Life is littered with plenty of ‘firsts’.
First pet, first car, or first night at college away from your parents. You name it. But as you grow older these ‘firsts’ become more impactful and scarce. The list of “Never Have I Ever” shortens. The only ‘firsts’ left are the real life changing ones. AKA the ones you avoided until the last possible second or just happen to you. Kind of like your first loan payment or picking a health insurance plan (am I alone in the level of anxiety these initially caused?).
Of course we each reach these milestones at different times. We uniquely dawn to an aspect of the world that didn’t exist prior.
This is where I find myself. In awe, and possibly grateful , at the delayed timing of this particular ‘first’ in my life.
I’ll stop being coy. I never had a boyfriend until this year and I never experienced heartache either. There was no absence of complaint about the first part of that. Many times I was impatient and, if I’m being truthful, doubted that it was EVER going to happen. But like many other things in life it happened when I least expected it and it was nothing like the 15 year-old or 21, 22, 23( you get the point) year-old me imagined it would be.
Yet, this is not the part that leaves me wondering “how did I never experience this part of living until now?” The part that gets me is that people experience heartache, devastating heartache far beyond what I have experienced, everyday! Since the beginning of time!! Why do we belt out to the likes of Adele while we’re alone instead of talking to others? We don’t actually feel we have permission to express heartache, with the caveat being artistic expression (if that’s what you call my singing). Society Band-Aids it with cliché’s of “there are plenty of fish in the sea” (side note: if I have to hear that one more time…) that leave us feeling rushed to “get over it” and privately experiencing emotions that have the power to remind us of our humanity. I didn’t realize I had not heard by best friends, sister’s, and mother’s own stories of heart ache until I had experienced my own. It is almost unfortunate that it didn’t happen until recently because I now feel closer to all the women who have shared their hurts and healing with me.
So here’s the spotlight on what we have all been guilty of! I know I can’t always pretend that I’m ok. I shouldn’t have to nor want to. I don’t want you to either. Stop trying to cover up the figurative blemish. It always ends up looking unnatural and like you tried too hard anyway. TALK ABOUT HEARTACHE. I dare (or should I say encourage you) to.
I will warn you, it’s not glamorous. Some days confronting it looks like crying in my car wondering if a stranger can in fact see my tears as Atlanta traffic crawls by. But at the end of the day I continue to feel more human and humble than ever. I compare it to being inducted into a secret society with millions of members waiting to reveal their stories of resilience. I now see the impact of heartache clearly and I wonder how I was so oblivious before. Yet, even with this knowledge that takes the form of enlightenment there is a part of me that feels grateful that I didn’t have to experience this a day sooner because I would have not been ready.
To be clear, the perpesctive I’m referring to looks very different than wallowing or being in denial. It’s choosing to honor yourself enough to not have to hide from the effects of any circumstance or emotion. Ever! Again I dare you, give yourself permission to let your hurt matter. There are greater lessons: More life, more world, and more people waiting to be discovered with this new circumstance.