Thank u, next.
When Ariana Grande released Thank U, Next it was destined to be a certified banger. Girls all over the world could scream about their exes in the form of a catchy tune all over again - something they hadn't really had the chance to do since Little Mix released Shoutout To My Ex.
Despite the song being deliberately catchy and one that I automatically loved, I couldn't help but mock it. If memory serves me well, I even put out a tweet saying how much I loved the song, but that I would never, ever be grateful for my ex. My ex, who physically and emotionally abused me for years. My ex, the drug dealer. My ex, the generally nasty piece of work that he was. He put me through endless hell, cheating on me, lying to me over and over - and I was supposed to feel grateful for that? Nah, you're alright.
With that being my initial stance, I enjoyed the song without actually relating to it. However, as time's gone on and I've listened to the song more and more (almost daily, in fact), it's got me thinking that maybe I was a little hasty in my judgment. Maybe, just maybe, I was actually hugely grateful to my
After all, it was my ex who dragged me down to absolute rock bottom. My ex who made me feel unwanted, unworthy and like I was doing every single thing in my life wrong. My ex who lead me into self harming, who made me feel, at times, that I wished I was dead. My ex who flat out told me he wouldn't come and visit me if I went to university - hence me not going. My ex who told me I couldn't wear makeup because he didn't like it, who told me that I couldn't dye or cut my hair or go out clubbing without him. My ex who told me I looked no different without my braces, or with glasses and never, ever told me I looked beautiful. My ex who reduced my whole being to zero and made me feel like shit on his shoe. Made me feel like nothing.
But just like a phoenix, I've risen from the ashes of what was truly a very sorry life I was living. I became the very best version of myself I could be. I've made new friends and have a thriving social life. I've been to festivals and endless gigs, I've dated and had hilarious drunk nights out and one night stands. I have more good memories from the last three years without him than I have from the six years I spent with him. I've travelled more than I could have guessed I would, and even been to bloody Ibiza. I have a blossoming career, I've achieved so much I can't even recap it all here. I'm more financially stable than I've ever been without my ex draining my bank balance to run his business. I've found love again, something I thought would never happen. I've adopted a cat. I've moved into my own home!
I've found self love and body positivity. It's enabled me to be comfortable in my own skin, my abilities and just generally in my life - and at the same time, allowed me to help so many other young girls and women feel the same.
Since my absolutely horrific break up with my ex, I have only become better and better. I really feel like I am currently the best version of me I could be, and when I think about who I was with him, and who I am now, I just feel so gloriously happy that I think I might actually be grateful for my ex. I'm living a life that the Flo back then could never have even dreamed up for herself, and I wish I could go back in time and reassure her that eventually, she would escape and that things really would get better.
My ex taught me to love myself and gave me the opportunity to become who I should have been all along! Of course, he did it in the worst way possible, but he still helped to do it. He taught me real pain. He taught me how it feels to be at the bottom of the heap, at absolute rock bottom and seemingly past saving. But he also taught me that I was able to stand on my own two feet and could rise to any challenge put in front of me. That I could live without him, be better without him.
I endured and survived every trial and tribulation he put me through, which taught me that actually, I can get through anything life throws at me. He changed my life for the worst, which forced me to change it for the better. I couldn't have done any of this without him - better still, he helped me to better my life whilst swiftly exiting it... and of course, set me on a course that would eventually lead me to the love of my life, who it seems I was always destined to be with. My gorgeous, wonderful Jonny.
So thank u, next. I'm so fucking grateful for my ex.