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How my first kiss, first time, and first heartbreak happened within half a year.
The First Kiss
For those who do not know me, I tend to be a shy, and introverted person. Tertiary school was "eh," and before I knew it, I started my university education at an all-women's university (no I'm not joking). So in case it wasn't already hinted enough, I avoided most interactions with any form of the male species for a big chunk of my life. The irony is that I was probably the most ridiculous boy-crazy teenager at the time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I just turned 20 when I studied abroad in Belgium of Autumn 2016. Given the amazing geographic location of the country, I was blessed with the (financial) opportunities to travel a little bit around Europe. My first stop was Denmark in October. I didn't want to be the ultimate tourist in Copenhagen so I tried to shake things up and travel to Billund and then to the small town of Vejle. Knowing that Denmark was expensive, I decided to sign up for couchsurfing, a platform where travelers can contact hosts to sleep on their couch for free. It's a great way to meet locals and have a cultural exchange for no cost.
Since Vejle was a small town, there weren't many couchsurfing hosts. I tried contacting the few female hosts that there were, but they were too busy to host me. Out of desperation, I ended up making arrangements with a 21 year-old male host who had an apartment near the bus station. He was nice and friendly, so I didn't think much of it.
He ended up developing feelings for me. I was in Denmark for only 4 days, and on the night of the second day he got close and told me he wanted to kiss me. I rejected his advances, mostly because I was so nervous and in shock at what was unfolding before me. Think about it: me, a girl who has been out of boys' radars for years, suddenly has a guy telling her he likes her? What??
Anyway, we never kissed.
When I flew back to Belgium, I got hit with a weird feeling in my tummy. I kept thinking about all the things that happened in Denmark. The more I thought about it, and the more I thought about him, the more I realised...I liked this guy.
I went back to Denmark to spend New Years with him. At one point shortly after my arrival we were lying down in his apartment, staring at the ceiling and just talking. And then..
"Hey, can I do something?"
"Sure. What is it?"
..he turns, grabs my face, leans down and presses his lips against mine.
The First Time
Sex was never discussed in my house. Heck, it's kind of a taboo, or at least, a touchy subject in the U.S.A. This certain topic and my opinions on the absurdity of the whole puritanical schtick we have going on here can be saved for another writing piece. But anyway, all I knew growing up was that being naked=sex. Sex=gross. Being naked=gross.
You get the idea.
However, the Danish boy was very open to talking about the topic. It was surprising to see how comfortable he was talking about it. It was also quite relieving to be able to ask questions ("What's does it mean by vanilla?"), no matter how dumb they were. Because honestly, I didn't know the answers. I got curious. He made the topic safe to talk about. I wanted to know what sex was like, but was too scared to ask back at home. In Europe, I felt more, I guess you can say...liberated.
After having my first kiss on that cold December night, I was on cloud nine. I was with the boy for a week, and during that entire time we'd hold hands, we'd kiss, we'd cuddle and we'd sleep in the same bed (sorry mom and dad).
And then one night, things got more intense.
We were kissing on his bed with him on top. I felt his hand slowly trace down my body until his fingers delicately grazed the most intimate spot on my lower half. We had to stop. I went to take a shower, and then he took one too.
After lots of thought and countless minutes standing under the shower head I decided I wanted to lose my virginity to the Dane. I was never forced into it, but I knew it was time for me. You should have seen how surprised he looked when I told him that I wanted to have sex. After the initial shock, he, of course, happily went along with it.
Now before we get to a debate whether virginity is a social construct, blah, I'm just saying what happened to me. And what happened to me, was that things...were quite positive. Of course it hurt, and at a point he stopped because he said he didn't want to hurt me anymore. But overall, it was a good experience. Im glad I waited when I did. But most of all, I'm glad I didn't start blaming myself for what I did.
You see, no one should feel guilty or ashamed for having safe, consensual sex. Whether it's your first time or thousandth time. And this is coming from someone who for the longest time was devout to the idea that sexy time was the worst and dirtiest thing ever. It's funny remembering how I used to think like that. But that's what growing up is about!
The First Heartbreak
The boy and I talked every day after I flew back home to New York. We used Skype, Snapchat and Facebook to communicate. In late April he flew to the United States to visit me for a couple of weeks.
But despite it all, hearts were broken. I won't go into detail as to how, because that's complicated, and just between us. In the end, I fell in love with him, but he didn't fall in love with me.
We didn't talk for a couple of weeks when he returned to Denmark. When we did talk again, we got into a fight. It was a cruel, cruel night.
I didn't sleep that night. I also had a major panic attack. It was 5am, and all my friends and family were asleep. I remember walking in circles on my bedroom floor, sobbing. "What do I do, what do I do?" I repeated to myself in a voice that left me shaken. I didn't know who this voice belonged to, and it scared me. Never before have I ever heard my voice tremble so weakly like that. I had no one to turn to, and I have never felt so alone and so lonely in my entire life. It was one of the worst feelings in the world.
I was angry and depressed for a while after that. I snapped easily at people or ate my feelings in Chipotle.
The thing is, I recognized and admitted later on that he wouldn't have ever been a good partner (for me). Maybe it went unnoticed but do you realize I never once called him a man in this writing piece? I only referred to him as a boy. Because that's all this guy was and is right now: a boy. Not that he is incapable of being responsible about things a 21 year old should be responsible for, but he is still as people would say... immature. At least when it comes to certain things in relationships. Right now he is the type of person that sees something shiny and has to go over and try it out because he doesn't want to miss out. That shiny thing in this case was my soul and my body. Unfortunately, he did gamble with it, and in a way, I let him.
Now, I want to indicate that writing this is not to purposefully regurgitate all my emotions on the internet and blame the guy for being a meanie to me or something. I know he is a good kid. He really is, despite what you may think based on what I have written. No, I don't excuse a lot of the things he has done or said to me, but I'd hate to illustrate him as the spawn of Satan when that is far from truth.
What I do want to do is tell people that its ok to feel hurt. It's ok to feel sad. You are not the only one who may have felt their entire being being gutted out by someone you trusted. However, it's not ok to feel it for so long. It's dangerous for your feelings to turn in hate and spite. It's time to stop focus on being so hurt, to stop wanting to feel the pain and pity yourself. That's masochistic, but even more so, that's self-abuse.
Dear reader, feeling so alone and lonely is a way to indicate how you are in desperate need of yourself. Self care is so important, and many people forget about that. Take care of yourself. Travel. Learn a language. Go for a run. Write a blog. Learn an instrument..
..but most importantly, ask for help. Because did you know that if you don't reach out to your friends and family and instead isolate yourself and hide your feelings..that nothing will ever change?
That change--is what can help you heal.
It seems so scary to ask for help, but that one second of bravery is all you need. Just one second...isn't that amazing? Come on, now. I want to see you be brave.
I'm obviously a bit late at my age when it comes to romance, and it's bizarre how I've been hit with so much within so little time, plus having been in a long distance relationship on top of all of it. But hey, I'm getting through it. (And no, I don't regret that that Scandinavian guy was my first kiss and first sexual partner. I'm glad it was with him.)
So listen guys, heartbreaks suck! But even though you feel it will shatter you right now, it will not end you.
Have courage, and remind yourself that in time...You. Will. Love. Again. ❁
© 2017 Isa Ostrovsky