First love presents itself as stomach-turning butterflies, a palpitating heart and infinite nervousness. When he is near, you find yourself unable to think straight; when he kisses your cheek for the first time it feels as though you’ve just won an Olympic gold medal for your country.
You’re proud and ecstatic and have no fear. You don’t know what’s coming next except that the world feels as if it doesn’t exist when you’re in his arms. When his lips touch yours you feel as though your legs can no longer take the weight of your happiness.
You don’t think about the future because what could possibly go wrong? You are here and he is with you and everything feels so right.
But then all of a sudden everything is torn away from you when you least expect it. He leaves as quickly as he entered, leaving a storm of dust behind in his wake, and the ashes of the future that you never spared much thought to anyway. You are down on your knees, trying to gather the ashes but you fail; the tears streaming down your face are clouding your eyes. He left you with no map, no road signs to navigate the aftermath of his departure, and his absence has left you more lost than you have ever been before.
So this is what it feels like to your heart broken for the first time. People try to make you feel better. They tell you it gets better with time but maybe you don’t want it to get better. You never want to forget the best moments of your life.
Then love will find you again. This time it feels like the first, except different. It’s new again. You’re not sure whether to trust again but you want to.
You find yourself there again, on the edge of love and love is drawing you in, pulling you closer till it’s too late to try to pull yourself out. And why would you? It’s wonderful. Love has given you someone to weep about again, someone to write about, laugh with, to live with. The heartache from your first love even seems silly now. You’re wiser, you tell yourself. You’ll do this better.
But love will leave you yet again and although it hurts deeply, it almost seems like heartache gets easier sometimes. Does it get easier?
Maybe you’re just more used to the pain. Maybe you’re slowly learning to accept that not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. That people come and go; they come to teach you something, then they leave as soon as their time is done. You tear your heart out once again, but this time it’s a little easier to do. You are no longer looking for the road signs he left behind, you are making your own.
Of course, love will find you again. This time, the butterflies are present but they are different. He doesn’t sweep you off your feet, you aren’t a nervous wreck when you see him from across the street. Instead, he brings you peace.
When you are with him you feel as calm as you’ve never felt before. Like everything is falling into place but you don’t even have to try. You are no longer leaning on him for direction, you are directing this together. You are no longer throwing yourself at him, begging for him to fix you.
You have your sharp edges, just as he does. You have your flaws, just as he has his. But you’re in this together. You’re both finding yourself through each other. You’re helping each other on this great journey and it’s always an adventure together. You wonder if this is what love is supposed to feel like. You no longer love recklessly, but purposefully.
Written by Carissa Tham