by Damian E. Parnell
First loves and coming outs, are something from my experience, that end in a tragedy like Romeo & Juliet, apart from the love is not two ways. He was one of the sweetest guys I knew, and a close friend, stocky but trim – about 5’9’’, blonde haired, round head, a basketball player and a scientist, he could make jokes that were funny, he had a voice that just made you listen to him, and he had the most mesmerizing smile I’d ever seen. It’s safe I’d fallen in love with him. But I was in the closet, and wasn’t ready to come out. Where I come from it is not easy being gay and it is certainly frowned upon. But, with the advice of a friend, who I had told, I did decide to voice my feelings to this guy. What a mistake, I was not looking for a relationship with this guy, I knew he was straight, I just wanted his acceptance and understanding of my feelings. But it turned out that he was very homophobic and our once strong friendship was now destroyed forever. With this mini coming out to him, it ended up that he blabbed to all our friends, so my coming out didn’t happen at the pace I wanted it to, but it turned out good for me, as my friends all supported me and we were ashamed by his reaction and homophobic attitude towards me. My first love story isn’t a very happy one, but now I have completely moved on and writing about what happened doesn’t affect me anymore, I still occasionally see him around but I just look the other way – he wants to believe I don’t exist so, I will be the same.
by Sarah Willcocks
I am one of the lucky ones to marry my first real love. I despise boiling this life-affirming experience down to schmaltzy greeting card mantras, but here are five lessons I’ve learned over the past dozen years:
- Love really does not hurt, no matter how much you think the drama is worth it.
- To love someone is a conscious choice.
- Marry your best friend (especially if the sex is good, otherwise enjoy working on improving that part).
- Never lose yourself; you are two distinct people, not two halves of one whole.
- I once heard an octogenarian couple say that the key to their longevity was “never falling out of love with one another at the same time.” To me, this is truth.
by JJ Smyth
Under a blanket by the sea.
He, unexpectedly, steals a first kiss.
Eight blissful weeks of American summertime.
But grey clouds soon roll in.
Calm seas mutiny, summer is done.
An expiring visa – not exactly romantic.
We panic. We plan. We promise.
Two years on, and still together!
In a strange land, first love.
by Rachel Hewitt
The first time I fell in love was when I was 15 years old. I saw this lad who made my heart jump every time I saw him. The only problem was that I was in a relationship with his best friend at the time. Unbeknown to me, ‘Jamie’ (my first love) felt the same. It took 6 months for us to finally tell each other the truth and so I finished with my boyfriend at the time to be with the one that I thought was perfect. Jamie and I had a very special bond. ‘We are the only two punks in Brixham!’ was what we used to say, we were invincible and we were strong together. We loved each other so much, I had never felt the way I did. Unfortunately after 3 years of being together, things began to fissel out and he cheated on me. I could no longer take it after taking him back every time, so we decided to call it a day. I can not explain to you how awful I felt, my heart literally felt as though it was ripping into a millions pieces. I went on a downward slope and actually found that focussing on my photography career helped me to overcome the pain. I will never stop loving Jamie nor will I throw away our memories i.e - photos, train tickets, concert tickets. I believe that keeping memories is very important. The photographs below are - the first photo I ever took of Jamie and one of us in our group of friends.