We tend to celebrate first loves. In memories, in films, in music. Our first love carries with it an almost mythical status, like once upon a time we managed to bottle lightning for what seemed like an eternity in the moment. We lionize heartache, the grieving process. It leads us into stupid arguments with friends over how King of Wishful Thinking is the greatest one-hit-wonder song of all time. Cultural significance for its placement in Pretty Woman aside, I know people who weren’t alive when the movie came out that can sing it word for word. It is infinitely relatable.
I think first loves are a crock.
Rather, I think the celebrating thereof is just nonsense. What we’re celebrating is the naivety. We didn’t know any better. We didn’t know there was something to lose, and even if we did, we were sure it would never be lost.
I don’t think there’s anything particularly romantic about first loves. I think it’s important for everyone to get their heart broken. It is an experience that ages and hardens and weakens and puts chinks in your armor that you are better served for having, that makes you better at life. I’m fine with celebrating the misery that comes with it.
I think falling in love for the second time (or third, or however many laps you’ve done around your heart’s own sun) is far more romantic. When you go in knowing what the stakes are, knowing how bad it could be, and you still do it anyway. You sign up for the potential of loss, of tears, of wearing all your friends out. To be only too aware of all that, and to still be able to look at somebody and figure they’re worth the chance? How do you even articulate that? Perhaps that’s why we don’t often write songs about it, first loves are too easily qualified, the second time around a socially-acceptable form of emotional suicide.
To quote the Boss, how much of that was I thinking about at the time? None of it. How much was I feeling at the time? All of it. In hindsight I figured there was something interesting in writing about the first throes of romantic bliss, and then pairing it with the anxiety, the fear of rejection, that secret surety we all have at times that once someone really knows us they couldn’t still possibly love us. To work through all that, and to grit your teeth and say “Ok” to that anyway. That takes guts – and I think it is wildly romantic.
Anyway, happy Valentine’s Day.
Do do do goes the beat of my heart
No longer falling apart
no more seasons for rain’
No more secrets, no more pain
Why are you so surprised?
Did you never see the look in my eyes?
That’s your smile sinking in
That’s your touch on my skin
Are my feet on the ground?
Are you coming around?
And all that I am now
I am lost, yeah I am found
Do do do says the sign on my door
Do not disturb this heart no more
Do not reach for the stairs
Do not look you won’t find me there
Got my feet on the ground
Oh and I’m running now
Don’t know where but I’m heading out
I am lost, I don’t like it how
All of my life I’ve been taking it down
Just afraid what I’d find And afraid that I’m out
Of my mind and then some, Hell I can’t get enough
So get me the bottle, Got a hit of that bitter stuff
All of my life I’ve been making it up
And I don’t know how I could ever get enough
So I’m taking it down To the here and now
And I’ll let you in If you let me out
Oh with you
Oh with you
Oh with you
First posted here.