In her first piece for #itchysilk, Semtex takes us back to that all-important first love and the subsequent ‘break-up’. Creating a painful skewed type of nostalgia, Semtex forces us to experience a gamut of emotions; rejection, confusion and pain.
On the backdrop of a wonderful, in some ways disturbing but evidently apt analogy to a slaughterhouse– we experience ‘our’ slaughter and evisceration as if it were present day.
But in the haze of love’s “firstness,” one tends to ignore the inevitable fallout
Even though it’s true we’re living in a post-heteronormative, post-monogamous world (just try to classify your gender and risk inciting a landslide of volleying comments), it’s still deeply rooted within many of us to believe in such a concept as “first love.” That initial person who we will compare to subsequent loves, manages to dismantle all our defences and gets us comfortable in the thinking that we’ll never have to search again. Then they abandon us at a moment’s notice for something or someone better. I’m not talking about puerile adolescent love (which really doesn’t ever match the intensity portrayed on such shows as My So-Called Life and Thirteen Reasons Why), but the pure and deep emotion that tends only to be felt past the age of twenty-five–when, let’s be honest, you’re a fully formed person.
Unfortunately, being labelled with “first” implies that there will have to be a subsequent number. Room to make way for the second, third, fourth, fifth and right on up to the ninth if you’re of the Zsa Zsa Gabor bent. But in the haze of love’s “firstness,” one tends to ignore the inevitable fallout that could come at any moment. The shroud of ill-advised oblivion that one has unwittingly placed around oneself is also intensified when the other person in the dynamic has already been in love at some point in their life, or at least feigned the motions of it. It instantly creates a recipe for inequitable reciprocity. If Lauryn Hill taught us anything about the foundation for a successful and enduring relationship, it’s reciprocity.
Like some bovine animal led happily to the slaughter, the victim of first love has no idea what’s to befall them once their heart gets stunned and immediately put through exsanguination. That’s right, the phase of butchery before the animal is gutted and cut apart, is called stunning. Just like you’ll be stunned when you learn that your first love has chosen to end likely years of togetherness. Years that are likely the best ones of your bankable youth–the twenties. The reason? Nothing more than he’s not “growing” anymore.
While we’re on the track of using the slaughterhouse analogy, first love operates in the abattoir that has not yet implemented animal scientist Temple Grandin’s design and approach. On a side note, Grandin’s autism once prompted her to remark:
“The part of other people that has emotional relationships is not part of me.”
Would that it could be for all of us–though quite frankly, things are very much heading in that direction with the many technologically-oriented distractions (including sex robots!) evermore available. No, first love exists in the pre-The Jungle era slaughterhouse, the one Upton Sinclair had to expose to pave the way for Grandin’s influence. It is all stress and fear, contributing to the nastiness of the “meat” (a.k.a. our hearts) we might be able to contribute to others in the future phases and incarnations of ourselves. Conversely, in a first love let-down in the proverbial shambles manufactured by Grandin,
“each animal is prevented from seeing what lies ahead and just concentrates on the hind quarters of the animal in front of it. This design… encourage(s) animals forward in the chute and to not reverse direction.”
Some animals, however, cannot go forward when they’re the last of a loyal breed willing to engage in that thing that so few people are willing to anymore in the age of Tinder Disposability: work on it. Somehow, in the majority’s mind, having to work on something means that there’s an inherent flaw that can’t be fixed, that it’s time to move on to the next new and unexplored “thing.” Yet the very nature of long-term relationships of any kind involves a two-party willingness to discuss and make room for improvement as needed. That said, the person involved in first love is naive enough to believe that others are of this thinking. Not so. And again, this is particularly applicable when the affiliation is made more lopsided due to one of the individuals having already gone through their first love “break-in,” therefore being markedly blasé about the entire affair.
The problem with loving someone for the first time, thus, augments tenfold if you’re the sort of person who believes that first love should be last love. This increasingly rare mindset only adds to the eviscerating feeling of losing a person who, to you, will always be your first, last, alpha, omega. Alas, there is nothing to be done to avoid first love, it would appear, unless you manage to abscond from the slaughterhouse that is l’amour altogether. If one could tell me how to do that, I might not be lying here on the shelf as packaged, hacked up pieces of meat.
In article image by painter Beatrice Boyle