Hello and Goodbye: Returning to Leave

Anna Tan
Anna Tan
Dec 21, 2019 · 2 min read

Today I sat outside your familiar walls, feeling that same reluctance stronger than ever.

Before I left, I’d already said I wouldn’t return. There’s been too much baggage, too much damage, for things to be repaired. But then I came home and I thought, maybe fifteen months away would have changed things. Maybe my feelings have changed, maybe I have changed, maybe you have changed.

So I took a deep breath and went in.

Nothing has changed. I find myself confronted with the same feelings of exasperation and annoyance and discomfort. Not your fault, not really. Well, one thing has changed, maybe: I’ve moved on and so have you.


It’s time to surrender
It’s been too long pretending
There’s no use in trying
When the pieces don’t fit anymore
The pieces don’t fit here anymore


I won’t be back, I don’t think. The decision feels purely emotional, but it’s not.

It’s finally realising that what I’m looking for is not what you’re offering. It’s knowing that our goals and vision don’t align. It’s understanding that your culture is toxic, at least to me, and you’re not where I can grow. I think I’ve known this for years, but have never acknowledged, never confronted, it.

It’s your blatant favouritism, the way rules and standards can be bent and broken for your needs, or for those deemed worthy of the “inner circle”. It’s the pressure exerted to serve, serve, serve, without any returning duty of care. I don’t feel valued for who I am, but for what I can give — and when I can’t, I’m left adrift, cut off.

It’s your purposeful stagnation, the way you keep returning to the past, to the “glory” days, even whilst speaking about growth and the future without actually moving on. It’s rut after rut, stepping forward but always looking back. Or maybe we don’t agree on what progress looks like.

It’s your emphasis on family units, the way things are crafted around working dads and stay-at-home moms and children. It’s that creeping, unacknowledged awkwardness when you face a single woman with no interest in children. I don’t see where I fit in anything that you do.


I’ve come home, but you aren’t home anymore. You haven’t been for a long while. So this is goodbye.

Spiritual journeys

A dip into faith and doubt and the continuum in between

Anna Tan

Written by

Anna Tan

I write stuff then worry that everyone will hate it. Wannabe thespian. Worship leader. Bookworm. See my stuff: http://author.to/AnnaTan Website: www.annatsp.com

Spiritual journeys

A dip into faith and doubt and the continuum in between

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