This Valentine’s Day, I am holding space for all of my brothers, sisters, and gender-fluid siblings, who have fallen in love with someone inappropriate, or unavailable. I am holding space for every person who has ever watched love back quietly out the door, for everyone who has ever been held captive by their own hearts. I am thinking about those for whom romantic love has been ruined, and those who exist on the starvation diet of active imaginations and acceptance.
We are told, over and over, that this is a world for THAT kind of love. That for love to be real it must be singular and intensely sexual, that it must be a happily ever after, and that anything else is beneath consideration.
None of this is true. Love IS a thread that stitches us together and rips us apart, but it also is also a light that illuminates everything, whether we want it to or not.
Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, take a moment to adore your own body, in all the places you are free from pain. Take a moment to remember a kindness that you have done for someone else, and a kindness someone has done for you. Commit to paying the latter forward, because love is not static: sometimes it is steeped in joy, and sometimes it demands sacrifice. You have probably experienced both.
Tomorrow morning, take a breath in gratitude for the loved ones you have had to release into the world to continue their travels without you: lovers, children, parents, pets. Take another for those who have loved you, and let you go (there are more of these than you probably realize). Take a breath in gratitude for the love that still permeates your life, and one more, in faith, for the love that you haven’t learned how to see (it is massive).
There is no question that Valentine’s Day is a commercial construct with dubious origins. That is the truth. But it is also a day we can choose to be reminded that love is expansive, not singular; it does not require chocolate or diamonds, or expensive dinners.
I am choosing to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this way – not because I haven’t yet figured out how to swim the murky waters of romantic love, but because romantic partnership is just one slice of a very large, delicious pie that we all deserve to dine from.