Cynicism and Butterflies


If someone were to ask me now the one thing I miss most about being in love…I wouldn’t need a lot of time to ponder over my answer. I know what my first thought would be. Butterflies.

Perhaps a childish but honest answer, this is what I miss the most from the whole process of loving and being loved. Not the hand-holding, not the kisses under the moonlight, not the candlelit dinners. First and foremost, I miss the butterflies.

One of my favorite books ever is Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s „The Little Prince”. Every time I read it as a whole or merely re-read parts of it, I always seem to find new meanings and new ways of interpreting the words of the „Little Prince”. It’s like this book has a life of its own, a life that has unfolded along with mine, from the first time I got acquainted to the Little Prince when I was six and up to my 24-year old self, becoming increasingly meaningful.

One of the quotes I love the most belongs to the Fox, whom, speaking about its meeting with the Prince, says: „It would have been better to come back at the same time of the day. If you come at four in the afternoon, when three o’clock strikes I shall begin to feel happy. The closer our time approaches, the happier I shall feel. By four o’clock I shall already be getting agitated and worried; I shall be discovering that happiness has its price! But if you show up at any odd time, I’ll never know when to start dressing my heart for you. We all need rituals”.

I miss that. I miss „dressing my heart for someone” and I miss that innocent feeling of butterflies in the stomach that only love can allow you to indulge in. The restlessness of waiting to meet „him”, the thought that there is another person, somewhere at the end of a phone line, a plane ride or merely at the opposite side of town who is having the same feelings towards you that you have towards him…that is something unique and fantastic. I miss that.

I have to acknowledge that my butterflies were not always legitimate nor true. In fact, in most cases they were the symptoms of a heart who needed rituals and wanted to dress itself up for that person, without having him reciprocate. And in most cases, butterflies became the messengers of ulterior heartaches and pain. Nevertheless, if there is one thing I could never regret having lived from my past romances and sorrows, it’s that infinitesimally small amount of time when I felt the butterflies. And somehow, I feel I was lucky to have that, although the outcome was never the happy one.

Maybe I had my share of butterflies. Who knows how much is „too much” or „not enough”? Maybe we are all allotted shares of this dizzy-dancing feeling of love and it’s all confined to our age of innocence. That time in our lives when everything is possible, when our life is full to the brim with love, when we haven’t experienced any sadness and we haven’t ever felt the bitter taste of a tear. Maybe it’s the same emotion that actors feel as a form of stage-fright, before getting into their routine and performing their acts in front of the audience without feeling anything special. Nobody has a lifetime of butterflies.

Goodbye, said the fox. Now here is my secret, very simply: you can only see things clearly with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye… (…) It is the time you have wasted on your rose that makes your rose so important. People have forgotten this truth. But you must not forget. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose”.

It’s the love we invested in someone that makes that person so utterly important for us, so unforgettable. And it is that love that gives birth to that restlessness of seeing that person and being around him or her. We are just „tamed”. I wonder if I can tame anything or be tamed anymore. Now that I know better, now that I’m much more realistic, down to earth and ironic than I’ve ever been in my life, could I still allow myself to feel butterflies? Could I even aspire to that anymore? I don’t know.

I’ve had my age of innocence and I’ve had my share of butterflies. I’ve looked with my heart but I wasn’t wise enough to see things clearly. I needed time. Now…I would love to be able to dress my heart for someone again, maybe just for a split of a second…but I’m not sure if I can. Maybe love evolves from an age to another, it grows up alongside us, and just like us it becomes more realistic, more down-to-earth, less innocent, less prone to feeling butterflies.

The one question I still have pending in my mind and probably the one unresolved dilemma of my past is the impossibility to reconcile my feelings of love and of inner-butterflies with the cynicism of those for whom I was once dressing my heart for. I cannot help but wonder: has anyone ever felt butterflies and truly dressed his heart for me? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s not a question for me to answer.

I feel truly lucky and blessed with the life I’m living and I wouldn’t change anything. Most of the times, I feel comfortable just as I am. But there are nonetheless brief instances when I’m alone with myself and I experience a feeling of painful absence. Of missing something I never really had, but that I always longed for. Of missing the love that those butterflies were acting as messengers to. Maybe it got lost somewhere along the way. I am however confident and true to myself and I know how strong I can be. Now I know.

Maybe no one has ever dressed his heart for me, but there’s always time. And, with the risk of repeating myself, I will quote once again from my 21st century heroine – a writer like me. „Carrie Bradshaw”. „After he left, I cried for a week and then I realized that I do have faith. Faith in myself, faith that I would one day meet someone who would know that I was „the one” „. Just like her, I have faith that I would one day meet someone who would go through all the sweet trouble of dressing his heart for me…

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