It will happen suddenly. You’ll hear about it in movies and songs and it’ll happen to your best friend’s cousin. You won’t think much of it, you’ve never even been attracted to a real boy other than maybe Adam Levine or Justin Timberlake.
Then you’ll meet him. He will sweet talk you all the way out of your house, away from the comfort of your still-little-girl room and the convenience of your television. His words will turn into magnetic fields that pull you out of your comfort zone to a sketchy park at night where you don’t know anyone. You’ll be scared and seventeen and still not even sure you’re capable of being anyone’s girlfriend, what with your pageboy haircut and shaky hands that can’t even get a good bit of eyeliner on right.
He’ll meet you there, in front of all his friends. You’ll understand what it means to be turned on by someone’s voice. You won’t know what this actually means until he stops talking. He’ll sound like all the best parts of your favorite song. He’ll smell like that cologne you swear your dad had once. He’ll make fun of you in a strange way, a way that will make you want to be better only for him.
Suddenly your mom is telling you to quit spending so much time with this boy she’s never met. You’ll sneak him into the house before school and hope this isn’t the craziest thing you’ll do together. He’ll take you to the ditch behind your house and teach you how to spray paint, his fingers will wrap around yours and he’ll let you spell your name out. He’ll say you’re almost better than him. He’ll lay his head by your knees when you stay out too late and listen to nothing but the cars pass. One night under your porch light, you’ll realize you love him. He will smell like the rain and have arms as wide as the Pacific Ocean. You will want to marry him. You will feel naked when you’re with him, he will take every single part of you and you will say you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Things will go south because you’re seventeen and stupid and you can’t handle how much you love him. You will go crazy and tell him it’s because he makes you crazy, he makes you better and infinite but small and scared. He will be your Achilles heel, and your mother will listen with her ear to your door as you lay on the floor and sob uncontrollably, each quick hiccup a sad attempt at saying “But I love him,” and everyone will already know, they will already know.
A year will pass and he will stare at you with sad eyes the last day of senior year. That June, you’ll have a dream he’s in your bed. You’ll write him poems and almost send them. You’ll make a total of five mixtapes dedicated to him, but will keep them all.
He will tear you to pieces and you will let him. He will swear he is done with you, but you were only just getting started. You’ll miss him like you’d miss a part of yourself. Every sad song will be about him. Every skateboard coming down your street will sound like his. You will feel like an empty bullet casing.
What you must do is accept the fact, first, that everything is okay. There is no giant flaw in the universe, no planet has been misaligned. No great injustice has been done to you, you will not die of Broken Heart Syndrome (which is a real thing, trust me), and most of all, you are not less than what you were that summer when he loved you.
It will take a year for you to realize that the way things are right now is perfectly okay. You will find that your pulse continues to course your veins even when you fear he has gotten the best of you. After every torn page and screamed argument and cursed new girlfriend of his, you will notice that there is a silence afterwards. After you throw your fits and insist that you cannot love again, won’t love again, there will be time. There will be a bird chirping on the empty plains of your heart. You will be gutted, sure, but you will be new again.
It’s okay to break yourself in half. It’s okay if a boy will do this for you. It’s okay if you are wholly unprepared to handle it. All you must do is trust that the universe has it under control, and there is no grand scheme you must conjure up to fix things. Just take pride in the fact that you loved with the courage you never knew you had at seventeen. Some people never learn how to love fully. Remind yourself that you did it and you’re still alive. Do not give up.