit your shorelines in the 1700's - you coarse deep through my veins. I drank your whiskey, your rum and your beer with the best of them and accepted a lot less than I should have because of it.
I had to break up with you. In the last few years I was with you...you started to feel less and less like home. I started to feel your weight on me, like you were sitting on my chest and I was having to work really hard even to breathe. I started my plan to leave you, but with any great loves...it didn't come easy. I had to make a decision to leave things I love behind. My cat, her name is Cat...and she's the greatest cat that ever lived. She loves you. She lives for you and loves to run free chasing your squirrels, birds and especially your June bugs. I couldn't take her from you, it would have been mean. She stayed with one of your best boys, she's happy. My sister and my beautiful little niece, you knock them down often but they always get up, you see, they're fighters because you made them that way. My friends...the few that I left behind, you know who you are and you are forever in my heart and I will always love you. My dog, Rosella. She's in love with one of your boys, your best boy, my son. To be honest, she has always been his dog, so she's happiest right there in his arms. And that brings me to him. My boy.
I raised him with you and in you and now you're in his blood. He's one of yours through and through. He grew up riding his bike and playing hockey in your streets with his friends, who are more like his brothers, that would take a punch to the face for him any day (and have). I left him behind because he
was not ready to leave you, not yet. He's a 23 year old young man who is trying hard to figure out if you're what's best for his future. I know the answer, but he needs to figure it out for himself. He's trying to be something and to be very honest, you're not helping him. Trying to be something and staying with you is NEVER the path of least resistance. Those of us who are able to do it are some of the most incredible people I've ever met. You give people a humility and a beautiful disposition that has the rest of the world in awe. It's why I stayed with you for so long. Your people are your best part.
We've been in a bit of an abusive relationship, you and I...and it took me 41 years to realize it. We both had a hand in this and I just need you to admit your part. Me, I could have left sooner, you weren't keeping me there. I should have left sooner. I wonder who I would be right now instead. Regrets? Nah. I've learned how not to have them. But you...you need to be better for the people who love you so much. You need to provide them a way to comfortably raise their beautiful families with enough so they don't have to up and leave everything they love to get to a province that cares and wants to help them be their best. Get some buses, bike paths... reliable transit so the 20-35 year olds can come back or better yet...never leave! Stop ignoring the BIG issues you have with the people who've loved you the longest. They're hurting, and you don't seem to give a shit.
Pretty can only get you so far...and I don't even think you're pretty anymore. I need some time to stop being angry with you. I know there will be lots of your loves who are going to hate that I'm talking about you like this...I'm saying it anyway.
You can now find me in a high rise overlooking Lake Ontario with a view of the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. She's my new love and she treats me real nice.
P.S. It's not me...it's definitely you.