Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Day

There has only been one Valentine’s Day in my life where I’ve had a euphemistically so-called “significant other.” Even that year was somewhat … dismal. The boy I was dating, let’s call him “John,” (for that was his name) forgot that it was Valentine’s Day. He, ever the consummate actor, pretended he had not, and that evening while I waited downstairs, listened to him scurrying about from room to room, all the while whistling a happy tuneless something. He appeared some minutes later, carrying a hodge-podge of heart-shaped candy and treats. At first I thought I had mistaken his memory and that he hadn’t forgotten it after all. But upon closer inspection, I realized that all the clomping around upstairs had been him raiding the other bedrooms for forgotten treats. This was evidenced in the fact that one of the boxes of conversation hearts was inscribed, “To our friends at Pac-Bell.”

It is safe for me to say that this so-called day of love has always been somewhat of a bust for me. And yet, I do not like the term “Singles Awareness Day,” because each day that passes I am already (some days painfully so) aware of my state of singledom. I do not relish that. I also do not agree with wearing black for mourning on that day. Why would I? (At least, intentionally so. I wear black frequently, but not for mourning.) I do not feel to mourn my single state, either. I’m not thrilled with it, but there is nothing to mourn. I’m not dead yet, after all!

Despite my marriage status and history of this day, I am a believer of and in love. I do not harbor any illusions that it is full of pink, squishy hearts and “I love you”s written in cutesy curlyqueues. It is hard work, especially the maintaining of it. And while I still do not have someone to call a significant romantic other, I have many people in my life who love me, despite (I highly doubt it’s because of) my many quirks, and I in turn love them.

Love is there, within reach, and frequently is touching us without us even knowing it.

My definition of love, and perhaps why I remain single is this: Finding someone with whom you can share your vulnerabilities without those being viewed as weaknesses. The worst part of a relationship, and the thing that weakens it more quickly than anything is when one of the people has to take care of the other one - not because they don't want to participate as a partner in the care of the relationship and person, but because the other person embraces helplessness that requires dependence, as opposed to vulnerability that elicits interdependence.

Or as great author Theodore Geisel put it, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Happy Love Day, everyone!

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