Toronto Ontario – I used to believe that love conquered all- mind you I was seven and addicted to Disney movies and the concept that mice talked and all you need was a fairy-godmother to turn pumpkins into carriages. I used to think that someday when I grew up, my white knight would appear and sweep me off my feet and everything would be okay. Of course that romantic notion is probably what caused the inevitable to happen when I finally did find love for the first time. Heartbreak.
If you have never experienced this feeling before, let me just break it down for you: it’s like being a beautiful vase (your heart being the vase) that someone else might see one day in a shop and purchase on their way somewhere and for no reason in particular they decide to kick it over. The vase then shatters and is scattered on the floor in many, tiny, vulnerable pieces. If you are optimistic like I was, then you might even assume that this person will be kind enough to at least gather up all the pieces and glue them back together. Instead, what happens is they then start to intentionally step on all of the pieces, stomping on them until they have crushed each one into molecules of dust. What is then left of the dust will later be swept up into a pile and discarded with the rest of the trash at the end of the night.
I did grow out of that idea of white knights and true loves first kiss, as I got older. I started to believe well into my teens that to love was to destroy; this was brushed off as being just a phase and I heard a lot of “you will grow out of it,” and “things will get better when you are older.” Eventually I just stopped bringing it up but both of those thoughts never stopped swimming around in my brain. So which of these two concepts were true? Could love truly conquer all in the end, if you did happened to find the right person? Or would it always end up destroying the both you, despite that?
It never once occurred to me in all that time that love could be somewhere in the middle and not one or the other. I always assumed it was black and white, until I discovered it wasn’t. You can’t even really call it a grey area either because there really isn’t a proper color or shade to describe the feelings and emotions that are attached to love and there is no right or wrong because we don’t lead with our brains, we are driven by our hearts.
There’s this saying: all’s fair in love and war, to be honest with you I never really understood that- how was any of that fair? How was it even conceivably fair that in love and war it was okay to hurt, maim or kill anyone? Regardless of how it was done. I guess to truly understand it, you either need to fall in love or be dropped in the middle of a warzone. I do understand now. If either was fair, then they wouldn’t be matters of the heart. In both war and love we are ruled by instinct and ruled by our heart- so during times of great distress we will rely on these two things before counting on our brains to pave the way.
Love is a lot like a war when it ends. There are always two angry sides that believe they are the right ones and fighting for the right reasons. It doesn’t matter what the weapon of choice is because the outcome will always be the same. Shots will get fired, knives thrown, limbs torn off, words screamed and by the end the side still standing won’t be feeling very victorious after the smoke finally clears. The worst parts of love can create a battlefield that nobody emerges a winner from. In the end what you are left with is memories, scars and regret.
Love isn’t always a fairy tale and believing that it is, is a very easy way to fall for the wrong person and as much as I may think it and even believe it from time to time, to love isn’t always to destroy either. I didn’t let my disaster of a first love hold me back from finding love with somebody else who is better suited to me but falling for the wrong person did teach me a couple of lessons: know the person you let into your world before you grant them access to your heart; and if you are the main or sole care giver of your animals, always take all of them with you when you do finally split from each other.
A year later and I’m still healing from the last four years. I’m still carrying those memories like ghosts that late at night sometimes still come back to haunt me. Falling in love can happen fast but getting over it and moving on can take a lifetime.
I won’t let my past relationship and my regrets from it define my future. Even if it takes me a bit longer than some, this too will pass.
I think now the best thing to do is just to have hope and I do believe, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Born and raised in Toronto, E. V. Hutcheon studied journalism at St Lawrence College in Cornwall Ontario.
She currently lives in Toronto with her family, three dogs and a rabbit, near the Humber River.