Yes, Valentine’s Day kinda sucks. But.
Can we all agree: Valentine’s Day sucks? Okay, not completely. Some wonderful love stories will begin or advance today, some wonderful memories celebrated and refreshed. But outside of the outliers, it kinda blows. If you’re in a romantic relationship there’s pressure to “do it right” and if you’re not in one, it’s a malignant cultural implication that there’s something wrong with that. People who would otherwise have a perfectly nice Wednesday evening will somehow be convinced that they’re lacking in some way. Screw that.
But this is not a blog of cynicism. (Quite the opposite, sometimes I come here to feed the voices inside who are not so jaded. I give them 500 words to convince me.) Because even if the non-holiday is a tick on our collective culo, the current it claims to harness is something altogether wonderful.
Making an argument for the beauty of love is perhaps the most useless thing one can do. You either get it or have refused to. (If the latter: I love you.) So instead I’ll wave to the worldwide reality of our human quest for connection.
To the trees in every park, yard, and open space with initials and hearts scraped into the bark.
To the rituals, customs, and apps for finding, arranging, allowing, encouraging, maybe even inhibiting the spread of love. Culture cannot form without recognizing its crucial power.
To the joy of finding it, effervescent or quiescent, and to the intense creativity tortured to life by its denial or destruction. How few songs would we have, if everyone was loveless or happy? A wistful hug to the indefatigable seeds of Whatever’s Next that germinate in even the deepest of ash heaps.
A bow of reverence to the innumerable variations of sentiment and emotion, each its own unique universe unto itself, yet all shining the same on our billions of faces on thousands of days, defiantly united in a shared experience that reveals the lie of our apparent separation. That is, each love is unique, but we’re all the same in feeling it.
All around the world today people will reach out for love and connection, smiles and tears, innumerable combinations of words with our human vocabulary hopelessly inadequate to express the depth of an emotion that doesn’t really need us to talk about it at all.
It’s nothing to do with words on some calendars or what we’re doing tonight, because all of us, those with dates and without, whose search is done or not yet begun, married, divorced, separated, united, civil unioned, goddess-blessed and/or barely dressed, the whole marvelous mess of us, panoply of passion and pulses racing or sedate, we’re all in love because we’re all human.
To that, not to a marketing campaign or a society’s pressure, but to that unity of our fundamental human loving nature irrespective of the day’s behavior, I wish a very loving Valentine’s Day.