It is with profound relief that I now reflect on those particular and distant memories of my high school adventures with my first true love.
Did i want it, absolutely NO… But “life is what happens between, us making plans”
Shockingly, it is something I never admitted to her, or said out loud for years. Even though many people close to me had no doubts about my emotional state at the time.
Looking back at my 16 year old self, I can’t help but feel a little proud. Not because I have accomplished anything, but simply because that experience gave me the arms to achieve the emotional maturity
, I trust myself to possess today. Obviously I still have a lot to learn and live through. Nonetheless I kept going forward after the first time I fell hopelessly in love. And that’s encouraging to me. I remained true to myself and tried to be truthful to those I was romantically involved.
Trying to explain one of the most deep and personal feelings you can develop from another human being outside of your family, it is well beyond any talents i possess. Additionally it would very arrogant of me to pretend I understand it enough to describe it accurately. Many great poets and writers have made the attempt and it is surely closer to the true meaning. However i will make the effort to use my ordinary story to “see” how my “combat” with that emotion changed me forever.
This whole story may sound like another Cliché for some. You may even get bored and not get this sentence, nonetheless i recently realized that many important things in life, are Clichés.
Let me explain, it was the year before my senior year. I was enjoying my simple teenage life, which stupidly, I thought to be complicated. Although I struggled with my feelings towards a girl that was until then a friend. For reasons I could not understand, I was beginning to develop an “idiotic” or “illogical” attraction for that person. I couldn’t control it, and for a guy that at that point of his life have never drank alcohol, and was an athlete and a disciplined student, not having control of my body and not understanding my feelings was extremely unsettling.
And there was pride….
Ironically pride is something I believe to be useless and to be precise it can do more harm than good in matters of the heart.
It took time for me to admit the truth, and decide to tell her that my feelings towards her had changed. Initially she claimed her feelings were simply those of a friend. Days after she admitted confusion and jealousy, but ultimately her feelings for me, resided somewhere in between a friend and a boyfriend if that makes sense. At the end I became neither. I knew what I felt but her actions kept confusing me and I channeled my anger and frustration towards her. I tried to replace love with anger and in a way protect myself for trying to still be her friend while I clearly wasn’t feeling like it.
My mistake was thinking that, she didn’t care about my struggle or that she could understand her own feelings. Honestly I still don’t know what happened. The fact is that a year later through our best friends who ended up dating (it’s okay you can laugh at the irony) we progressively tried to reconnect. I was still, “under her charm” so I got my hopes up pretty quickly. After one double date where we spent time talking about how I treated her the past months which I can only describe as a complete disregard of her existence. We proceeded our conversation and it slowly started to evolve as something you can call a romantic encounter. I felt optimistic I was definitely out of the “friendzone” but I needed a validating kiss.
Surprisingly it never happened. Lack of courage, lack of significant signals from her part, too much thinking, call it whatever you want the result remains the same.
A second double date was needed but this time around I should not hesitate. As soon as we found ourselves alone with each other again, “I should make my move” I thought.
The time came the next day, and from the start I could sense her uncomfort. I tried to convince myself otherwise and lie to my brain but the visual cues were proof my heart didn’t want to accept.
Few minutes later we isolated ourselves from the others, and she tried to tell me the truth. It was and still is confusing but keep in mind that we both were teenagers.
I do regret never reaching out or asking after so many years what happened then. But, it took me years to get over it, even after I left the town for college many thing reminded me of her and in the few occasions I came back in town her attitude continued to confuse and consume my thoughts.
One thing that was always clear after the first time i told her and it didn’t work out, was my best friends failure to comprehend why I still adored everything about her, and most importantly why i had hope. Despite their lack of understanding, they did not fail to encourage me and make futile attempts to suppress that uncontrollable despair you have when you found yourself “enchanted” by someone. I think one of my favorite things, they used to say, had to do with her looks. They started comparing her with other girls i knew at the time and they thought i had a shot. If my brain wasn’t fueled with love inducing chemicals i may have realized and accepted that logic.
So yes my amour had flaws, but to quote a old writer…
“What does it matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter to it. In many ways unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in a pocket. But love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect”
And indescribably frustrating if I may add.
Did she deserved it, does the one you love deserves your love. That is a question our friends try to solve every time they watch us be that miserable. Yet to this day I don’t think there is a better feeling, and trust me I have tried a lot of different chocolates, ice creams or whatever carb based food, able to induce enough hormones to satisfy my simple brain( smiling, I imagine some of you will have some palatable meal suggestions at this point).
To my own surprise it served me so much the following years. Instead of getting mad and trying to be that guy who would not talk to her after the first “rejection”. I focused my energy on building the person I became after falling for her and making sure I never intentionally or unintentionally hurt someone else. Never make someone feel that miserable or lost. The reason was that I found that love gave me a lot of energy and hope about a number of things. I found within myself a certain joy of living and giving through that unselfish emotion. I decided to exploit those positive feelings I had when my stomach was “full of butterflies” instead of becoming a spiteful person that will project negativity, I started on the path of what I am today.
Good or bad decision I don’t really know, others will have to testify on it in many years to come. What I know is, while everything that happen to me since then was far from being great. In terms of personality, even though the work is not over yet, I did become someone the 17 year old heartbroken me, was aiming for. I have no idea if it is common that I thought like this, way back then, all I know is that I am generally happier for it and constantly keep trying to spread that incurable optimism. This endeavor gave me an understanding, a compassion and strength I would probably have never had otherwise.
Hence I am unequivocally thankful to her because she made me develop this emotion and have the experience which in consequence helped me shape the core of my beliefs.
Heartbreak is a very powerful teacher.
I guarantee it, I would have not experienced and lived my life alongside other people the way I did if it wasn’t for her. I was lucky.
I hope she is happy and has learned as much for the experience.
I’ll add one last thing
Respect yourself, yes
but do be too proud and act in contrast with your feelings.
Because from time to time the heart can teach the brain a lesson.
An incurable optimist