Being someone who is not all about Valentine’s Day, it’s interesting to me how this past [Hallmark] holiday played out. Now, I must clarify – by “not all about V-day” I mean I’m not interested in supporting consumerism or the idea that love ought to be “done up” on one specific day of the year just because someone else said so. That being said, I will admit that I am dreadfully romantic. I rather like the idea of celebrating love every day, perhaps even fancying a Valentine’s-esque display on, say, a random Wednesday in October. Just because. It’s not the beauty in V-day that makes me cringe, it’s the sense of duty. The [not so implied] obligation [of particularly men] to reach some unattainable standard, fulfilling some ideal, usually having to do with a great deal of money spent and a healthy dose of frivolity, neither of which are materials on which a true love is built.
I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, trust me. I’ve been pampered every which way on Valentine’s Day and loved it. The rose petals all over my bedroom, the flowers, a fancy gift – it’s divine. What I’m saying is that less is more. We so often fail to grasp that as a society, and V-day is no exception. Consumerism is empty and love is what fills us.
On this past Valentine’s Day I was given a flower by a gorgeous stranger. A single red rose. A romantic, random act of kindness. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Less is more at its best.
I hadn’t expected any semblance of a V-day celebration, seeing as I’ve gone quite out of my way recently to avoid any such circumstance, but was still filled with a giddiness that I felt rather belonged to a girl who might be showered with romantic gifts by her boyfriend. Instead, I was going to work, single and fiercely happy about it. I received my rose midmorning and promptly forgot it at work. It was still there the next day and I took it with me at the day’s end, putting it in my car, where it still sits. Rather perfect still, even four days later.
What’s interesting is that the sense of giddiness had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, it turns out. I carried it with me throughout the weekend and, with the start of this new week, it’s begun to feel like a big giant ball, collecting mass and rolling down an incline with increasing velocity.
The full moon landed on V-day, unsurprisingly adding to the heightened energy and palpable electricity in the air. I imagine the ripe, luscious moon made for a very interesting Valentine’s for some…I digress.
So here I sit, the Tuesday after the holiday of roses and love, still carrying this little ball of whimsical flirtation in my belly. I still feel butterflies like I have a crush on someone, except there’s no someone. How strange, right?
Right. Or at least that’s what I thought until it suddenly hit me, a wet towel’s smacking impact with a tile floor. Snap. The someone is me. The crush I have is on my life.
I’ve been dreaming lucidly. Dreaming of adventure, the unknown, love, joy, sex, fear, beauty and horror. I wake in the night, turning from one side to the other, catching glimpses of the dream play from which I’d just been roused. Momentarily musing at the vivid, sometime auspicious, often entertaining, increasingly perplexing snippets that linger. Linger like an ephemeral haze, images slowly fragmenting; I grasp lazily for them in my slumber, reaching through thick water, my fingers muddling their fragile vapor, only getting splinters of the original picture. Sometimes I rise from my bed and scribble on my whiteboard whatever I recall of the dreams. It always startles me in the morning to see these notes written diagonally across the white space, in alarming shades of pen chosen in the dark under hooded sedation.
Just as dreaming of giving birth does not signify the imminence of an actual birth, most of my dreams do not symbolize their literal circumstances. I’ve long since been an avid dream analyst and am quite enraptured by the rich ocean of dream study. I kneel at my alter in the early morning after mediation and page through my dream dictionary, which somehow came with me when I moved away from home, even though they belong to my mother. I make connections all through the day of dreams to real life and oftentimes things don’t “click” until days later. I still remember dreams I had as a child. I also have recurring dreams. These stick with you, glaringly bold and precise, as familiar as a movie watched a hundred times.
