Relationships

An open letter to my heartbroken self

He’s not worth it.

When you’re 17 he’ll seem worth it. But he’s not.

Life seems larger and when he breaks your heart, you’ll think the world is ending. It’s only beginning!

22 seems like years away and it is. Trust your future self when I say the hurt will pass.

It’s been a while since I thought about you. Today you crossed my mind. Maybe it was because I looked at our current man and thought I needed the heartbreak to get to this point. He’s mighty fine by the way. You have a lot to look forward to.

We thought first love meant only love. How silly were we to think first meant forever? Disney led us to believe that’s how it worked. 

I sit here at 22 writing to 17-year-old me amazed at the innocence. You’re not an idiot, just naive.

They say if only you knew then what you know now. But that’s taking the piss. It was meant to happen this way. Mum was right. Everything does happen for a reason. 

You’re broken right now. It hurts. The pain is only temporary.

How it began

You met him at the school disco. Dancing to something Black Eyed Peas. Nothing screams love at first sight more. Three days later you were his girlfriend. That movie date was your first kiss. I can almost feel the nerves just thinking about it.

You were obsessed with Twilight at the time and thought maybe this could be your Bella moment.

I remember googling ‘how to kiss.’ We bought the chapstick, ate the gum and puckered up! He was a little tall for you so you had to balance on your toes. You were shaking like crazy. You might want to hate that moment right now. Trust me when I say that it’ll always be yours. Think of him as the practice run. You’ll meet much less sloppy kissers.

We were unable to put down our first gen phone. You were the talk of that all-girl school. Why? He was the teacher’s son. Yep, you were that badass. It was as if Nicholas Sparks was writing out your love story. We now know Dr Seus might have been behind that shit show.

It’s not meant to be easy

I still think back to the hurtful words. He was only young too. A 17-year-old boy thinks his words will impact the journey you’ll take. They will. Just not in the manner he thinks. He’ll tear down your dreams to tell you there’s no way you can achieve them. That will become the ammunition you need to prove him wrong. We totally did.

It’s right before Christmas and I’m writing to you just after he ended it. It was about him but he made it about you. It isn’t your fault. 

We forgive him. It was the way his life was meant to pan out. He was growing up too. The lesson you’re learning, he’s learning too.

Listen to that Taylor Swift song one more time and listen to her share about her awful breakup. Let it reassure you that this isn’t an experience you face alone.

That’s hard to understand right now because the pain of your first heartbreak is like no other. You’ve never experienced it before. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last. 

“You need to kiss a lot of toads before you find the handsome prince.”

You won’t always feel bitter

You’ll look back with fondness at your hopes of marrying him one day. You’ll delete the Pinterest board you created to build new ones with the next boy you meet. He wasn’t much of an improvement.

He took the most special part of you. Something you shared when you were a little terrified. You won’t regret your decision. At that moment you wanted nothing more. Loving him isn’t something we should be ashamed of. It was a building block in creating this life.

After your next break up picking up the pieces will be a little harder. You’ll take it personally.

For a few nights, you’ll go to sleep hoping the lights outside your window might be his headlights. Each message on your phone will strike a chord. It won’t be him. Breakups aren’t a thing we can master.

Just when you think life is going perfectly it twists in an unexpected direction. Looking back at my first heartbreak I find it a little comical.

We were dramatic. We were just a young girl unsure where to take the emotion. So we lashed out. He called us names and we threw back our best insults. Some I still internally Hi-5 myself over.

You’ll look back and smile

He is still special. He’ll forever be the first. So rather than hate that fact be thankful life gave you something you could learn from. Smile because you were so lucky to even experience love.

When you’re daughter one day goes through this your advice will be of top quality because you’ll have lived through it. You’ll advise her to turn off her phone and turn on something that’ll make her laugh.

Just like I’m telling you to do now.

You deserve so much better than him. Maybe he deserves better than you. People come into your life for a purpose. Once that purpose is fulfilled they leave because they taught you what they were supposed to.

You find it just five years down the track.

Oh and Miley Cyrus isn’t crazy anymore. You might just have to be a closet fan for a few years.


I wrote this to my 17-year-old self. When I was 17 I had my first heartbreak. Like you might guess I was devastated. In my imagination, I’d thought we would one day get married and have thousands of babies. We didn’t. Obviously with expectations like that it ended quite quickly. But I loved him. It was my first step into the world of love and I’d never regret the relationship in a million years. Although it was a time I behaved in a manner I wasn’t proud of, it led me to so much self-growth. It led me to who I am.

What would you tell your heartbroken self after her first heartbreak?

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