By Joy Ong
I used to think that your first heartbreak hurts but then it’s over and you stay the same. The same you as before. Like you could just cut out that portion of your life and move on to the next. Like that whole person wouldn’t have to matter anymore. Like it didn’t mean anything at all.
But this is not the case.
If you really are heartbroken, you know that it meant something. Whether it was years or just a single month of your life, you know that time you spent together meant a lot; that person meant a lot. And I know every part of your body wants to tell you you’re okay. But the truth is you’re not. It hurts and it aches and it kills like nothing you’ve felt before. You tell yourself it was nothing or that it was everything and that you’ll never feel the same. You probably still have some regrets. You don’t know how to feel better, how to stop crying, how to move on.
You wonder what the point of all of this is.
Why do we have to have the first heartbreak?
You’ll start reminiscing on the things you used to do. The person you were before you knew them and then when you were with them. Replaying every moment in your head. Whether you were happy or arguing. The stupid little things, like what they used to say and how they said it. Their little quirks and habits that made your skin boil. The parts you buried deep into your memory that only you and that person know about. You still remember everything they liked and everything you loved about them. You want them and you need them.
You still miss them.
The first heartbreak, and in fact most heartbreaks, will bring the worst out of you. You won’t know how to feel like yourself again. You can hurt other people and you can hurt yourself. You will feel weak. It will make you think the craziest, most insecure and irrational thoughts. You will question yourself uncontrollably. ‘Am I anything without them? Am I anything at all? Was I not good enough? Did they ever even care? Does anyone care? Why do I still care? Will I ever be okay again?’
All you want to do is cry and listen to Adele.
After looking into the mirror at an unwashed face covered in blackened tears and traces of ice cream, you find clarity.
You will never be the you, you were before. No matter how much you want all the memories and all the hurt to just disappear- it just can’t. That person and that time changed you. Whether you realise now or later, you have experienced a lot. An enlightenment in terms of love and what you want for yourself and in a relationship. Whether it was a full-on romance filled with passion and turbulence or an innocent first with a light-hearted and short-lived spark. You were there. You can’t change that. You can’t pretend like it’s nothing because you will never be able to come to terms with a situation you refuse to understand. You cannot let it take over you.
So see it for what it is. What it really was. Know how much they meant to you and how much you mean to yourself. Realise that it happened for a reason, and ended for a reason. You’re going to be okay with or without them. That you’re so much more than the person you were, because you have these experiences. That you needed all the hurt and the pain and the desperation and the crying to know what you know now. That you needed to live through it to move on.
All you can really hope for is that you learn from your first heartbreak. That you’re honest with yourself and don’t become bitter. That you continue to make more mistakes and to learn from them too. That when you look back you realise how small this was. And how your first heartbreak changed you, how it improved you and brought you to where you are now.
That is why we have the first heartbreak.