“You’ll find someone better.” “Time heals all.” “I never liked him for you.” “Hardly anyone ends up with their first love.”
Ah, first love. Intense, terrifying, passionate, beautiful, and absolutely heartbreaking.
It’s been a year since I found out my first love was cheating on me. A year since my young, naive heart was shattered. A year since I was a fragile, heartbroken, weeping, 20-year-old mess in a heap on my bedroom floor.
I gotta tell ya, this past year has been a beautiful journey. A painful, emotionally trying journey, but beautiful nonetheless. It’s been a year full of struggle, triumph, and uncertainty. Truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I used to trust outside forces. Now I trust my instincts.
My last relationship taught me more lessons than I could’ve ever anticipated. The biggest, most important one? Always trust your gut.
I had a terrible habit of letting my boyfriend make me think I was crazy. I was so ridiculous for being suspicious of his shady behavior. How could I be so insecure that I would think something was up when, out of nowhere, he proceeded to flake on me more and more often? Or when he kept talking about his “friend” from work. Or got more than a few calls from his “friend” from school?
Insecurity didn’t lie in my suspicion when my boyfriend stopped treating me like he loved me and started treating me like a side chick. Insecurity was letting someone run over me. Insecurity was betraying myself to keep someone around that didn’t really care about me in the first place. My love for him said stay. My gut said go.
My only regret from that relationship is not that I was with someone who betrayed me, but that I betrayed myself in order to hold on just a little bit longer to something that was wrong for me. I may have had to learn the hard way, but it’s a lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life. A lesson that dictates how I make my decisions now. If my gut says yes, I carefully analyze the situation and upon internal approval, I take a leap of faith. If my gut says no, I run. Stay true to yourself in everything you do. That is something you will never regret.
I used to play it safe. Now I take risks.
Liking someone after going through a tough breakup is terrifying. You resist it with everything you have, but sometimes you just have to take that aforementioned leap of faith.
A few months after the breakup, I developed a crush. I liked someone… until I didn’t. But before I didn’t, I took a risk. I told someone that I liked them. Something I’d never done before. Not only that, but I did it Hollywood style. Dramatic, emotional, and totally ridiculous.
Feeling like you’ve lost everything that mattered to you does this weird thing where all of a sudden you just don’t care what happens. You feel like you have nothing to lose, so why not give it a shot?
I’m here to tell you, take the shot. Be responsible, don’t wreck yourself or anyone else, but don’t be afraid to give that cute guy your number. Send in that application to your dream job. Try a new look. You deserve it.
I learned that love can be just as strong in platonic relationships.
I have the world’s most wonderful friends. They’re my family. They’re the one’s that are always there for me, even when it’s scary and uncomfortable. We hold each other when we cry, we all laugh obnoxiously in public together, call at 4 in the morning, and remind each other to eat on those particularly stressful days.
I have the type of friends that unexpectedly show up in your front yard with your favorite drink because you had a bad day, bring you flowers when you’re heartbroken, make you soup when you’re sick, and drive ridiculous stretches of road at ungodly hours of the morning because you’ve had a little too much to drink. They don’t even complain and they refuse to accept the gas money you’re drunkenly tossing at them. They’re just happy to see you giggly and safe.
If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.
I used to think my vulnerability was a weakness and would apologize for it incessantly, but I’ve recognized it as my greatest strength.
Vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Where there is vulnerability there is truth. There is authenticity. Being vulnerable is what bonds people together. It’s opening up, even when it’s terrifying, and letting another person see you for who you are.
Sometimes we open up to the wrong people and they take advantage of what they see. They try to manipulate you into being who they want you to be or giving them what they want from you. This is painful and at times, traumatizing. But, that shouldn’t stop us from opening up again.
Without vulnerability, we isolate ourselves. We close ourselves off to the purest forms of joy and love shared with those we cherish; the whole purpose for life in the first place.
Give yourself another chance. Give humanity another chance. When you feel the time and the person is right, give vulnerability another shot. It is so worth it.
*Disclaimer: not everyone is worthy of your vulnerability and you are not obligated to be open with anyone just because they want you to be. It’s your heart. You call the shots.
I’ve accepted that even when you are no longer in love with someone, there will always be tough days.
People like to tell me that I don’t really miss him. I “miss the idea of him.” Which, I guess, is partially true. Who I thought he was is not who he is at all. So, in that sense, no, I don’t miss him because, well, I never really knew him. But sometimes I miss his laugh. Sometimes I miss our inside jokes. I miss the friendship we used to have. I think about the happy moments we shared in the past and genuinely hope he is happy now.
I have forgiven him. My feelings toward the situation nowadays are more along the lines of, “It’s not him, it’s the damage he did.” I have a lot of questions that will never be answered. A lot of speculation that is better left alone. More than that, I have an appreciation for the wisdom I was able to take away from the relationship.
I don’t have a problem admitting that even though I am no longer in love with him, I still have tough days. I attribute this to the fact that nothing is ever all bad. I don’t miss the bad. I miss the good that drew me to him in the first place.
I don’t regret my first love. I don’t regret anything I said, did, or hoped for. I don’t regret loving another human being completely and unconditionally. And neither should you.
I loved him. Now I love me.
In losing my first love, I found my passions again. I found the fire that used to set my soul aflame. I reconnected with old friends and spent more time with my family. I got a new job where I made more incredible friends. I built a richer, fuller life that I am so happy to be living. A life I always wanted. One overflowing with love, gratitude, adventure, and excitement for the future. A life where I look in the mirror every morning and no longer question the person looking back at me. Instead, I smile because even though my life is far from perfect, it’s mine and it’s lovely. I wouldn’t change a thing.
For those of you out there going through a heartbreak or wondering what you’re life may look like post-breakup, I hope this post gave you some hope. A glimpse into your future that encourages you to keep going. You may feel like you’re at rock bottom, but that just means the only way is up. So, start climbing, babe.