What Bumping Into My First Love 15 Years Later Made Me Realize About My Traumatic Childhood

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angeliquehusband
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After over 15 years of not seeing each other and being in contact, I bumped into my first love, Anthony, at a local Filipino restaurant in Queens. It was such a shock because last I heard, Anthony wasn’t even in New York.

It was great seeing him and catching up in the short time we had together, but seeing him brought up so many memories of a past that I had been trying to forget. 

We grew up together in the Bronx in a small Filipino and Italian community. We went to Catholic school together from pre-K to Kindergarten. Our parents knew each other very well because they were all Filipino nurses who worked in the same hospital together. So naturally, we knew each other well, too.

Back then, there was no way you could tell me we wouldn’t end up together. It was the first time I had ever had feelings for a boy before. Anthony was truly my first love.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why It's So Hard To Move On From Your First Love

He was the cute popular boy that all the girls loved. When we first started pre-K, we both got great grades and were often celebrated by our parents because of how smart we were. However, as we reached the second grade, there would be a group of girls that didn’t like me and would constantly bully me.

I was the lonesome half-Filipino half-Puerto Rican girl who could never fit in. This resulted in a drastic decline in my grades and I would eventually be known as the “dumb girl who didn’t get good grades”. Because I was bullied so much, Anthony would try his best to stay away from me and not talk to me.

The bullying got so bad, I almost flunked out of Catholic school. 

Eventually, years of bullying and depression forced me to transfer out of the school. Once I left the school, we never spoke again after that. 

For many years after, I'd suffer from low-self esteem and always remember the heartbreak I faced.

But transferring out of Catholic school ended up being one of the best things that had ever happened to me. 

RELATED: 5 Reasons Letting Go Of A Past Love Is The First Step Of Being Happy Again

I went to a public middle school in a different part of the Bronx afterward where I'd eventually meet the love of my life and husband.

My grades went up and I joined the honors society in my middle school. In high school, I’d go on to become the Salutatorian of my high school. Years later, I would overcome the bullying, go to NYU, and be surrounded by the best friends and family a girl could ask for.

What bumping into my first love made me realize was that popularity means nothing in the long run. What matters are the choices you make in life and what you do with the opportunities given to you. 

Another thing I learned is that bullying is also just a reflection of someone's need for power. You can either let the bullies win or you can live your best life. What the bullies said about me doesn’t even matter anymore.

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Lastly, life works in wonderful ways. Although Anthony broke my tiny childhood heart, I ended up with someone who changed my life for the better and challenges me every day to be my best self. Bumping into Anthony made me appreciate the love that I have today.

My husband became a doctor at 26 and is the only Black man of his residency class.

Even though he’s faced many challenges, he always taught me that I could either let it define me or I could be the one to define the situation. He’s also accepting of who I am, complex identities and all. There’s nothing more I could ask for in a guy.

Now, I'm happily married and getting ready to go to law school and I can’t wait to see what else life has in store for me.

RELATED: 7 Ways Your First Love Is Still Affecting You Now

Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics. Follow her @AngeliqueBeluso.