Love at 14

Love. Millions of people from poets, to songwriters, to novelists have all had their fair share of trying to explain it. They try to break it down into details so small, and fill it up with generalisations so big, but out of the centuries and even millennia that we've had to discover every aspect of love, until we feel it for ourselves, we still never know exactly what it is. So I'm not going to describe love in my story, not as an emotion, and not as an idea. What I am going to describe goes much deeper. I'm going to write about my version of love, because as I've come to realise over the past two years, love can't be defined as any one thing, simply because it isn't. Love is a word that is filled with so many emotions, all different and personal to each individual. So as to fill in at least some of the blanks, my story, my first love, will be sincerely and completely mine. The first time I fell in love it was with an idea. Not a person. Of course I didn't realise that until much later. I had just moved schools and about halfway into the year found a great group. It was around that time I became more comfortable at school, and began to stop worrying about myself so much that I noticed others, so naturally, I noticed him. I'd seen him before, we had a class together, but I don't believe I developed my feelings towards him straight away, or maybe I did, those kinds of details are a bit fuzzy. I do know that when I did notice him, almost instantly my whole world revolved around him, and believe me, I wanted it to. At least to start with. My first clue was my friend from my last school. I was excitedly telling her what I knew about him, which, granted, wasn't very much, but I was happy and giddy and everything you are when you first develop a crush. I was smiling and probably blushing, when she looked at me, and smiled herself. “You're in love.” She said it with so much pride and confidence, that even after I denied its possibility, I held onto her accusation. There's no way, I could be in love. I haven't even spoken to the guy, and I'm only fourteen! Those kinds of thoughts circulated around my head a lot, because at the time it just seemed like such a ridiculous notion. I was raised to understand that when you're young, you're too naive, too immature to understand love properly. So initially I was quite adamant that it was just another crush, even though it was very different than anything I'd experienced before. There was, however, one key element that inevitably gave it away. I needed him. The butterflies didn't increase when I was around him, they went away. The constant nervous feeling lessened when he was there, and intensified when he wasn't, sometimes to the point of feeling physically sick. I felt like I couldn't function properly when he wasn't around, I couldn't process, I couldn't do anything, except think about him, it was infuriating, and terrifying. It felt like not just my heart was in pain, but my body was too. I remember being in a state of utter panic in one class, shaking, almost hyperventilating, just being scared as hell, because at that point, my entire vision of love was destroyed. Love is meant to be a fun feeling, something that makes you giddy and gives you purpose. Love is meant to be beautiful and amazing and the definition of happiness, it's meant to make you feel like you're floating, flying, soaring, like your feet will never touch the ground again, like you'll never fall, like nothing was ever, or will ever be, wrong. But to be brutally honest, sometimes, it's bloody torture. I learned the hard way that love isn't always perfect. It isn't always happy, fun and magical like I expected it to be, like it was always represented to be, and it wasn't always reciprocated. Afterwards, I was never really sure if what I felt was actually love. But after a year of wondering, someone else put it best: it was love, it just might not be the most love you ever feel. So it's now been over a year since I came to terms with my feelings for him, but in a way, he's haunting me. I'm scared to have a crush on someone again, because what I went through last time was so emotionally and mentally draining and hurt so much, it still does sometimes. But at the same time as I'm terrified of it, I'm looking for it, and after months and months of fighting with myself, fighting against it, I'm letting it in. The world is scary, it's big and full of so much possibility, good and bad, but the bad is what makes the good. I could go off on a tangent about breaking before shining, or how we need darkness to see the stars, or any other cliche but somehow inspirational quote, but I'm going to leave it up to you. I learnt my lesson in love, and in life, I did it the hard way, and I broke, and I was battered, and I was bruised, I felt like the world was going to collapse around me… and I'm standing. The bruises have faded, the cracks are healing, I'm not all the way there, but I'm ready. Are you?

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