Istanbul, we’ve only spent a couple of years together, yet I’ve grown to love you so much that I’m also filled with hate. I hate you for all that you are and all that you are not. You are a massive head fuck; breathtaking beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent, and on the contrary dark, infected, and complicated. All at the same time. It’s impossible to understand you and therefore I am sad as well tired. So fucking tired. You’ve slowly been sucking away my energy and you’ve left me outraged. There have been and still are many times that I am fearing for my freedom and for my own life. Yes, I exaggerate, but not that much.

Thank you, Istanbul

For example, I never know what to expect from you and I can’t take it anymore. You consumed me, swallowed me, pushed me away, pulled me back, and eventually broke me. Over and over again. You’ve let me experience the most horrible as well the most frightening things in my life. There is so much you took away from me. You made me scared, left alone, sad, and angry. In other words, there have been many times that I seriously felt so depressed that I thought I couldn’t handle life anymore. However, those moments were the best life lessons I have ever had and probably will ever have. Because every time you wronged me and every time you broke me, you gave me power in return.

Een afscheidbrief aan Istanbul

And no matter how hard I try to explain, nobody understands how I can be in a relationship filled with so much love and hate at the same time.

I became a better version of myself

For instance, the power to get up and pull me together. You also gave me the power to be stronger, better, and wiser than before. And so I became nuanced, flexible, and so much stronger above all. I’ve learned to reflect on life and to be a better version of myself. You have shown me beauty, patience, and kindness, but also quite some important things in life. And you’ve taught me to be satisfied and appreciate the things I have, how little they might be. I don’t worry about silly things anymore and try to enjoy life to the fullest and make the most of it. Because every day can be the end of it. Yet, my relationship with you is as if I am locked up in a box of glass while everyone around me is watching how I am running out of the air.

Hate and love at the same time

Because nobody gets me, Istanbul. No matter how hard I try to explain, nobody understands how I can be in a relationship filled with so much love and hate at the same time. For most people, it is so easy to stay in their comfort zones. They have lives filled with freedom, luxury, and most importantly peace. Why would one give that up for life so unpredictable, filled with so many difficulties and polar opposites? I know it’s impossible for others to understand unless they got to know you the way I did. Those people know how it is to feel misunderstood and misrepresented, to be fearing for their lives, and to even hate humanity. I wish for all of those people who are still with you and who are still to come the very best.

Chaos, madness, and a mess

They have gone through the same torturous moments as I and yet it is those very same people who hate and still love you the same way as I do. I know they understand it when I say that you are addictive and that I love to play your game. Probably they get the same feeling that I get when I speak about your breathtaking silhouettes or the days that I felt so lucky to be able to be with you because you are just so damn beautiful. And even though I haven’t been lucky enough and it wouldn’t even be possible to meet all those people, I know that we all share the same memories and that we are bonded for life.

I wish you all the best

I hope that they can love you the way I do and I hope that they can learn as much from you as I did. Because Istanbul, you are chaos, madness, and a pure mess. You’re unique in every way. You’ve been a great teacher, friend, and lover. Yet, for me, this is the end. And even though I am the one to end our relationship, I have to force myself to leave you and say goodbye. It’s seriously mind-fucking. It breaks my heart to leave you and I’ve been writing this whole letter with tears in my eyes. Because I am going to miss you. So fucking much.

Ready for a new adventure

And I know my journey is going to be hard, but I’m dying to go and leave you behind. I’ve become a new person, yet I’ve not met this new version of myself. I know everything is going to be just perfectly fine and I thank you for that. That’s why I thank you for everything. I thank you for your hospitality and warmth and all the things I’ve learned. Most of all, I thank you for all that I’ve experienced, for everyone I’ve met, and for everything you gave me.

Farewell, my dear Istanbul. I love you.
Until the day we meet again.