You’re nine years old. You’ve just told your mother in tears about your first crush; it’s all alien to you. All you can feel is confusion and disappointment – ‘catching feelings’ is beginning to become a problem.
You’re ten years old, and your crush from year five decides to ‘go out’ with a popular girl behind the bushes at school. Your little heart almost explodes with indignation, because that should’ve been you, not your best friend. And there is, of course, that boy who seems to like you, but only for your brains (in full swing in the year 2013). Man, boys are annoying.
You’re eleven years old. Just introduced to the exciting world of secondary school and boys and bras and potential, you’re looking for validation. You are realizing that belonging means holding the hand of a boy; it doesn’t matter who it is nor where; it is a matter of doing. simply doing. Your new best friend pairs off with your new crush, and about three other boys decline your unvoiced invitation.
It is at this point that you wonder, “what is wrong with me?” But it’s okay. Because you’re too young anyway.
You’re thirteen years old, and you’ve just sent your first Valentine’s card to the one you childishly adore. “It’s different,” you tell yourself as multiple songs are written about him in the confines of your bedroom. “I love him,” you cry into your pillow at night. But as usual, it is to pass.
You’re fifteen years old. You are giving out the lock and key to your heart; left, right and center. People come and go, but the staple in your life is loneliness for a love never experienced. Another crush, another best friend.
You’re sixteen years old. You no longer want any specific person, but just a feeling to fill the void. Scrolling through Instagram, you see that every other photo has traces of happy relationships. But most of all, you are afraid of getting hurt. You’ve read all the books, and in your heart resides a terrible fear that everything will crash down before it is even built. Every poem you ever write is about how alone you are and your inferiority complex; sitting down on your bed with no other soundtrack to your sadness than the song ‘Can’t We Be Friends?’. Another inadequacy, another cut. You’re never good enough. You’re only ever called beautiful by your well-meaning friends and your mother. She remembers how you once cried to her when you were nine, and you cannot believe how immense a let-down you are to her. You don’t know how to give love, nor receive it.
It is at this point that you wonder, “what is wrong with me?” And it’s not okay. Because you’re old enough now (so says the tradition), and the reality is that you’re too broken for love.