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May 25 2016
by Natalie Day

An Open Letter to My High School Love

By Natalie Day - May 25 2016
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Sometimes I think of you as the one that got away. Honestly, I’m glad you did. When it comes down to it, I’d never wish you away. I grew from our relationship in ways I couldn’t have otherwise. For that, I want to thank you.

First of all, I want to thank you for showing me how to love the parts of myself I didn’t before. The little things I was ashamed of, like my eyes not being symmetrical and my other body insecurities, you made me love them. The little things I wished I could change, I don’t want to change anymore. You showed me that the unique things I thought were flaws made me beautiful as an individual. I can look in a mirror and feel beautiful.

I want to thank you for showing me what it’s like to love. Maybe it wasn’t some deep, endless love, but I was able to be vulnerable with you. I opened myself up to you and it was one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made. Yes, you may have abused that trust, but it only showed me where to be more cautious in the future. I now know how it feels to open your heart to someone, as difficult as it may be.

I want to thank you for showing me that while most of the time you should put yourself before anyone else, sometimes it’s okay to put someone else first. At the beginning of the relationship, I always put you first. I ignored my happiness in order to make you happy. You showed me that was unhealthy. You helped me learn to love myself and prioritize my happiness before compromising it for others. You also showed me that sometimes it is okay to put other people first. It’s okay to help those who really need it before you help yourself, as long as you keep yourself a priority.

Thank you for teaching me how to have fun. I can’t thank you enough for the late night donut runs, the pool splashing wars and exploring new restaurants together. I put my worries aside and enjoyed the moment. I can be adventurous without worrying what people think of me. You helped me learn to have pure joyful fun.

Most importantly, I want to thank you for hurting me. As cynical as it sounds, this is where I learned the most. I learned the mistakes I've made and know not to make them again. I’ve learned that sometimes you just aren’t compatible anymore as a couple, no matter how much you’d like to be. People do change, but they don’t always change together. I remember crying on my couch shoveling ice cream into my mouth at 2 A.M. after we broke up. As awful as I felt then, I have grown the most because I was able to pick myself up from that. I’ve become stronger. Thank you.

I am more myself having been through our relationship. The good and the bad have helped shaped who I am today and I would not take it back. To my high school love, thank you.

Lead Image Credit: Christopher Sardegna via Unsplash

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Natalie Day - Columbia College Chicago

Natalie Day is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago and is double majoring in acting and writing. She has traveled to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Jamaica for mission trips. Natalie spends her free time binge watching Netflix and working on her life long goal of becoming an old dog lady. Follow Natalie on Twitter and Instagram @nat__day.

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