I always think about the song, “The First Cut Is the Deepest” when thinking about heartbreak. Why does the first one seem to be ingrained in our memories so strongly, and why is it that we always seem to remember it fondly, whether in embarrassment or true reminiscence?
Mentoring a close friend through her first heartbreak was not only an interesting experience, but somewhat eye-opening to what I had experienced in high school. First came the text, with the key three words. “We broke up.” It’s amazing how much emotion and feeling that those three words can convey. The rush of thoughts compiling together and the calculations on how much money I could afford to splurge on the “get-over-your-ex-food” that included vast amounts of ice cream and chips all came together in my head.
I texted back, “Let’s go get Mexican after my meetings, it’ll be half off and I bet you haven’t ate!” I watched the three dots move up and down as she typed. “I’m not really hungry, but I’ll go with you,” she messaged back, and that was that. As soon as I put my phone down, a flood of emotions came hurling back at me.
All of a sudden I could feel the heartbreak of when I had first realized I wanted to break up with my then-boyfriend. It had become a toxic relationship (somehow over long distance) and I remember feeling this aching in my heart. When the time finally came, the aftermath was easily worse than the anticipation leading up to the moment.
The loneliness that I experienced could only be described as a sharp pain that left a gaping hole, that slowly dulled into an aching pain as the wound started repairing itself. I’d like to say that the crushing emotions I had experienced then were due to the hormonal urges of a teenager dealing with puberty and life, but listening to my close friend as she talked out her feelings, I realized that her story sounded familiar.
The pain in her heart that made her want to cry all the time. The triumphs she felt when over the next couple days, she only cried six times. It was the small things and small steps that that made her feel like she was gaining control over how her body was reacting and her overall life. It’s easy to logically reason out why something might not be right, but it’s harder to lie to your body.
Over the next few weeks, she would confide in me when she had minor relapses in judgement. “Today I texted him when I shouldn’t have,” or “I said some stuff the other night when I wasn’t in the right mind,” or “He was really handsome today and I just wanted to cry again.” Listening to her instantly brought back those same feelings of regret and sadness when I had done the exact same thing.
Is it inherent that we feel the heartache and heartbreak? What is it about our first love that has us clinging onto the memories of them, even after we’ve moved on to better things?