Friday, February 13, 2015
What I Know About Love and Valentine’s Day
by Yetty Williams
What I know about love and valentine’s day has evolved. As a young girl valentine’s day always seemed like something fun that lovers do. In my girlish fantasies I looked forward to celebrating it someday. Growing up though, neither the media or my parents really made valentine’s day such a big deal, unlike today where everywhere you turn, online or offline, you are reminded about Valentine’s day.
Fast-forward to Secondary school and it is welcome to the era of awareness of boys, love infatuation really and the seemingly accompanying valentine’s day. This season of love seemed to create a buzz with everyone either looking forward to it secretly or dreading it quietly. You were either “valing” someone or being “valed” – it become an action in the government schools then.
In the all girls school I went to there was a lot of girl on girl valentine love which now as I am older, I wonder what to think of this. Was it a worrying trend encouraging same sex attraction or was it simply innocent, girls understood that they could simply admire each other and share gifts. Eros love is not the only type of love afterall?
I had my fair share of being valed by girls and boys alike. I remember the funny run up with cute little notes being left to inform you that you had an admirer (maybe too much Mills and Boon’s). Valentine’s day came with the unveiling of the admirer and the gifts that came with it. As a side note, where did students get the money for the gifts from? Did they actually ask their parents for pocket money to buy gifts? Looking back now my parents were rather cool and I was free to take my gifts home, though there were other girls who had to hide their gifts.
I never at any point confused theses gifts with real love, partly because there was no mystery at home.
Then came college day where the easy attention from secondary school was gone. This was a whole new terrain combined with adjusting to being away from home for the first time, living in the dormitory, dealing with the work load (no lesson teacher here). Dealing with life as a semi-adult and all the uncertainty that came with it, there was no time for admiration. Puppy love was gone and this was a real love ocean to maneuver.
Fast forward to first real adult relationship and all the emotions that came with it. Another decade or two and it is amazing when I look back, I see I have evolved indeed and what I understand about love and what valentines day is today is very different.
Now I know that Valentine’s day is a commercialized celebration of love around the world. I truly believe that Valentine’s day is more celebrated by unmarried and singles than by married folks. When you are married, celebrating Valentine’s day is not your priority. To the novice it could seem like married people do not celebrate Valentines day because they are not happy? Or they no longer love each other? But no….
Quite the contrary maturing through what love is had led me to discover that everyday is a day to celebrate love. When it comes to your spouse, everyday is a day to celebrate love (or should be). Living with another human being, the highs, the lows and the realities of life make you understand what love is in a different way.
I wear many different hats today and I do not see love, nor the fancy celebration of Valentines day, as something just for lovers. Love has many different hats and expressions – love as a wife, as a child of God, as a Mum, as a friend, as a daughter, as a colleague, boss etc.
Love means many different things to me now. Love is a choice, Love is real, love is natural, it is unpretentious. Love grows, love is not fleeting, love is not about butterflies. Love is about forgiveness. Mature love is about assurance and the certainty that you love someone and someone loves you back.
I see love as something that is minute-by-minute, day-by-day. The love that comes naturally when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time is the same love that grows as your child shows all their emerging characteristics. Love is that thing you cannot touch, but that you feel when you sit down with your spouse of many years, have a simple dinner after a stressful day at work and you can still make each other laugh.
Love is when you sit with your sister or your friend and you pray for each other, encourage each other through lives issues and out of your valley. Love is what you feel when you find a real support system that cares about you and you about them.
Love has true meaning as you get older in life, you understand that it is so much more than how you feel on one day, it is more than roses and dinner. Love includes loving yourself too, the curve of your stomach after carrying a child. It is about loving the person you have evolved into and cutting yourself some slack. Love is having passion for God’s given purpose for your life.
Love is about others and giving of yourself.
Love is something that grows as you grow, yes I will still celebrate Valentine’s day by going to dinner, giving a card and celebrating, but I know that Love is much more than one day of celebration.
Contributed by Yetty Williams.
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