My story is not the typical "first love" love story. There is absolutely no magic and little innocence involved. My story does not depict a beautiful, puppy love summer romance and it does not involve a courting, doting high school sweetheart. Whenever I think about my first love, I honestly don't even know who to best consider.
Which is why I would much rather give a quick synopsis on each boyfriend I've had/boy I've dated. (This is actually the first time I'm doing this, ever.)
1. P. - We dated for 2 years. I was 16, he was 18. He was my first, but I never loved him. I cared about him, but I knew in my heart... I just didn't feel it. But I stayed and convinced myself I was just "scared." Scared of having a good guy. He had already enlisted in the US Army when we met. Fought in Iraq while I finished high school and started college. Never made it to my prom. Spent more time apart, writing letters and talking on the phone. Cheated on me, but I forgave him anyway. Eventually, it all fizzled and I ended it for good. It was pointless; I was unhappy. I didn't see it going anywhere. We had nothing in common. I was growing (up).
2. T. - We felt an instant connection, connection that led to a destructive cat-and-mouse game we played. A few GOOD years older than me, he lived life by his own rules. Was always a dick and never an asshole, meaning: he was always honest with me and about the terms of our "relationship." He never led me on, never told me he loved me and never promised me the world. (lies) He became my drug, while he himself battled a drug problem. His pride was immense; he never reached out to me. I stayed for 2 years because I did love him. I wanted him to see just how grand my love for him was. And I wanted to be the one to bring it out because I KNEW, just knew, that somewhere deep inside, underneath the tough guy dick act, there was a guy who actually loved me for me and for all that I was doing for him. I wasn't physically abused, but I let him emotionally abuse me. I knew all of it, but I kept going back, like a battered wife who just doesn't know any better - back to the battering husband. In two years, we went out to dinner once and once for breakfast. But I lived and learned. Learned how not to be. Learned to love myself first. Learned to (again) grow up. (His love for me did eventually show conveniently about a year after I decided I had had enough.)
3. J. - This man really did me in. I still wonder if he'll ever even know how badly he hurt me and the immense effect he has had on me. Fast forward two and a half years (at age 22!) - met unexpectedly, just like in the movies - locked eyes across bar, pretended to not see him, pretended some more to ignore him, but secretly loved it as my heart anxiously beat in my chest when he approached me to talk to me and ask for my number the first night. Loved it even more when he shot me a sweet text later on that night. I stayed composed and "cool" (but I was really just numbed by fear and my own insecurities) for the 7 months we "blissfully" dated until it all ended abruptly and awfully silently. Literally - in the most coward way, he stopped answering my calls (one time that I called, usually we texted) and stopped answering my texts (a whopping two texts within the course of a week or so.) I knew it was over. I just felt it. And I knew my fear had driven it. Or had at least something to do with it. I didn't believe in the good that could have come out of it. I stood threatened and anxious over his previous 5-year relationship. I felt more angry, betrayed, humiliated and alone.
4. J. - The second J in my life is the first man I can honestly say I had a good, "grown-up" relationship with. He was and still in an incredible man. Selflessly, the took the time to clean up the messes all the other before him have made. He didn't mind doing so. I had the upper hand from the very beginning; he knew it and I loved it. But never did I abuse it with him. I just knew he loved me more than I loved him from the beginning. It was written somewhere though, in this universe that I would find such a man and that this man would "fix me." But now... now that I feel all fixed, I want to spread my wings and fly... Two and a half years later, I'm learning to fly. Fearlessly.
It hasn't been easy. It hasn't been all that hard either. I try to live with no regrets. All my experiences made me into who I am today. That always seems to be such a cliche--well then, WHO ARE YOU TODAY really? We always throw the phrase around as if we are all "done" and "finished" today. We are just simple transgressions through time. We are not done learning, living, loving. Who we are today will change. In a second, starting tomorrow. Starting right now.
No love is ever the same, like no two people are ever the same. Love is ever-changing. So is heartbreak. We are never the same after either one of them. But we must learn to embrace them equally almost--in a way, they're opposites, but they go together. So I've experienced my share of heartbreak from all the men in my past (FYI - the ones listed above are only the "main ones") which means that I must have loved them all, somehow, each one of them in totally different ways. And I'm fine with that.
The most uncoventional "first love" love story ever told. Still, it's MY story. And I wouldn't change it in any way.