The Painfully Honest Chronicles of a First-Time Heartbreak

I'm a word-vomiter. Indeed, when my body turns against me and I feel overwhelmed or suffocated by my own thoughts and feelings, I cannot help but spill them out onto a blank page. Last year, against my better judgement, I fell in love. So when our young relationship ended about 7 months later, I did a lot of word-vomiting. This leads us to the following letter, “The Painfully Honest Chronicles of a First-Time Break-Up.” Although writing this was painful and messy, initially flooded with grammatical errors and colloquials such as “y’all” and even “dude,” the act of word-vomiting gave me a sense of relief and centeredness. Once it was finished, I read it back to myself over and over again until the anger and resentment I was holding onto grew quieter in my heart and I only felt a shallow bitter sweetness.

This letter is quite personal and unrelentingly honest, but I think it maybe reflects the same feelings that many girls my age go through during young heartbreak. If there is a girl with a broken heart reading this, you will soon know that I was right there with you. This letter includes a multitude of thoughts and feelings, regrets and admirations. Yet, in the end, it is simply the telling of another journey in my life; a journey that has played a huge role in the woman I am today, and I’m very proud of her.

  1. 1. Dear Anonymous,

    I.

    Our time together was surreal to me. The way you looked at me and the way you kissed me was unlike any way I had been looked at or kissed before. Deep and gentle. I could see that I was wanted by you, and it made me feel worthy. Yet, I was scared. I felt as though maybe I was not as worthy as you perceived me to be, and I retreated at all costs. When I look back at that, I feel regretful. I should have embraced the ridiculousness of being in a relationship at 19 years old. I used to think we took it too seriously, and when things got too serious, I couldn’t help but notice the cheesiness of it all. I used to tell myself, I do not live in a Jane Austen novel, I live in the real world.

    During one of the first conversations I had with my mom about you, I described to her the hopeless romantic in you, contrasting it to my pragmatic self. She told me, “Angel, maybe you could use a little hopeless romance like that in your life.” And although I had many reservations—such as my ability and willingness to love—I decided to take on the role of a girlfriend for the first time in my life. If I could do it all over again, maybe I would have embraced the intimidation of our seemingly Nicholas Sparks-level teen romance. Maybe I should have loved you like we were in a movie, because it sure felt like we were. Maybe I should have gone all-in and not feared getting hurt so much. Because I didn’t. And now look where we are. 

     

    II.

    When we were together, I was not confident in myself, and I think you sensed that. It’s a shame because I wanted you to see me at my best—emotionally, physically, and mentally. I wanted you to see me when I felt good and believed it. Yet, how I felt on the inside and how I expressed feelings to you sometimes contradicted each other. I haven’t been able to figure out why until we broke up, and I was given the space to reflect and, well, word-vomit. I think maybe I was showing you who I wanted to be instead of who I am and then became overwhelmed when my actions and feelings didn’t always coordinate. I put on a front like I’m confident and intimidating, but when I was vulnerable, my insecurities had nowhere to hide. I’m sorry if that made me seem fake—I never intended on hiding from you.

    You’ve always seemed confident in who you are. And while you have your struggles, at the end of the day, you seemed to know who you were and what you wanted. And I adored that about you. And I adored that trait of yours and how it changed my perspective of love and life. Whether it is true or not—you knowing who you are—it made me feel more confident in myself noticing that in you. Because I wished I were like that. You helped me take the steps in figuring out who I am by listening, caring, and loving me. That’s why it’s a shame I held back from you. I didn’t realize at the time how much you helped me grow. However, your adoration impeded my ability to see myself the way you saw me, and I needed to be able to do that for myself. 

     

    III.

    I don’t mean to write about my reservations during our relationship because I feel sorry for myself, because that’s not the case. I don’t strictly see myself as the cause of our heart break and I don’t think you do either. I’m not writing this to fuel my sadness, and I don’t even know if this will ever see the light of day. This whole break up has helped me organize my thoughts and feelings and, while it’s hell, it might have been the right call. I may think differently in about an hour from now, but for now I am okay. Just okay. I guess what I am trying to say in this letter is that I wanted to be a better person before I met you and began this journey with you. And at the end of the day, I wanted to prove to myself that I could love limitlessly more than I wanted to actually give my heart to someone.

    I know that my heart is young and fragile—so how could I give it up without reservations attached? I had some figuring out to do, but my excitement blinded me to that reality. I want to be a good person and help change the world, so it was important to me that I created the best version of myself while I still can. I just couldn’t quite figure out how to make myself better or to make me feel like I was already good before I sacrificed my attention to someone else. That’s the kicker, folks. But you also played a huge role in helping me figure out how to love myself, and now I’m learning how to do it for myself. I am understanding my feelings more and beginning to feel secure in my place and my being, because I need to do it for myself, not necessarily for you or our relationship. But I think you want that for me. I am trying to express love and show affection better, to compromise, and to think about others more, and I just needed some space to recognize how to do that. I had so much love to give you, but I first needed to re-evaluate how I give you that love, or anyone else for that matter.

    The thing about relationships, I believe, is that they are supposed to elevate the person you have come to know and love. But what if you have yet to shape an image of yourself that you know, and therefore can love? How is it possible to become empowered and elevated by a relationship if you do not fully trust who you are? Everyone has heard the saying, “If you do not love yourself, no else will.” But how can we love ourselves if we do not know ourselves? And how can we know ourselves if we do not put ourselves in situations that force us to evaluate our values, strengths, comforts, and fears, such as heart breaks?

    This is why I share my regrets, fears, and sweet memories with you. Not in an effort to re-live my first real relationship and feel sorry for myself. Not to tell whoever may read this to seek self-worth through a premature romance. But, instead, to subject myself to a brutal analysis of how this love has helped me grow, learn, understand, and yes, love, myself a little better. It is a bitter-sweet venture, but I believe that through vulnerability, we allow ourselves to come face-to-face with what is holding us back from reaching our absolute potential as women. Relationships, and eventual break-ups, are learning opportunities, and I think learning and growing is the epitome of what it means to be human. It is tiring and exciting and painful and sweet. I know that I am young, and I know that I have much to learn and much to experience. But I believe that through feeling and loving others unabashedly, we expose our true selves, and thus unlock new opportunities for self-love and self-appreciation. And although it hurts sometimes, it just might be worth it.