An Open Letter about My First Love

 When you look up the definition of love, you’ll find, “an intense feeling of deep affection”. But the truth is, love means different things to different people. If you ask your mother what love is, she may say, it’s the feeling of carrying a baby for 9 months and finally being able to look into it’s eyes. A child may say, love is having a friend share their crayons. Love is spectacular in that way…

It means a variety of things, evokes different feelings, carries different definitions, but no specific answer is right or wrong.

When I was 18 years old, I loved someone. The funny thing about love is, once you’ve truly loved someone, I mean really loved them…you always will. The nature of the relationship may change, you may move thousands of miles apart, but love remains.

I met him when I was 17 years old, he was a problem student and I was an honor student. Our paths didn’t connect until the summer before senior year as we would both soon serve our school in a major capacity. During that last year of school we grew closer, our mothers became friends (you know how that goes), families bonded, and we had a share of roller coaster events that year that caused many shed tears. However, none compared to the bombshell that I got the summer before entering college. Surprise! He had two bundles of joy on the way.

I was devastated. I lost my appetite for weeks on end, I didn’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. I thought I’d never recover. Funny now looking back, I missed out on a great summer that year. The babies came and I swore off guys altogether. I didn’t want to give anyone the time of day and I was successful. I didn’t talk to one guy at FAMU until my junior year, even though that one didn’t end well either.

Anyhow, time continued on and we kept in contact, argued, made up, argued again, and the cycle continued…until a few months ago. It was like I had an epiphany or a veil had been removed from my eyes. For so long, I had a fantasy in my head of what life would be like with this guy, until I realized how LIT my future could be without him. I thank God for our many moments together, don’t get me wrong, but in that course of time I lost track of Shaakira because I was always thinking about Shaakira AND Mystery Guy.

I saw a quote that said, “someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I had so many sad moments and times that I felt worthless because I was putting so much of myself into this person, that I forgot to sow into my own life. I would be trying to get him to see his potential so much so that my own potential was fading.

I say all of this to say, that although I can say that I loved him, I had to love myself more. I had to realize that it’s not selfish to put myself first and say, “he’s not adding to my life, so it’s time to do some subtracting.” All of those things are perfectly okay, remember that.

With transparency, from Me to You, Love.

Shaakira White

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