Nothing so mysterious, no human relation.
~ Susan Sontag
The First Time
There is nothing quite as unselfing as falling in love for the first time.
When we were young, we might have read about it, heard stories from our friends and family, and even observed it happening around us. Yet nothing quite prepares us for it when we experience it for ourselves in all its glory.
First love is a force of nature. It takes us like a turbulent river, shakes our very foundations like an earthquake, and like a thunderstorm, deafens and drenches us with emotions we are sometimes ill-equipped to handle. It does not matter what age we are when we recognize it, it destroys us and remakes us all the same. It takes us out of ourselves and into the realm of another person.
Yet, when all is said and done — first love transforms us and becomes an indelible milestone in our inner landscape. Our experience becomes the standard to which subsequent loves are compared to and measured against. It becomes a template for future relationships — discovering what you like so you can find it again, and what you don’t like so you can recognize it in another.
First love never dies, this much is true. We are biologically wired to remember, particularly when first love occurs during adolescence. During these commonly turbulent years, our processing powers are at their peak and memory is much stronger. Adolescent memories leave imprints on our brains. These work with hormonal influences and neurological development to mold our personal identity.
More importantly though, first love teaches us life lessons about ourselves. Whether we continue our journey with our first love or lose them, how we perceive ourselves and the world around us has acquired more depth and texture. We love, we learn, and love again. Our first love lets us feel how wonderful and bittersweet it is to be human.
Celebrating First Love
Even though we might not be fortunate enough to have our first love in our lives right now, we can still take a more dedicated time to reminisce and realize the impact they’ve had on our lives, and how far we’ve come ourselves.
National First Love Day was perhaps born from such an endeavor. Although it’s not known who first proposed it — ever since September 18, 2015 — we’ve officially commemorated this formative event in our lives every year.
For fountain pen enthusiasts, this is the perfect time to take out your favorite pens and inks, let your creativity flow, and take a nostalgic walk down memory lane. Here a few suggestions —
Write a letter to your first love.
This can be just for you, as a way to recapture the memories of that time. Or if you are still in touch with them, send it as a way to reconnect and catch up with your lives.
Write a poem to your first love.
The freedom that poetry allows makes it a good medium for expressing emotion and encouraging contemplation. This is why it endures as one of the most romantic ways of showing love.
Write down your memories about your first love.
Keeping a journal for creative introspection has been shown to be helpful for self-empowerment. Putting down those memories, whether nostalgic or melancholic, helps us process our thoughts and puts our lives into perspective — from that first love, to the love we have now, or the love we desire to meet.
Sketch in your journal.
If words are not your thing, you can transform those memories into drawings instead. For example, you can portray your emotions through patterns and ink color. This process provides freedom as well, to transform concrete thought to a more abstract form of expression. You can also take another route, by sketching the flowers you had received from your first love, or that dish you ate on your first date, etcetera.
These are all about reminiscing and reflecting about our past first love. Let us not forget to celebrate the love we have in our lives right now, and take the opportunity to be present for them during this special day.
Fountain Pen First Love
From humans to the tools that define us, what was your first love when it comes to fountain pens?
What made your heart skip a beat when you first heard about it or beheld it? What was that first pen that made you say, “I have to have it!”. What gave you butterflies when you first tried writing “Hello.” or your name? ;)
For me — it was my first grail — the Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Falcon. Its potential for both writing and sketching appealed to me. At first, it took me some time getting used to, but I enjoyed the process of learning how. Since then, I’ve acquired other fountain pens. That pen though will always have its place as the first pen I deeply desired. I still have it among my inked pens to this day. At least, when it comes to fountain pens, this one stayed.
First love. It is an experience that fundamentally transforms us, becoming part of who we are. Whether it left us rapturous or devastated, the memories of it linger to help us recalibrate our lives, our loves.
And for those who still have their first love with them, take their hand or embrace them, show them how more glorious your life is, with them being part of it.
I think it’s inevitable, having our hearts broken somehow. Love often obscures reality when we first experience it. But the pain it has made us feel that first time makes us realize how precious and meaningful it is when a true, more steadfast love comes and stays.
~ L, for V
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!