As little girls, we are taught almost from conception that true love has great importance (thanks, Walt Disney). What we don’t realize, however, is that true love comes in various forms. A true love can be a mother touching the hand of her child for the first time, a first kiss, a best friendship, and, most important yet most forgotten, the love of oneself. Each true love helps mature us into the best versions of ourselves; we just have to look a little closer to see it that way.
My first kiss was nothing short of awkward. At age 15 in the Kenwood Towne Center mall, a cut lip and spinach from his braces were just a few of the battle wounds from the moment. I was disappointed and let down because "The Princess Diaries" told me my first kiss should be magical and “foot popping.” However, it became a moment of true love nonetheless.
We didn’t speak much afterwards, but my first kiss taught me to be more comfortable in myself. The cut on the lip healed, the spinach was brushed away, and the nervousness faded. It may not have been my Prince Charming moment, but I found true love in it.
My first boyfriend lasted a total of three whole weeks. Not to mention, I broke up with him on Valentine’s Day. My first time at the movies on a double date after being dropped off by my mother was scandalous and "grown up." A “relationship” kept alive through the words behind a cell phone screen may have been one of the furthest things from romance, but it taught me how to communicate. There are television marathons that last longer than my very first relationship, but without it, I would still be stuck behind my cell phone barely able to say hello to anyone from the opposite sex.
The first time a boy broke my heart, I didn’t think I would be able to recover. I was led on and felt physical pain. "Pretty Little Liars" told me it would hurt (when Spencer thought Toby was dead), but I could never have imagined the pain until I felt it firsthand. The dewy but warm hand interlaced through mine echoed in my memory, and I wanted it to just stop. However, I learned that if a boy did not want to love me in return for all of my ferociousness, then it truly was his loss. Without pain, you never truly know happiness.
Now, I have learned a lot from past true loves such as boys, friendships, career paths, and experiences. A friend may be the best thing for you at the time, but leaves you with no one to turn to when you need them most. A boy may seem like the Prince Eric who saves you when you finally can stand on two feet, but falls for the Ursula instead. At the end of the day, you truly only have yourself, and nearing 21, that’s okay with me.
I am a strong woman learning from each form of true love. I have my own career goals, personal expectations, and expectations for/if I decide to get married one day. For now, I am loving myself first and foremost, and becoming the best version of me so I am not hindered by any unopened opportunities. After all, if you want a great relationship love, you can only gain it by first seeing your own worth.