If anything, I should have titled this article twenty & never been kissed before. But I have a thing called pride - and definitely not the good kind. Instead, I disguised this article as one that aims to find comfort and solace in being a late bloomer in love and relationships.
To begin, a late bloomer is someone who peaks a lot later in life. This can refer to their career, achieving attractiveness, reaching success or finding love. In all honesty, I would have never thought being a late bloomer was a problem. It is a blessing in disguise, being able to know and love yourself before loving someone else. But, the thing that stuck out to me the most was that I would never experience or feel teenage love. I guess reality hit when I turned 20 three weeks ago. I mean, society seems to always glamourise and push for these frivolous, care-free teenage experiences, where you are able to make mistakes and fall in love recklessly because you are young, wide-eyed and full of dreams. But I never ever got to experience that.
So... the last couple months of being nineteen, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take control of (what at the time I had thought was) a problem. And let’s just say a lot of lessons were learnt.
An old fling
The first time I genuinely liked someone (head over heels) was when I was 17. We had met through a work experience placement and instantly hit it off, however I was not ready for a relationship, and decided we were good as friends. As if it was fate, the following year, I found out that he goes to the same university as me and decided to message him. My first mistake. I knew there was an old spark that could potentially go somewhere. We did hang out twice, but never properly or alone until last summer, where he laid everything out in the open about how he felt and it was a lot. It felt heavy, and for the most part very unexpected. I kept thinking I should have never messaged him because I knew that I had liked him before and that he liked me back, but I didn’t know if I liked him now.
This experience left me feeling guilty and torn because I poked the past knowing that I could spark an old flame for fun. But he didn’t want a fling, he wanted a relationship. Now we walk past each other at the library without even acknowledging each other’s presence. So trust me when I say the past is a foreign country.
Yes, Hinge. In an attempt to beat the biological clock and experience teenage love, I downloaded Hinge to see if I could potentially meet someone. Truthfully, I don’t think anyone ever goes on dating apps to actually find love. But for me, it was something new, something challenging and something that would boost my self-esteem. It was a good alternative instead of going out on a Friday night.
I had started speaking to this guy and it was going very well. He was sweet and most importantly not like most guys I had ever spoken to. We did end up meeting, which went well, but after that is when everything seemed to go wrong. I got left on read for three days, with the lousy excuse ‘sorry I had a rough weekend’, that was my sign that he was clearly uninterested and I left it. However, the feeling that surrounds this experience is that I felt vulnerable. I let a guy I met on Hinge come into my room and my personal space. Even though all we did was talk, it was a very big step for me! When I had met him, I realised that I had never been in a situation like this before, was it a date? Or were we just hanging out? Did he expect more from me? Did I expect more from him? I felt inexperienced, young and nervous, whilst he was cool, calm and collected.
In retrospect, those two experiences made me realise a plethora of different things about being a late bloomer, which I do want to share. I realised just how easy it is to want to be loved and be in a relationship, but it is something that you cannot force or control. Time works differently for everyone, and you should merely appreciate your own pace, therefore there is no problem in being a late bloomer.
Written by Shanice Maligisa
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