We all have moments where we wished we had a do-over, and one of those experiences for me was my first kiss.
I was 14 at the time, and my family and I lived in an enormous house in Dallas, Texas, and we seldom saw each other, because we each lived in what felt like separate wings of the house. It felt weird to feel lonely in my own home, yet it did have its benefits.
One night, there were somehow 7 or 8 friends over, which started as me telling two of my classmates about an idea I had to hang out unsupervised with boys. The news quickly multiplied by the old school grapevine method of landline telephone calls, as it was 1990, when both texting and cell phones were yet to be invented. I believe *69 was about to become a new thing, and this would ruin my old habit of calling and hanging up on boys I had a crush on.
That night at my house everyone was in the playroom upstairs that had my dad's exercise room off to the side. I'm not even sure if my parents were home or not, but even if they were, they seldom came upstairs at night because it wasn't a part of their normal meandering of the house. It was nice to have the upstairs feel designated for my brother, sister and I, and on this evening of adolescenting, I didn't know how to entertain all these people, most of whom I didn't know. I went to an all girls school, and the 5 boys at the party were from our brother school, with whom we had events 1-2 times each month.
One of the girls took the lead in creating an activity, showing us she'd clearly been a part of this sort of gathering before. She gathered us all together and we sat knee to knee in a tight circle for a hybrid game of truth/dare and spin the bottle. The playroom floor was covered in lush carpet, so she grabbed a board game from the shelf, took out the board and placed it on the floor, creating a surface with the perfect surface tension needed to spin a bottle. It was time to ask ourselves if we wanted to tell the truth or to be dared. How bad could this be?
I hadn't participated in much risqué behavior at this point in my almost 15 years of being human, and sitting in that circle felt exciting and exhilarating. I crossed my fingers, hoping that I would be paired with John, one of the boys I'd been watching from afar at football games. I don't even remember the kinds of questions that were being asked for the truth portion, it was not very interesting to me, however what was interesting were the dares. I quickly saw this circle was getting physical and fast, and the rules were getting created on the fly to make the game more interesting for everyone.
The bottle came to Garrett, a boy about as tall as me who I remembered thinking his features resembled that of a rat when I first met him that night. Garrett chose dare, and the leader of the pack told Garrett he had to French kiss the girl who the bottle chose on its next spin. I felt every cell in my body turn to high alert because a French kiss was something I had no experience in yet and had only seen in movies. I was terrified and began willing the bottle to not pick me with all my power.
Well I've now learned the power of the Law of Attraction, such that what you focus on you bring about, so here I was giving all my power to the possibility of NOT getting selected by the bottle, and the Universe doesn't hear what you don't want, it only hears the subject: pick me on the next spin. And the bottle slowed itself clearly pointing right at me for what was about to be the worst first kiss ever. What do I do? Do I say no? Do I say I'm not feeling well? Do I actually admit this is my first time and I don't want it to go down like this? No, I stayed quiet out of a little embarrassment, shame and need to fit in, and away Garrett and I went into the exercise room with the night's leader accompanying us in order to bear witness to our dare coming to life.
The instructions were that the kiss had to be at least 3 seconds to count, and if you've ever done something you don't want to do, you'll know that 3 seconds is like a lifetime. And then came his tongue. It shot in and out of my pursed lips on a mission, to accomplish his version of a French kiss, and it felt like the inside of my mouth was getting repeatedly stabbed with a bullet that felt like it would never stop, and I just kept my eyes closed and felt my heart beating 30 times faster than usual.
And somehow just as quickly as it began, it was over. Shaken up, I took a long deep breath and emerged from the exercise room dazed and confused and wanting everyone to leave; this was nothing I'd deem as fun anymore and I just wanted to be alone in my first kiss misery.
I made the excuse that I needed to go downstairs to get some water and use the bathroom, and I thought about how to end this night quickly without giving anyone material for talking shit or creating a rumor. I knew the fastest way to end any "party" was to announce the arrival of parents, so with a forced look of complete disappointment, I came up the stairs and announced that the evening had to come to an end because my parents wanted to come upstairs and chaperone, and that took the wind out of the sails of the night fast, which was such a relief. The circle came apart and everyone said backward goodbyes and went their separate ways.
That night in bed, I kept going over the kiss again and again in my head, beating myself up for allowing myself to be penetrated by Garrett's tongue. The movies had told me first kisses were supposed to be special and enjoyable, and what I just experienced was anything but special and enjoyable, it was a nightmare.
For the next year I did my best to stay away from scenarios that would end in me being on the receiving end of another French kiss, because I didn't know what all the hype was about, kissing was absolutely disgusting based on the data I'd received. But time went on and more friends were having exceptional French kiss experiences, so that knowledge loosened my perspective, and created a willingness in me to try again, and I felt a curiosity begin to brew in me about how good the experience could be, if done with intention. And as my curiosity and excitement grew, my first kiss memory began to fade to the point that I pretended it didn't exist at all, and I had it all in front of me to try again.
