I recently came across my old journals from when I was in love. There is one in particular that is filled, cover to cover, solely about him -- that one summer recorded in poetry. It’s a bit strange to look back on now, but each poem still hits as hard as it did when I wrote it. Revisiting this poetry is hard. I am worlds apart from this suffering girl, but as I read, I am suddenly transformed back to my seventeen year old self, crying to Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love" on repeat well past midnight, writing until my knuckles bled.
That’s the thing about poets. You never really lose the ones you love -- they’re just turned into poetry.
"If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die" -Mik Everett
I was seventeen. Love is never as insatiable as it is when you’re seventeen. Every feeling is so enormous. Sometimes too much to bare. You feel the weight of the world at seventeen. You’re so malleable, fragile -- you’d hope every word spoken to you is chosen with the same kind of delicacy.
So love, especially, is tremendous. Greater than anything you have ever felt before. And it truly was love. My first love.
I’ve always felt the world quite deeply but nothing compares to Summer ‘16, heartbroken over a best friend who did not love me back. At least, not enough.
He is the reason I started writing poetry. I had nowhere else to turn. There were reasons I couldn’t turn to my friends about the painful love I felt -- a major one of those reasons being he was in a relationship with a close friend of mine. So, I suffered silently. Accompanied solely by my pen. But looking back now, the whole world, him included, knew I was in so much pain. And I have the poetry to prove it.
Even now, I have no doubt in my mind that this was love. I still write poetry about him. It appears I’ll always write about him. Nothing ever compares to when you’re seventeen and in love for the very first time. It’s the best kind of pain.
I’d give anything to feel a fraction of what I felt that summer, all the pain and misery included. At least it meant I was alive and capable.
"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all" -The Lumineers
I’m a lot more cynical now. And I don’t write as much. I don’t feel half as much as I did when I was seventeen.
But when I think about him, I’m somehow the same helpless, heartbroken young girl who feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. Though she seems like she's lifetimes away, she's always just beneath the surface. And I know then that I could write forever about the way it feels when the lines curve around his lips as a result of something I said.
For he is the reason I write. I'd like to say the reason is love. But right now, just like it has always been, love is him.