Open Letter to My First Love

Open Letter to My First Love

So while our time together was short, it was trying, it was beautiful and it was meaningful.

Dear First Love,

You know, you taught me a lot by being a first of mine. You taught me about life, and real love, and relationships. You were the first guy to see my hair in the morning. The first person to say they loved me romantically. The first boy to give me a bouquet of flowers. The first date I’d had to prom. The first one who offered me a second family through his own. The first person besides my parents I’d go to with anything and everything. My first facebook official relationship. My first boyfriend. You were my heart, and you had it from the beginning.

You were the first guy to make me feel like shit about myself. You were the first person to say “I love you” romantically and not actually mean it. You were the first person to relate effort to fixing a car. The first one to discredit our relationship with the running of a TV show series. You were the one person I wanted to love me like I loved him. That was a first. It was all a big first.

But throughout it all, there is one first that beats them all. My first breakup. My first time standing up for myself. My first real heartbreak but also my first real victory. And while in many ways, you taught me to love and learn and how to give my heart away, you also taught me how to guard my heart enough until I find the right person to give it too. You taught me that it doesn't matter what others think of you, but of what you think of yourself. When I was with you I didn't like who I was becoming and that taught me that a guy should NEVER EVER change my view of myself.

So while our time together was short, it was trying, it was painful, and it was meaningful. I learned to love, how to fight with communication, how to put someone's needs before myself. And I started on a journey to find myself.

But the greatest thing I remember learning from you, the boy who broke my heart, is that ALL firsts, good ones and bad ones, have a lesson to teach. And now that it's just me, myself, and I, it’s time to start generating a new list of firsts. Starting with...


Sincerely yours,

The new and improved-ish Me

Cover Image Credit: Lily Cramer

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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11 Pieces Of Advice That Will Change The Way You Love And Let Go

Through love and loss, there is always a lesson to be had.


Asking for advice can be tough, especially when it comes to relationship advice. Over the past few years, I have experienced a lot of love and loss. I've accumulated a ton of stellar advice from those around me. Through makeups, breakups, dating and leaving, there is so much to be learned about the way we can all improve our relationships.

1. Love is not enough to make a relationship work.

The first piece of advice I will share is actually something I wrote about here.

"Love is not enough to make a relationship work." This is something no one ever told me, but it's something I have realized. Some people think that love can conquer anything, but that can be a toxic concept.

There is so much more that is needed in a relationship other than love.

Yes, you need love to thrive in relationships. But you also need mutual respect, trust, boundaries and security. If you are missing one or more of those things and only have love, that is toxic. If you love someone but are not being treated well, it is NOT enough.

2. You cannot compare relationships.

This has been crucial advice for me this year, given to me by my best friend.

You are going to have multiple relationships and friendships throughout your life. These relationships are always going to be different, even if you think you are the same.

In reality, every relationship has a different love language. In every relationship, you're going to experience different hardships and successes.

You are going to experience so many different types of relationships. Comparing and chasing after one specific moment or one specific feeling you once had will ultimately ruin what you have in the present.

3. One day, you just know.

This piece of advice was given to me by none other than my mom.

"One day, you just know" is the phrase my mom uses when someone is thinking about pushing a relationship forward or ultimately ending things.

I was having a hard time coming to terms with my feelings at the beginning of my freshman year. I wasn't sure whether or not I should continue a relationship or end things. I loved someone, but I no longer knew if I was in love with them.

So my mom told me during those confusing few days that one day I would just know that it was the end. That one day I was just going to wake up and realize I no longer wanted to continue that particular relationship.

She was right. After days of going back and forth in my head, I knew it was just time and that is all it took.

4. Date someone who is kind.

I know this piece of advice is a no-brainer.

I get it. Obviously, you want to date someone who is kind. But there is more to it than that.

From what I have noticed, it is the men and women who actively prove their kindness that make the best partners. These are the people who are not only kind to you but to others as well.

They are kind to friends, families, cashiers, customer service workers and more.

The way they treat others in public and in private are huge indicators as to whether or not you will get that same respect in return.

5. If you cry more than you laugh, you have to let them go.

Another lovely piece of advice from my mom.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, successes and downfalls. However, it is important to note that while this is true, you cannot rationalize being in a relationship that makes you feel miserable.

Some days or months are going to be harder than others. Being persistently sad, angry or unhappy is another story though.

My mom always said that if you cry more than you laugh in a relationship, maybe it is no longer the time to be with that person. The person you are with should uplift you and be someone you have a good time with - not someone who makes you cry more often than not.

6. "We accept the love we think we deserve."

From the wise words of "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower," "We accept the love we think we deserve."

I have seen countless relationships, movies and shows that depict this lesson.

I feel as though people will often stay in relationships because they are "settling," or because they think it is the best they can do. This is a direct reflection of themselves.

If you love someone and they do not give you the affection you want, you begin to believe you do not deserve that affection. You're not doing enough in your mind.

If you love someone and they hurt you, you continue letting it happen. You rationalize that behavior.

Put yourself on a pedestal. You deserve to be loved properly.

7. Just because you lose someone, that does not mean it is a loss.

I have experienced this myself. I truly had a fun time with this one boy I met at school. We were best friends and hung out all the time. We spent every day together. I really liked him, and he liked me back. We were inseparable.

The downfall was the fact that we were never on the same page. He distracted me from my studies. His goals didn't align with mine.

These downfalls of the relationship caused me so much stress and so many nights without sleep that I ended things. Ending things felt like the end of an era. I was losing my best friend, but I came to realize that it really is no loss.

It is not a loss because I gained so much more. When I finally let that stress go, I gained a sense of independence, confidence and security within myself and my studies.

8. A little goes a long way.

One of the major keys in a relationship is appreciating the little things.

It is not always about anniversaries, dates and flaunting your relationship on social media. Sometimes it is just them sending you something online and saying it reminded them of you. It's having them continue to open the door for you or even creating inside jokes with them.

Sometimes we like to make it seem like our relationships are these extravagant, out of this world experiences. But really, it is just two people who share a love for one another. Be generous to them with your time, your care and your efforts.

It's not about the recognition or the material things.

9. Loyalty is a necessity, not a luxury.

It's as simple as this: Being committed to one person you love is easy. If it's not easy, it's not love!

You shouldn't have to fight for someone to stay loyal and devoted to you. You should expect it and get it with no ifs, ands or buts.

10. Communication is key.

We have all heard this a thousand times. Communication is pivotal. From talking about your day all the way to talking about your deepest feelings. Holding things back holds a relationship back.

It is important to talk to each other and to become comfortable when it comes to everything you guys find it important to talk about.

It is equally as important to listen to each other too. You should make it a point to listen to your significant other, to understand them, not just to respond to them.

11. Have mutual trust, respect and boundaries

These concepts all go hand and hand.

It is extremely important to trust your partner with your whole existence. You should trust them to be respectful, loyal and to make sure they are doing their best to uphold the values of your relationship.

That trust also needs to be reciprocated. If one person does not trust the other, feelings of jealousy and resentment will become apparent in the relationship.

Finally, you should trust and respect your partner's boundaries. You should use safe words and talk about what you do not want to see in the relationship dynamic, what you consider cheating and so on.

There should be no place for dishonesty or disrespect within a unit.

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