Tag Archives: Romance

Letter 46: The Spark

11 Apr

Dear me at 18:

The wind is in your hair. The sun is on your face. You’ve just shared a first kiss with a great new guy you’re seeing. You’re on a boat touring the Toronto Harbour and it’s a beautiful day. A beautiful date. Possibly the best date you’ve ever had.

Except for the fact that you don’t like the guy.

You’re trying really really hard to like him. You want to like him so badly. He’s cute. He’s funny. He’s sweet. He’s stylish. He’s got a cool job. He just graduated from art school. He lives in a super cool duplex in Little Italy. He is your recipe for romance, all rolled into one dude.

But the sad fact is that there is absolutely no chemistry between you.

You’re standing with your chest against the rails on this touring ship, staring into the water, wondering how the heck you could be so bored. Why there aren’t any butterflies in your stomach. Why you felt absolutely nothing when he kissed you.

This is the thing about romance: It’s all about a spark.

A spark. An indescribable something that makes your stomach turn upside down. That makes your breath shallow and your heartbeat race. That makes you need that person, need to be with them, near them, talking to them, talking about them. Thinking about them. All. The. Time.

It’s difficult to explain and totally impossible to predict where or when or how it happens. There’s no recipe for love. There’s no equation. You can have all the variables present and it still might not add up. It has a mind of its own and the one thing you can know for certain is that you are not in charge.

And, let’s be honest here: You hate not being in charge.

When you want something, you want it RIGHT NOW. And right now, you want to fall in love. And you’re getting incredibly frustrated that it’s not happening.

Half the excitement of falling in love is in the surprise of it all. The not knowing. The anticipation. The highs and lows. Without all those scary things, falling in love would just be… kind of boring. Kind of like the date you’re on right now. The date with the dude you thought would be your perfect match. Turns out, despite all your predictions, orchestrations, and equations, love is one thing that will never go according to your plan.

But hear me when I say this: I promise you, you will fall in love.

On the night that you meet your husband, you will return home to bed and be unable to sleep a wink. You, lover of all things slumber, near-narcoleptic, I-can-sleep-through-a-train-wreck you, will stay up all night tossing and turning because there is a pounding so loud in your chest that nothing can silence it. The butterflies in your stomach will beat their wings so violently that you will almost feel sick. It will be so overwhelming that you will wonder if you’ve officially lost your marbles (and you may very well have).

Here is the hard part: You’re just going to have to be patient. People say all the time that “love comes when you least expect it”. The tighter your grip on your dream romance, the further away it will drift. The fact is that in order for your life to go according to plan, you’re going to need to release control and have faith that you will be taken where you need to go.

Right now, this very moment, your future husband is out there. He’s walking around, living his life, waiting to meet you. You are on a crash collision course toward him. Don’t dig in your heels and attempt to rewrite the path that has already been laid out for you. Believe me, it’s a perfect plan, even though it might not look exactly as you want it to right now.

So do yourself a favour and relax a bit. Maybe have another beer to get yourself through this date. Be open and honest with the dude and you might have a chance to forge a friendship with a really great guy. Your soulmate is out there. It’s just not him.

And the next time you feel the need to manufacture some butterflies, resist the temptation. Believe me, they’ll be coming as soon as they’re ready. And there won’t be anything you can do to stop them.


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Letter 38: The Trouble With Fairytales

14 Feb

Dear me at 19:

You’re cozied up with your copy of The Subterraneans, sitting next to a gigantic window off King Street West, watching the streetcars roll through the thick haze of a drizzly Toronto summer. Hipsters are running to and from the TTC stops sopping wet, clutching their umbrellas. You watch them from the other side of the glass, under a blanket, inside an impossibly hip downtown loft space. The kind with top and bottom floors opening into each other, like a huge contemporary bunk bed. Everything is stainless steel and vintage hardwood. There’s a stone statue of the Buddha next to the big cement fireplace.

You’re waiting for your boyfriend to return home from work. From the courthouse where he is a Crown Attorney. A Defender of Justice. When he gets here, he’ll probably take you to the little restaurant across the street for dinner. He’ll order a fancy bottle of wine to impress you and taste the first sip with that slurpy sound that people who understand wine always do.

You’re having your first taste of a life pretty close to the one you’ve always dreamed of. School is out for the summer, and you’ve taken a week off from your retail job to spend some uninterrupted time with him. You packed up your clothes and took off from your parent’s house. You’re free to write when you want. Read when you want. Take a warm bubble bath in the gigantic soaker tub when you want. Drink wine. Listen to jazz. Stroll down Queen Street drinking Starbucks. You are in the middle of a buzzing Metropolis. Art galleries, museums, vintage clothing shops, and bookstores. You are surrounded by people in all angles, in all directions.

You are feeling completely alone. And you are enormously unhappy.

You’ve always been in a real hurry to grow up. At the time when you met him, you had your eye out for someone a little more mature. Someone more responsible. Someone with a real job. Someone with a car. Someone who didn’t live with their parents. Or with roommates. You know, like, an adult.

He swept you off your feet. He was well read. Well dressed. Well spoken. Well educated. Well traveled. He flew to Paris weeks after you met and sent you love poems written on beautiful little French postcards. He bought you jewelry from Tiffany’s and drove you to fancy dinners in his fancy car.

He had you hooked.  And that’s when the shape of things started to change. It was very subtle. Quiet. A million shades of gray.

It all started with your clothes. You were growing up, maturing, becoming an adult. You needed to tone them down a little. Give the ones you had away to charity. Other people needed them more than you.

Then it was your hair and makeup. Too much. Too far from your natural shade. You looked so beautiful without any makeup at all.

Then it became your diet. Meat and dairy were so cruel. White flour and sugar so gauche.

Then it was your music. And then your friends.  Your job. Your school major. Going to school at all.

You’ve woken up this morning to find that your life looks nothing like your own. In many ways it resembles that original fairytale. But you can’t for the life of you find yourself within it. Your world is shrinking at an alarming rate. And all because of someone whom you thought would open up new worlds to you.

Your Defender of Justice is an excellent talker. He went to school for years to learn how to argue his case. He is paid to make people believe that he is right and they are wrong. And he approaches his relationship with you no differently.

The reason you’re so unhappy is because your Prince Charming is actually just a scared little man, trying desperately to manipulate a teenager into believing a reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is mean and controlling. And it will only get worse.

You need to still your mind for a moment and listen to your heart. Put down your book. Go pack your bags.

If you stay, you will find yourself three years into something so convoluted and messy that to attempt to extract yourself will make your head spin. Yes, you will finally muster the courage to leave, but by that time you will have lost so much to a fairytale that never really existed in the first place.

You see honey, that’s the trouble with fairytales. No matter how wonderful they might seem, you will always find that your real life, and your true self within it, are so much better than any part of the illusion. If you leave now, you will be walking out of this fairytale without your Knight in Shining Armour. But you will still have your Self.

And in the story of your life, that person will always be the most important character.


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