Nov 14, 2012

The Time Of Innocence

There is an Iconic film from the 1980s called  è La Boum. In Italian, it was translated into Il Tempo Delle Melle, meaning The Time of Apples. Ever since I heard this phrase for the first time, it has come to be a symbol in my mind, of the Time of Innocence, the time of first classroom loves, the time of "he loves me, he loves me not daisy petal trials", the time we took the first bite of love, and it was so very easy to fall in love.
I had my share of first loves. It was really easy to fall in love back then. I wouldn't even think about my love becoming requited or dating the object of my love. It was all about the feeling, standing at the window in the middle of the night looking at the moon, knowing someone was in my thoughts warming my heart. It was a special breeze of poems and old cheesy soundtracks. It was a love with love. It was about catching him smile, about liking the same silly things, about sharing a walk together, or maybe even holding hands. Nervous ticks, crying endlessly in my pillow over silly things, laying in the grass watching the sun sink into the rosy clouds, smelling the seasons pass by and thinking about the next time we’d meet, that's what it was about. It was not a love of possession, not a love of passion, nor a love of commitment.

On some level I think I have been chasing fruitlessly that true love concept of the early bloom for years, never to find it again. I’m not sure whether I look for love in the wrong places, if we live in a time where we fear intimacy, or really there is no time of innocence anymore because I am not that little girl daydreaming on my way to school about endless scenarios of adventures and travels. Does experience really kill the romance? Is it that we always want more and more, our standards rise after disappointment and disappointment, or is it that the chemical reaction of the brain in love seizes to infect us, as if we’d acquired immunity against love? Why is it so difficult to pursue love, why is it so difficult to find love, why is it so impossible to really and truly fall in love anymore?

One of my girlfriends says she has a new crush every week. She tells me that it’s just for fun, but I don’t really see her pursue any of those crushes. I think at some level she likes the feeling of being in love, but she knows to herself how any of those crushes would actually end up. She has seen her fair of disappointment, of things not turning out to be as rosy as they look. All women want in the end is the Prince to come and rescue them. When we see that our friend found the frog that turned into a prince, while we see every prince turn out into a frog, the disappointment, the trust, the ability to fall in love, believe in love once again just falls apart. My friend, she says every time she just wants to have fun, she’s not looking for a serious relationship or anything, and then the next day she reveals she wants it all, she wants the dream, the fairytale, the prince to come and rescue her, to be with her forever and love her and her and no one else. Don’t we all want the same? It’s not our fault. It’s Disney’s fault really, it’s our mothers’ fault, RomCom’s fault, childhood fairytales' fault. If we knew how the actual tale of the Mermaide ended up, would we really go after the prince so enthusiastically? She was willing to sacrifice everything for the Prince who abandoned her and in the end she was turned to foam. What about Cinderella? What did she and the Prince really have in common? Most probably they would be fighting on sociopolical issues, she being poor her whole life, with socialist tendencies, and the spoiled Prince an extreme capitalist. We never know what happens after the Happy Ever After, do we?

Let me tell you what happens. Sometimes passion burns out and you don’t even recognize the love that was anymore, and you try so hard to keep the relationship going. Sometimes he cheats on you. Sometimes you become a changing-diapers mother, while he enjoys the fun with his friends; you become a wife. Even those who found the frog turn into a Prince, saw the Prince become a frog back again. Princes don’t stay princes forever.

And yet knowing that, we still pursue love? Why do we? It’s all a lie and yet it’s what we all want. We want the knight in the shining armor to come and protect us, be our partner, love us, care for us, never want to go away.

But really to girls like me, the fear of what happens after, when the relationship becomes maybe too consumed it’s not even in the picture. I have experienced a few loves and a few awful encounters in life with men, but I don’t think I was ever loved by any of them, truly. To me dating it’s impossible. I don’t believe anymore in the fairytale. The fear that the next guy who will smile at me will convince me with his charm that he is enchanted by me, and leave me as soon as I have fallen for him, it’s too strong to let my heart, or that part of the brain loose. I have once again raised immunity for the fear of becoming again a stupid wreck who forgets her pride and begs for attention from the one my brain is telling me I cannot live with. I feel that without love, I have barely any motivation and inspiration to enjoy the little things in life, and pursue the big goals, but I feel that I cannot handle the disappointment once again.

I know why it’s not easy to fall in love like it used to. We took our fair share of an apple bite, and the apple had a worm in it that bit us back. We took our fair share of an apple bite, and it was poisoned by the evil witch of reality. We took our fair share of an apple bite and we were the ones punished for the sin and thrown out of Eden.

Yes we do want the fairytale back, but our hearty brain has become a brainy brain as well out of the toughness of experience. Some of us have a new crush we don't pursue every new week. Some of us fall in love with tv characters and we pray they get together as if our lives depended on it. Some of us fight to renew the burned out romance for the umpteenth time. Some of us go for an Eat Pray Love spiritual journey thinking how we may find that "true love" unexpectedly. We all pursue the lie that our brained up hearts know too well isn't there anymore. The time of innocence has really gone. The modern woman who applies her make up, puts on her heals and goes out in clubs, work, dating sites, to find her soulmate, really knows that she can't really fall in love as easily as in The Time of Apples. She knows the next guy she'll meet will see her as a passing fling while he's looking to marry a 20 year old Victoria Secret model, until he substitutes her for the next young flawless thing. She knows she is pursuing Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, but she will find Hugh Grant in real life, but she still powers up to find love with all the serious damage of Hollywoodian chick flicks have done to her. Even the emotionally disattached woman who just wants a friend with benefits will find love in the end, (Hollywood told us that), and the forever bridesmaid never bride, will find her Prince too. The modern woman unlike the modern man has been hurt and disappointed so many times, but she still, even when so deeply punished by God for eating the forbidden fruit, she still pursues happiness in the real world. 

However difficult it is to fall in love when the man of reality is not the man of the fairytales, not even close, the woman of the The Time of Decadence, pursues again the Time of Apples, The Time of Innocence, relentlessy, endlessly!

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