First and Last?

I’m sitting here listening to a little bit of Nikka Costa. For those of you unfamiliar with her, she’s simply brilliant.

Anyway I was flipping aimlessly through the channels and I was struck by something Britney Spears said and in its simplicity it was actually profound. (Yes I was inspired by something Britney Spears said.) It was an episode of her god-awful reality show in which she was talking to her desperately- in-need -of- a- shower- hubby and she was telling him how she thought that the first person she loved would be the person she spent her life with. Only… notsomuch. And it struck me as ironic that I had just had the same conversation with some people earlier in that day. I have a very small contingency of female friends but all of us have been in love at some point. (Unfortunately, some of us might add.) And we have all been there through each other’s loves; we’ve been there for the giddy squeals in the beginning, the “aww that’s so sweet!!!”s and the “I’ve never seen you this happy”s. We were all there to witness the subtle changes and breaks, the inevitable fights, the late night phone calls filled with panic and tears ending in gently given wisdom and inside jokes. We were there for each other through each and every time the door closed for the final time, the returning of possessions, the burning of the pictures. We were there for the anger, the sadness, the bitterness, the acceptance and the lapse into all of those all over again until we finally came out on the other side. We know each other’s hearts, the tenderness and the toughness, the facades we build and what really lies behind the windows polished so clean they blind anyone who wishes to peer in.

I say this to say we know each other. We know each other’s pains and weaknesses, we know each other’s love.

So I posed this question to the women in my life: Is your first love your last? Meaning is that the last man that you really and truly love with everything you have before pain ever makes it occur to you to be guarded? Is your first love truly the only man that can be the greatest love of your life?

The opinions ranged of course but none of theirs matter because, well, this is my blog. If they’d like to comment they can start their own. But I believe this: your first love cannot and will not be the last person you love with your whole soul. Everyone knows, no one more so than me, that there is a certain sacredness with which you handle your first love, a certain reverence you give it above all others. It is like winning a gold medal or establishing a record… whoever does it after you, no matter how well they do it, you will always be the first. No one can take that away. And that in and of itself is a powerful thing to say. But the difference is this, I believe that the love you experience anytime after that first real and true love will be, fundamentally, entirely different. Number one because it is with a totally different person and no matter what anyone tries to lie and tell you, what kind of person you’re with will determine how you love. Secondly and most importantly though, that first love is what taught you what love can truly be. It has made love a real and tangible thing, not just some story you read in books with brightly colored paintings or hear about in hushed whispers. It makes it real for you and it centers you in it, ground you in the reality of what , for you, love will and will not be. Simply, this; first love teaches you to expect pain but also how to work through it. First love teaches you how to love ferociously and without fear while still giving you the understanding that it can end. If you’re lucky like I was first love shows you the standards to which you will hold all the people in your life but anyone you love after that shows you that its okay for those standards to change.

So I tell you this because I know you’re reading; You can fall in love again after first love just as wholly, completely and totally as you could ever dare to dream if not more so because you are no longer romanticizing in your head some knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse. You are loving simply a man just as he is, not as you dream him to be. You are loving a reality, not a realization, someone who, when all that prettiness falls away, just loves you. And isn’t that really all you need?

A little bit of Nikka which seemed appropriate…

So I stand before you now
Faulty but not broken
Fragile as the break of day
And sometimes sad like words unspoken
But I‘ll let you in
I’ll let you into the corners of my mind

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