There was this time in my life when I looked into the eyes of my first love – the very first one that I believed was “real” – and I could see everything in my past and future, all in those hazel-green wide mischievous eyes. He was all I wanted, and all I thought that I could ever have the capacity to love. I believed that my hopes and dreams and obsessions with him were true love and somehow, someday, he would realize what I realized. and looking back now, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When we love at first sight we tend to inject that love into someone’s actions and words even when it’s not there, not even remotely. It colours our view and vision of every single thing. that we remember about them; that fondness, that longing, those happy memories that were so fleeting they were addictive, and so we tried to recreate them again and again. And when we were successful there was hope; and when we were unsuccessful we were alone at home, licking our own wounds and making up stories that confirmed for us all the horrible icky awful things that haunted our nightmares: it’s over, he doesn’t love me, he loves someone else, soon this will all be over and the door will close and that will be that forever. How can I go on?
Looking back I wondered repeatedly why I was so unworthy of love; if it wasn’t from the person I thought I loved more than anyone, how could anyone ever love me? Why would they? Surely, if I was worthy of love, all of that would have worked out for me. It’s amazing how someone you would give anything to and do anything for, can make you feel so badly about yourself, looking back.
Being blindsided like that by my first love was one of the events in my life I least saw coming. It was a sure thing. It had to be. I felt like I was wilting away and my real self was in bed somewhere, dreaming the whole thing. I was watching this on a screen. I was rubbing my eyes and pinching myself desperate to wake up from my worst nightmare. And then when I woke up the morning after, only to realize the day before had actually happened, I punched my pillow and teared up, then I went to work, then I went to class, then I, humiliated, had to tell my friends what had happened. Looking back, I know now they were gleeful about it. Looking back, those people were never my friends.
Looking back, I realize I’m still angry at all the people who hurt me because they never actually gave me propulsion forward. They never allowed me the opportunities to heal that I deserved. I continually wished and hoped for conversations that would lay to rest all my bad feelings and confusion, but those conversations never came and I was just left angry because nobody ever gave me a reason not to be. Am I angry at my first love anymore? No. But I’m angry at me. For being that person that allowed myself to be treated like that by someone who never, not even for a moment, deserved my love and attention and worship. I’m angry at myself for thinking that just because my first love didn’t love me back, that I didn’t deserve love whatsoever, from anyone. Currently in my life I have the greatest love I’ve ever, ever known and maybe ever could and looking back, I couldn’t have been more wrong about who I chose to give that love to for the first time.
But maybe, that’s what life is about. Maybe growing up is designed to prepare us through hard lessons like this, how to love properly and fully with, not for, people who deserve it. Maybe love is not the answer to people’s pain, but it drives us to put aside pain for the benefit of love and growth and true happiness. I wonder if my first love understood that, or if, because my love was so, so one-sided, he even thinks about it or cares about it at all, or if he learned anything whatsoever. I wonder if my first love is still figuring out how to love on his own without the worship of people he never loved back. I can’t wonder, though. Because there’s no point wondering about something you’ll never know about, just as, looking back, you can’t love when there’s no point in loving.
And so, looking back, I have learned a great deal about myself in the last eight years and those lessons were extremely hard to learn, and yet, here I am, better off because of them. I would never pretend things were perfect or that I don’t on some days, or in some moments, don’t nurse unhealed wounds inflicted by the people in my past. And if they’re reading this, I hope they do take comfort and satisfaction in that. No. Things aren’t perfect. But they’re better, and they continue to get better still. And I’m in a better place in my life emotionally, with this ability to look back and view from a safe distance, all my mistakes and where they have led me.
Losing is never easy, nor is heartbreak. Loss and heartbreak are wounds that are only healed with time and the more we face them and stare them down, the better our well-being becomes, slowly but surely.