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Looking back, I realise that I lived out my teenage years as though I had not received a vital memo, and that everybody knew something I didn't. That contributed a lot to my shyness and anxiety, my perpetual nagging sense of being out of place. (This sense was naturally reinforced by my peers in the world, on account of the fact that my clothing and hair choices were informed by the motto: 'The more unflattering the better! Let's go for maximum shapelessness').

Adolescents frequently experience themselves as outsiders but I also was one. And it is hard to explain what this felt like to those who were never immigrants, who never had to wait in long queues or answer pointless questions, or justify every aspect of their existence; those who never spent years walking between anger and hope and despair, not daring to put down roots lest they be uprooted; those who were not scrutinised and judged at every turn, who never had to assess their right to be in a place - to all these people I truly was an alien.

While England was not outwardly hostile to me it certainly wasn't welcoming, and my adolescence in it was permeated with a feeling of not belonging. As though I was a ratty houseguest, grudgingly accomodated and put up with. And in my turn, in my struggle to find my bearings, I alternated between wanting to erase myself as much as possible and wanting to fit in.

It were surely the resilient, hopeful parts of me that propelled me to join drama in my school. It was fun to do, and it made me less shy. Theater appealed because it was another realm and I was always comfortable with make believe. There on that stage, in pretending to be others, I was free to explore who I could be without fear of embarassment, of slipping up and revealing some gaping inadequacy in myself. And as it turned out in the whispery pent dark behind the stage I was free to explore the boys.

The mix of excitement, hormones and pitch black was the ideal environment for physical overtures. And it was there, behind the set on the opening night of my school's production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that I had my first kiss (French kiss no less!).

In my life pre-kiss I had been so anxious about this as only a pubescent girl can (why has no one kissed me yet? am I that ugly? what if I'm really undesirable? What if I don't know what to do? What if I'm no good?). But when my kiss came (unexpectedly, shortly before curtain up when I was swept up in the embrace of a teenage boy who had murmured may I kiss you and introduced his lips to mine) it was marvellous. So marvellous in fact that I demanded more kisses right after (and the cast party was basically a two hour snogfest) because I realised that all my fears were unfounded. My body knew exactly what to do, and for the first time in years I didn't feel awkward. Someone in this godforsaken country desired me, and it was exhilirating.

If I shut my eyes, I can still remember everything. The wave of trembly whooshy giddiness swept through my entire body -from the tips of my budding breasts to my toes. I remember the way my skin tingled and the rush of heat across my face and neck. I remember the tumult of butterflies taking wing in my stomach. I can still remember his hands on my waist and his tongue in my mouth and how each sensation seemed more delicious than the last- how I felt I was becoming unfettered from the earth and taking flight like a character in fairytales- an intrepid princess clinging to the tail of a firebird.

(And later when I caught a glimpse of myself - all shiny eyes and beestung lips and glowing skin- for the first time I thought I saw somebody beautiful).

Later still, when the giddiness and the size of my delicious secret made me feel like I was bursting at the seams and I had to tell someone and I told my aunt that "I had kissed a boy on the mouth! And then again! Only I'm not sure that it was the same boy because it was dark and I didn't really know what I was kissing. But I liked it alot!" - she was not impressed. (One might even go so far as to say that she was horrified). But I was unstoppable - flying high, buoyed by my first taste of freedom. I had glimpsed a marvellous world, one where my right to be was not called into question.

And for years (until the advent of Him Who Shall Not Be Named) sex and intimacy retained that sense of joyful exploration. Of leaping off into the arms of the unknown. Unafraid and in freefall.

Do you remember your first kiss? Did it meet expectations?


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful.

My first kiss was a disaster. It was with somebody I didn't find attractive or even interesting and was described by one onlooker as though he was expecting an aeroplane to fly into his mouth.

My first sexual experience was outstanding, however, not with the same boy you will be pleased to hear, and not a great deal later.
Nov. 1st, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry the kiss was no good, but your description of his gaping mouth made me laugh outloud.
Nov. 1st, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, and no, but at least I was wearing a pink rabbit costume.
Nov. 1st, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
Pink bunny suit?
Now I'm desperate to know more.
Nov. 1st, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
I'll post as much as I can remember (and it was, uh, 25 years ago, eek) when I find my NaBloPoMo mojo deserting me. Promise.
Nov. 1st, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written, as always.

It was at summer camp when I was 15. The last night was a dance, and the boy and I danced every slow dance. Then he walked me back to my cabin, and kissed me under the stars. I never had any expectations about any of that, but it was a positive experience just the same.

Nov. 1st, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
I think the not having expectations can make experiences more enjoyable. It certainly makes me better able to just appreciate a moment.
Nov. 1st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
My first kiss was with a boy I had fancied for some time. I invited him to the GCSE results party my friends and I were holding (yes, I was 16 when I had my first kiss, appalling isn't it?!) and we got very, very drunk. We were both lying on the floor, too drunk to stand any longer, and I started kissing him and he kissed me back. It was sloppy, badly choregraphed and any director would have a hard time making it look dramatic, important or even pleasant when they make my bio-pic. I was delighted on the whole, I also instantly got over my crush on him, which was no bad thing.

It is worth mentioning that my friends and I had been 'practising' french kissing for about 2 years. So it wasn't my first kiss per-se, but it was the one that counts in my mind.

I enjoyed your first kiss a great deal more than mine :-) Although mine does make for more of an amusing anecdote.

Looking forward to your month of blogs.
Nov. 1st, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I was delighted on the whole, I also instantly got over my crush on him, which was no bad thing.

Ha yes, there's generally no faster way to resolve a crush than by consumating it. :)
Nov. 2nd, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
My first kiss was so bad that, like my first boyfriend generally and some other "firsts" specifically, I have declared it never happened. :) I was expecting him to put on the movie I'd just rented to show him; he took it from me but turned off the TV, sat back down on the bed next to me, and tried to lick my tonsils. I still remember how he smelled; he'd just had a shower so his soap or shampoo seemed overpowering to me.

My first "real" kiss then, a year or so later, was with the first person I really wanted to kiss. He used to drive me home from things and since we'd started dating about three months earlier I'd started the habit of, when I unbuckled my seatbelt and just started to open the door, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek, and then quickly exiting the vehicle without anybody saying anything. This time he turned his head and our lips met and I went inside and lay down on my bed in the dark and replayed that kiss, that fraction of a second, over and over. I don't remember when I have ever been so happy.
Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:23 am (UTC)
What a post!
That was beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your story with us! I'm so glad you are participating in the SHINE! Challenge. :)
Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
My first kiss was really kind of sweet. My best freind of childhood and I on the playground of our elementary school. We were in 4th grade. We were sitting next to eachother and he picked me some flowers and handed them to me and then he kissed me.

And then I kissed him again. And again. <3
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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