An Open Letter to My First Love

By: Zeinah Hesham

My dear first love,

Know that I’m being generous when I refer to you as ‘love’ when most of our time consisted of pain and suffering, easily forgiven by simple ‘I love you’s and delicate touches on my leg. Know that despite all the smiles we shared and the butterflies I felt, when I think of you I do not think of an epic high school relationship or the first boy that told me he loved me – I think of how much time I wasted being loved by you when I could’ve spent it loving myself better. 

The accidental flashbacks that hit me like that first autumn breeze; feels like being trapped in an ocean in the midst of a riptide. Those times that you made me feel extraordinary were replaced by my doubt and fear as any person showed minimal interest in me, it felt like I couldn’t escape you.

You were the first of a few – being with you resembled being in a rollercoaster on your own, always being stuck at the highest level, knowing that I eventually will get down, fearing how the escalation is going to happen yet enjoying every single thing that was visible to my naked eye.

Being with you mended me until it didn’t. It mended me until I left and found out that you don’t have to break someone to love them. You don’t need to reassure them with your words to show that you love them. You don’t need to ruin their trust, their mentality and their views like you did trying to love me.

But I can’t help but think that maybe you did me a favour. Maybe breaking me is the reason why I can’t seem to trust anyone that says they love me. Maybe breaking me was good for me; if only to ensure that I can never believe that any person in the world could love me with no ulterior motives. Maybe if you hadn’t broken me, I wouldn’t be wiping away tears off my face because for the first time in what feels like decades, I feel like I could love someone and could be loved back but that only lasts a minute before I remind myself that it’s not real, that I’m being played, that it’s unrealistic to love someone like me, it doesn’t happen in real life, it doesn’t happen to girls like me.

I have to write these words and read them over and over again to remind myself that what I could have could never work because nothing ever works out for the damaged girl. No one can heal her like you – your toxicity becomes a part of her like the blood that runs through her veins, something that she can’t live without, she desperately needs you and no one will love her like you will.

Is that what you tell yourself everyday? While you are looking at the new girl or browsing through old photographs or brushing your teeth – do you tell yourself that you gave me something special or are you too busy filling my mind and heart with emptiness and doubt? 

You’re too busy, too special, too selfish to realise what that one year of your presence did to undo any simple weeks of happiness.

You were my first love but I sure as hell know that you weren’t the best because the best love I have is for myself and if there’s anything that made sense of us – it’s that no matter how much someone loves me, I have no choice but to love myself more.

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