Open Letter to my First Love

Open Letter To My First Love

You taught me how toxic I can be, without knowing it.

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The last day of 7th grade was the day I remember talking to you and liking you. We were playing basketball at the gym of the Boys & Girls Club.

Later that day, you slid into my Facebook messenger DMs. We talked about our summer plans, and per usual I was going to Colombia, so it would be a while before I saw you again.

Fast forward a year later, you walked into gym class as the new student. I never thought you would circle back into my life, let alone to Gulfview. You hit puberty and grew 5 feet. My heart was beating so fast, I thought I was going to pass out. My whole body got warm and idk if that's what liking someone feels like, but I was freaking out.

You were the hot new kid, so everyone was all over you. Like I usually do when something or someone is popular, I try to ignore it until everyone's obsession has faded.

Then high school happened. Freshmen year was great. I would come over and watch you play "Grand Theft Auto."

End of my freshmen year you started getting in trouble. You stopped playing sports and replaced it with bad habits. While this was happening I had no idea of other girls. I was so naïve in thinking that since I wasn't doing anything sketch, you weren't either.

Then when we started going to the same high school, and shit really hit the fan. We would argue all the time. We never saw each other, you were always "busy." That time was a blur, I just remember crying myself to sleep just to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do my hair and makeup, just to get your attention. I walked into school feeling numb.

Then Christmas happened, and you got into a fight, and I came running to you, making sure you were okay. You were still bleeding when I saw you. I tried so hard to hold you, but I knew we were going down different paths. At that moment I wanted you to see all the greatness I saw in you. I wanted to tell you that everything was going to be okay, even though it wasn't.

Not sure when we started talking again, or how it happened. Puberty at it's finest. I could not stop thinking about you. All I did was think about you. All I wanted to do was spend time with you. You consumed my every thought. You were a lot of my first. The first time a guy made me food. First time dancing to "Lost" by Chance the Rapper. First time going to school together, as you sat on the passenger seat while Gary drove, and you would put your hand behind the seat signaling me to hold it. The first guy my mom met. First 4th of July. First heartbreak.

Fast forward to my freshmen year at college - the first time I made an effort to get over you.

I knew it was over because I would fly back to Naples, and I didn't put effort to see you. Last time I saw you in Naples, you were wearing your salmon cargo pants, dark brown Sperry's, and you cried to me.

You finally opened up.

I've given you so much of me, and you finally were giving me some of you...

And.

I.

Felt.

Nothing.

To be fair, you did put me through a lot of shit. You ruined many 'friendships'. You made me think that love was supposed to feel this toxic. You f*cked me up mentally. I thought guys were supposed to treat me like this. There was a moment I thought cheating was acceptable. I took so much of your mental games, and genuinely thought it was okay.

I still can't explain that moment or the moments that followed. I guess part of you broke me. It's not something crazy like what novels describe, it's more like nothingness.

You looked so good when I saw you in NYC, I love your sleeve. Just when I started to warm up to you, I had to go catch my flight. I cried so hard that night because I missed you. You're one of the few people that actually sees through my bullshit.

You're such a big part of who I was, and how much I've changed. A reminder of how vulnerable I can be when I care about someone. We brought out each other's best and worse qualities. At the end of the day, I'm thankful it happened the way it did.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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To The Girl Telling Herself She Doesn't 'Catch Feelings,' Stop Lying To Yourself

"Catching feels" is not synonymous with a sickness, but with embracing the human capacity to feel that we all too often neglect.

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We're all guilty of it. We think we have this incredible Great Wall of China protecting our vulnerability; however, we tend to overestimate its security with defense mechanisms that could potentially hurt us in the long-term, concerning the formation of future relationships.

We must let others in to embrace the process of falling for someone

If you're like me, constantly busy and preoccupied with life's demands (sometimes going days without proper inhalation and exhalation), we become almost numb and ignorant of our emotions, mostly as a result from not putting ourselves out there. But this lack of experience is wrongly mistaken for the notion of attachment resistance. It's OK to focus on yourself, but after a while, it is necessary and fun to reawaken those feelings and jubilant moods associated with falling for someone, because in the midst of life's madness, we often forget how to feel.

Do not attempt to avoid to "catch feels" like it's the plague

We're consistently bombarded with false advice from society to avoid "catching feels," or falling for someone, no matter the costs. Why is it suddenly so frowned upon to actually like someone you met? Why should we feel shame in wanting to continue a relationship with this person? Dating is evidently complicated in the 21st century, but don't let this make you try to consciously repress those newly-formed feelings since repression essentially leads to escalation. Embrace the feels because it's the human thing to do.

Loosen your wall's bricks with vulnerability

Some of our jerk-alert senses are more activated than others, mostly due to past experiences, but it's important to hammer into our heads that they're not all the same.

Stop lying to yourself. No matter how much you repress it, you will feel, you will get attached, and you will allow yourself to do this, despite what the norm is for what "dating" is today. Break off from your defense mechanisms and your wall will slowly follow. Remember: "catching feels" is not synonymous with sickness, but with embracing the human capacity to feel that we all too often neglect.

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