Look At Me Now: 6 Things Every Girl Should Say to the First Guy Who Broke Her Heart
Heartbreak is inevitable. It happens when we're young, when we're old, when we least expect it and when we think we're most ready for it.
The soul-crushing blow is something that we all have in common, the kind of scar we all share, no matter what point we're at in our lives. It all happens to us first.
Our first love lost might be our greatest love, our strongest love, our most dependent love, our most naïve and innocent. When it's gone, we feel empty, unloaded of all the affections that bloated us while somehow still plump with agony and ache.
We all remember the first bitter taste of heartache. No matter how deep we bury it, it stays close, bubbling at the surface.
And we remember it, raw like metal in our mouths. Sour. Stale. It makes us forget – for an hour, for a day, for a month, for a year – that we'll ever be able to recover from something like this, that one day we'll be stronger, braver and smarter, that we'll eventually learn to love harder, trust deeper, kiss longer.
We're paused in the moment, stuck in neutral, paralyzed with fear at what happens if we move forward yet not sure if we we're ready to step backwards.
But finally, like the phoenix from the ashes, we rise, powerful and ready to love again. And when time, space, distance and a few rebounds have gapped the distance between us, separated us both in life and in love, there are things we want to say — that I want to say, that we all want to say.
It takes weeks, months and years to find the words, but when we do, they are truer and bolder and braver than what we thought.
They are not scarred with rage and they're not bulleted with bitterness. They're honest and intentional, words we've picked because they are direct and courageous.
We pick them because they're the words they need to hear, but more importantly they're the words we need to say.
You didn't win.
Yeah, yeah, love is not a battlefield and blah, blah, blah, but in a Game of Hearts, it's nice to (eventually) realize that you're not the loser.
You were, for a minute, for a moment, for a fleeting second, but then you picked yourself up off the floor and dusted off the cracks that caved in your relationship.
You didn't break me. You didn't ruin me. And even though it wasn't a game, you didn't win. Neither of us did. (But if we have to pick a winner, fine, it was me.)
I rose above it.
With the help of Jack, Johnny and José, I cleaned up the mess you made of me – and I walked away, head and heart in tact. Though your words and actions cut deep, like knives against a board, they didn't stop me.
I may have started over, several times, but it was worth it. I learned more about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and my ability to be stronger and more giving than you ever were.
I moved on. I moved forward. I was better.
I'm not the girl I used to be.
It's been lightyears and decades and there have been moments when I felt like I'd never move past the pain that settled on me when you left, but I did. And though I'm a far cry from ever figuring everything out, I know that I'm not that same girl, timid and so unsure of herself, that I was when I met you – and I'm definitely not the same girl, sad and lonely, that you left all those years ago.
The parts I love about myself are still here, prouder and more pronounced than ever, but the things that you took from me when you left – the things I struggled to hold on to and to let go of – those are gone and in their place, a better version of me.
I can't thank you enough for letting me go.
In the moment, losing you and ending our relationship was probably the most difficult thing that had ever happened to me. I was lost, confused, broken and sad – but now that I look back on it, I can't thank you enough for being the one to lose me.
I don't know if you realized it, or even if you meant for this to happen, but not being with you forced me to be comfortable with being alone.
I got to know myself more intimately and more passionately than I'd ever done before. I realized what I really wanted and whom I really wanted that from. I learned how I want to be treated, the morals and values that are important to me.
They were lessons I wouldn't have learned had we stayed together. So thanks for being dumb enough to let me go.
I learned to love harder.
When we first broke up, I didn't think that it would ever be possible to give love to and feel love from another person. And I was so, so wrong.
I learned to give myself to partners in ways that I had never imagined. I loved deeper, harder and stronger, more passionately and without reservation. I thought that the best parts of me died when we did, but after losing you, I started to understand how every love and every partnership is different.
And yes, even though what we had was special and unique and heartstopping and consuming, I was still able to have that with other people.
Sometimes, I still miss you.
I don't want to be with you, I know that now, but that doesn't mean I don't still stop and think about you when it snows, or when it rains, or when it's really sunny outside and I want someone to lie in the park with.
I miss you, the way your eyes shone when I said something silly and the fact that you were the first person I ever gave my heart to.
I miss you, not in the way you miss a friend or a lover, not in the way that you miss someone you barely knew, but in the way that you miss a loved one long after they've gone.
You still reach for them, out of habit more than necessity, when something really, really good happens and for a fleeting moment, you want to share the news with them. But you know better than to go searching for them. So you think of them and smile, hugging the good memories, the kisses, the sweet affections tight against you.
And you know it's fine to miss them, but not to have them.
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