Just today I read an update on a moon page I follow. It said, “Moon is now in Libra which will put the focus on our partnerships for the next day or so. Notably, this transit will usher in the restoration of peace & harmony if the full moon stirred up some big emotion…”
Some big emotion indeed. For me, at least. Did you feel it, too? Interestingly enough, the focus on partnerships is landing now, days after V-day. Peace and harmony in abundance. I welcome them both, heartily. Big, big emotion was stirred up for me over this past full moon, albeit in a far stabler manner than last month’s full moon. Last month was chaotic, this month was eerily calm. Stable. My feet were planted firmly, though I could feel the trembling quake of the earth beneath my soles.
Today I took a gorgeous hike with a gorgeous friend. We bared our souls to one another as we climbed hills and skittered down inclines, deep breathing and dirty hiking boot bonding. This beautiful sister spirit shared with me the story of how she met her husband and why they make such a special pair. With her permission, I include brief mention of this. Her articulate description of what makes herself and her hubby such a prime match was humbling and inspiring all at once. It was one of the most romantic explanations in its pure sensibility. Relationships are romantic, yes, but they are partnerships above all. They are business, romance, alliance, friendship, responsibility, companionship, ever-evolving. If we are mindful, if we foster a partnership that is all of these things, we can [I imagine] sink into a comfortable rhythm, a union as steady as that of the sun and moon.
I suppose the idea of relationships have garnered my interest in the past couple of months, which proves surpassing as I’ve spent the past, well, longer than ever before, single. Rather aggressively intent on maintaining my solo status, free bird, able to go wherever I please without having to answer to anyone.
It’s not that I don’t want that anymore. I do. But I no longer have the averse reaction to the idea of intimacy that, for an alarming spell, I had begun to harbor. I felt distrusting of union, as though I’d lose myself, and couldn’t help but remember my favorite memoir Eat Pray Love. Spoiler alert, but Liz Gilbert traverses this very same conflict [in far greater depth] upon getting serious with Felipe in the Bali love segment of her epic journey. Perhaps all this has been stirred up for me seeing as I just read her second memoir, Committed, this past month. A book all about the history of marriage, the author’s qualms with marriage and basically everything in, on, under and around the idea of marriage. I finished the book more grateful than ever in my life to be single. Perhaps convinced never to marry. Slightly frightened at the very concept of monogamy.
I know, right?
This coming from the romantic girl who has always aspired to be a loving wife and Mumma one day. I still do. I just feel like my whole understanding of what it means to be a human being, much less a partner, spouse and parent, is morphing so rapidly that I can hardly keep up. I’m clutching the coattails of my own dreams and flying along in their wake, eyes wide and darting, catching every glimpse of radiant color I can and feeling the whipping wind in my hair.
So I suppose it’s safe to say my Valentine’s Day was the best I’ve ever had, to date. Because this is the best relationship I’ve ever been in – this one with myself, with my life – it is by far the best relationship I’ve ever had. At 25 I am gaining a strong sense of what it feels like to identify the things I want. I feel like I’m just wading into the sea of life. I feel like, for me personally, it is both poignant and crucial that I’ve waded into this depth on my own, my hands clutching nothing but the warm water at my hips. I no longer feel the burning need to be on this journey alone, but I feel burningly grateful that I passed over such an indispensable leg of my journey unescorted. I feel like my senses are on highest alert, canine in their sharpness. My True North is in sight, an inferno lit by the heat of a thousand suns.
I may not have any answers, and I’ve never been more okay with that. Because I am more awake than I’ve ever been. Awake to my dreams, to my reality, to my pain and to my joy. I don’t know how anything will turn out, I don’t even know what tomorrow will hold, but I know which way I’m going. I’ve folded up my map and pawned my compass because, at long last, the eternal light of my inner pilot light is burning. I’ve set my sights up ahead, and the light is strong. I carry with me the love affair that is my spirit, my life, my dreams. The unknown is expansive, pouring out over every square inch of land as far as the eye can see, peppering the horizon. But the unknown can’t be scary anymore, not when I can see it so clearly. When every nuance is visible, despite the gauzy aura of dread it wears, the unknown is nothing short of fascinating.
There’s really nothing left to do but turn the light up and take a closer look.