30-Day Writing Challenge · Blog 365

When He Was My First Love

30-Day Writing Challenge

Day 19: Discuss your first love.

(I skipped Day 17 because it was about your zodiac sign, which I don’t believe in, and I skipped Day 18 because the prompt said to list 30 facts about yourself, which I kind of already did this summer. So here we are with Day 19.)

Love is a pretty strong word – although it gets tossed around these days for the lightest of reasons (I freely admit: I am guilty of that). I “love” this movie, I “love” that ice cream, I “love” my siblings – it’s hard to differentiate between levels of emotion when there’s only two basic words in the English language to describe our feelings – love and like.

Yet when it comes to a “first love,” it’s a whole different story. I try to be careful to differentiate between feelings of love and infatuation – and while this silly girl has had many, many infatuations since the age of 8, true love hasn’t really been my path yet. I’m pretty sure I won’t actually have a first love until someone loves me back the way I love them.

I could be cliché and write about how Jesus is my first love – which, in actuality, is true. He will forever and always be my foremost love in a way that a human can’t. But we all know that that’s not what this prompt is about. And all you really want to know is who my first love was.

So even if I haven’t had a “true” first love, I won’t ever forget the first boy who made me realize that caring for someone went deeper than thinking they were cute and giggling when they teased you (which is what all the crushes before were about).

It was my freshman year of high school.

I was the shy, quiet, 13-year old who had been homeschooled her whole life before coming to a private Christian high school in California. I was terrified of doing the wrong thing and making a fool of myself so I tried not to do anything that would attract too much notice.

And there he was – that oh-so-cute Mexican sophomore with a teasing twinkle in his eye that had the ability not just to make me laugh, but also to talk to me – like a boy had never talked to me before. The ability to break through my shy exterior and make me trust him. The ability to have an actual conversation with someone of the opposite sex.

He was everything I thought a cool guy should be, which of course meant that there was absolutely no way he would ever like me back (this is what I told myself). There was also the small problem that his best friend liked me – a fact which the entire school knew about.

I tried so hard to convince myself that I didn’t like him – then I finally admitted it to myself a little bit – and by the end of the year, I could at least admit it to a couple close friends. Poor little freshman Lydia – so naïve and unversed in the ways of boys, yet so very smitten with that particular boy.

So smitten that I didn’t want to wash the shirt he sprayed his cologne on (!). So smitten that he was the reason why I went to all those baseball games (those baseball uniforms looked mighty fine!).

And I was probably right. He most likely didn’t think any more of me than as that sweet, quiet girl who rejected his best friend. But according to my journal pages, he certainly did like to tease me and joke around with me – and he also knew how to listen to me when I was terrified of knowing a boy liked me and not knowing what to do about it.

He showed me what it was like to be my friend. And for that, I will forever be grateful.

I learned from him that it’s okay [and right] to form friendships with guys, even if you never end up dating them. I learned from him that a little banter and teasing never hurt anyone (and he probably taught me how to do it too well!). I learned from him that I didn’t have to be afraid of boys – that there are some of them you can trust, because they care about you as a person and not just as an object of their lust.

I didn’t know all those things then. I just knew that my heart melted whenever his chocolate brown eyes looked into mine. But I realize now that there was more to his heart-melting – it had more to do with his personality and friendship which grew over time.

I’m so grateful he looked past my shy, scared exterior and drew out the girl I’d always been inside – the fun-loving, playful, laughter-filled girl. He might not have been perfect, but he helped me to be more of myself – and that makes him worthy of those first stirrings of puppy love.

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