Sunday, February 14, 2010

Re-imagining Valentine's Day

There’s something about Valentine’s Day – a calendar date marked by cupid, Hallmark expressions of “love” and heart-shaped cookies everywhere you look – that irks me. Matters of the heart, made saccharine by any means, are somehow diminished; robbed of their sanctity and capacity for valor. And yet every year around this time I can’t help but wonder what it could mean without all the hype. I find myself thinking about the people I love, and the words that remain unspoken. And I pine for things that never were but might have been; connections lost or faded with time; love imagined that destiny might realize.

Being single for a long time – which I have been – tends to frame things in a particular light. Couples and families tend to have a surreal tinge to them. You become accustomed to the freedom of doing your own thing; of never having to consult anyone else before making key decisions. And after a while, as life would often have it, you find yourself gazing through the looking-glass, asking questions about the person blinking back at you in the mirror.

I can’t speak for men, but it seems to me that one of the real treasures about getting older as a woman is the new-found ability to be real with yourself. Its often difficult, uncomfortable and unpleasant – at the same time, you start to own it. You start to own what makes you bleed, and what makes your loins burn. You start to own the life you have lived, with all its betrayals, and the path you want to create. You start thinking less about what you need and more about what you’re supposed to give back. You stop messing around. You just want to tell it like it is.

And whether or not you’re single, you watch while your romantic ideals crumble around you, making way for a muse of unbridled proportions; a relationship with self that simply becomes you.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written; gives one pause for thought. So glad I "met" you on Twitter and I look forward to reading more of your posts!


Jesse Mendes said...

I take your comments to heart, Michelle. I'm glad we "met" as well. Thank you for taking the time to write.