St. Valentine's Day
This won't be a long post, sadly I don't have time to just spill all my guts onto a screen, but I wanted to take some time to meditate on Valentine's Day.
It's... an unusual day. Some argue it's "a holiday invented by greeting card companies" while others say it's simply a Catholic celebration of the martyr of Saint Valentine of Rome (JK no one says that). I personally have a rocky relationship with the holiday-- I am, after all, a single woman and have been nearly my entire adult life. I'm not complaining, I'm providing context: I previously fell into the trap of material romanticism, feeling lonely and sad on the Hallmark holiday for lack of red roses and fuzzy bears. Back before I had a healthy, adult libido, I celebrated the opportunity to eat chocolate... but admittedly, even in grade school I was silently hurt when my crush didn't deliver the romantic surprise of a hand drawn Valentine.
My mom bought me a bear for Valentine's day once. I thought it was quite meaningful, considering it wasn't typical to receive gifts on a day other than my birthday or Christmas. That revived some expectation of receiving a heartfelt surprise on Valentine's Day, and as with any child spoiled by expectation, I was let down the many years that followed. In high school, I scoffed because I received affection from people I wasn't interested in. Ultimately, I became dismissive of the occasion, because I was raised by Hollywood and Jane Austen novels. Where was Prince Charming? Or Princess? Whatever, whoever! Just, let me feel true love ONCE! I begged the Universe.
In college, I was very intimately acquainted with the feeling of "true love"-- several times -- and holy shit it was painful. It was so painful I was emotionally paralyzed for years to follow. And I could only feel that semblance of what I fantasized was true love through those same movies and books that gave me that spoiled expectation in the first place. And, like any dramatic 20-something, I was disillusioned and dismissive.
That's the thing about being co-dependent, emotionally unstable, and completely closed off; it makes your heart hard and cold. So when I started working on myself, my feelings, my troubles, my emotions... well, it warmed my heart, little by little.
And now? I honestly adore Valentine's Day. I think it's beautiful. Not in the expectant "nice dinner, expensive wine, and a 4 carat diamond" way. In a celebration of love, in all forms. Because when I started to warm up I realized how filled with love I truly am. From family, from friends, acquaintances, even strangers. Love by definition changed for me: I felt the same kindness and love from a stranger who offers me directions as I do from a friend who brings me soup when I'm sick. Those affections are unique but share their intention: connection and sacrifice. Sacrificing even a moment of time to explain directions, or sacrificing an evening to an ailing friend, both of those sacrifices count deeply in my book. That recognition of kindness really made my cup overflow, and I started to feel love everywhere. I can't even begin to explain the feeling... after trudging through a dense fog of depression and anxiety for over a decade, I felt a clarity and brightness that's unparalleled. And I don't mean that sort of euphoria from getting high on 'shrooms or ecstasy (nor am I going to say "getting high on life!") I mean a complete paradigm shift where gratitude is inevitable. And today, I get to meditate on how much I feel and love LOVE. I am delighted for everyone who gets to celebrate their romance with another person, or their cherished affection for a friend or family member.
But, you know me: I'm a die hard romantic. I'm only alone because I refuse to partake in a romance unless it is complete, whole, and unique to me. No one makes me as happy as myself, but a girl can dream. So, every year I compile a list of songs that remind me of Feelings™ solicited by those dreams, and I was compelled to share it today.
As for my art, I don't have a lot to share today. But I've been very busy, and I hope I'll have something to share soon. I'll be spending my Valentine's day with a cup of tea, some homemade soup, pen, and paper. That's really all I need to celebrate the love I feel, but I always wish to extend love and gratitude to my friends and family out there. Some of you I'm lucky to be able to see soon enough, and the rest of you, well, you know how to reach me.
All my love.