It was a few months into my freshmen year of highschool, and I was 15 when the opportunity presented itself again, and my parents and sister were all out of town, leaving me with access to the cars. I technically wasn't breaking the law by driving because I'd gotten my driver's license early, something in Texas called a "hardship license", meaning I'd created enough reasons to justify to the state of Texas that I needed to driving myself around at 15 and couldn't wait until sweet 16, and I'd just learned to drive a stick shift somewhat well on my sister's black 2 door Jeep Cherokee from driving around the block again and again.
I'd been invited to one of the biggest country concerts to come to Dallas, "Alan Jackson", and I was told by a popular guy from another school that if I drove 4 people there, I could have a free ticket. I wanted to go so badly and be accepted by this "in crowd" that was from another school, but the only car available to drive was my sister's Jeep. I was a little nervous because this event was 25 minutes away, and I'd be escorting a car full of kids who didn't have their license yet, but the excitement of saying yes outweighed the fear of what could go wrong, so I convinced myself this was a good idea and said yes.
A concert felt so exciting because I'd get to be around so many more people than usual, and I'd get to see more guys my age, which was the main reason I said yes. There was no internet at the time and no social media, so who was in front of you was how big your world felt, and I wanted to see and feel more, and an enormous country concert felt like just what I was looking for. So I said a quiet little prayer that my skill level in driving a stick shift would radically improve for the task at hand, and away we went to the concert with a Jeep full of 14 & 15 year olds.
The Starplex concert arena was enormous, but what was even bigger was the field that encircled the covered stadium, where general admission ticket holders sat, and that's where we went. Once we established our spot and placed a blanket down, it was time for me to go exploring and see this big beautiful world. I hardly knew any of the music from this well known country singer, so it was all just background noise to my wandering eyes, and a few times I nearly stumbled to the ground because my eyes were so busy scanning the crowd that I wasn't checking the landscape full of people below eye level. But with each stumble, I'd smile and apologize and continue with more awareness in my meandering.
And that's when I saw him.
He was dancing with a group of his guy friends and he looked a little older than me, old enough to have his license but definitely not old enough to be drinking the beer in his hand, so his mischievous behavior made me smile. And he saw me seeing him, and smiled back, which felt like a lasso bringing me right in against him and I felt my heart begin to beat faster, and I knew something was about to happen, or I was about to make something happen.
I walked over to him and heard myself yell into his ear, "do you have a girlfriend?" to which he shook his head no, and without a second thought I felt myself fling forward and push my lips hard against his, and I felt a rush of relief as his mouth opened to let my tongue in to dance around a little. I was French kissing, right? Was this it???!!!! As quickly as it started, he pushed me away from him, but not in a way that was rejecting, instead it felt oddly nurturing. He kept his hands on my shoulders and directed me towards him again, and spoke into my ear; amid all the noise all I wanted to do was listen to him. "Girl, you can't go in like that so forcefully. You're adorable and I'm happy to kiss you, but you gotta be slow and gentle and invite me into the kiss with you..." and I could feel the warmth in his words and the profound lesson he was teaching me, amid this sea of people. He tilted his head towards me again so that his lips grazed mine, and I could tell this time it was an invitation, that I happily accepted.
I think this kiss lasted 6 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. And when our lips parted I felt a ripple of excitement travel through my whole body and I threw my arms around his neck for a hug and whispered "thank you for that" in his ear. I now had a French kiss story that I loved, and I backed away from him still smiling, and he returned the smile. As I drew further away, he slowly turned his body back towards the music again, slowly putting an end to our beautiful exchange. I never got his name, nor did I need to.
My eyes didn't wander the crowd as I walked back towards my group's blanket; they stayed focused ahead of me, and I had complete awareness of where I was and what was ahead of me. I wasn't looking for anyone or anything anymore, I'd found it. When I reached the blanket with the same familiar faces waiting for me, things were just as they were when I set off just 20 minutes earlier, but somehow my life felt entirely different, I was a new woman. I now knew how to both go in and receive a good French kiss, something that I knew was a skill set that would serve me for the rest of my life.
The drive home was easy, it was as though I'd allowed in a new confidence to everything, and I got myself, the car and everyone home safely, without my parents ever knowing what had happened, which was the goal. Something that was a huge accomplishment at the age of 15.
I went to sleep that night filled with joy that I now had my second first kiss, and it was so perfect that I decided then and there to rewrite my story about French kissing to see it as an exchange full of potential magic, especially when it's done so with intention, and an energy of it being an invitation.
So that second first kiss taught me a lot about life as a whole; it's important to approach events that I want to be special with sacredness and intention, and that even when being bold, I can still be soft and inviting. And thank you to Garrett, for teaching me not to give away something so personal and powerful as my first kiss to a bottle spin, and thank you to the nameless guy in general admission, who showed me I can take back the power of that moment and give it to anyone I choose, allowing it to be lovely and memorable. He gave me permission to rewrite my story and have a do-over that lit me up inside rather than weighted me down. Because we all get to decide what stories we want to keep and what stories we want to let go of with love.
May your next kiss light up your life and be something to remember for as long as you like.