Dear First Boyfriend,

I don’t know if you still think of me, or if you have ever missed me even just a little. I don’t know if you still have anything of mine left, or just the sound of my name, but I thought I’d take this time to thank you for the things you taught me about love, life, and myself.

You were number one. You were the first boy I opened up to, and showed my scars, both physical and emotional, both self-inflicted and external. You were the first one to hold my hand, to kiss me, to see me in my most vulnerable state. You were the first one who made me think that my blue eyes, freckled skin, and mousy hair was beautiful; that my excitable, dramatic, and sensitive personality was lovable. You taught me that for all that I see in the mirror that I find ugly, there is someone who might find it perfect. For that, I can’t thank you enough.

You also hurt me, and I hurt you too, as most first relationships go. Sometimes, I overreacted to something you’d say, or overanalyze something you didn’t. I learned from those mistakes to take a breath, back up, and trust. Other times, you hurt me, poking at my defenses with threats of cheating or leaving. Even for those times, when I was crying in front of you and wanted to raise my palm across your cheek, I thank you, for you taught me that I need to put myself first, and realize I deserve better.

When I finally mustered the will to break up with you, when the love had faded and our relationship had turned into a shield protecting me from my own fears, I thanked you. I thanked you for being my boyfriend and teaching me what I needed to know, the good, the bad and the ugly. For sometimes even if a relationship goes up in flames, the ashes you’re left with are just as important and beautiful as the fire that once burned.

With love,