Hey y’all, guess what’s happening this coming Tuesday!!!!!!!
For those who are living under a rock or who are reading this in the future (hey there) Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, aka one of the grossest times of year to be out in public, in the vicinity of lovestruck teenagers…or really anywhere. For those of us with significant others, it’s a great time to celebrate, sure. But I think that as we approach the day of chubby baby cupids and panicked chocolate-buying, we need to talk about the role of Love in our culture…and in our stories.
Where do we find them?
Two places: subplot and main plot. As some of the wise story folks will tell you, the human brain latches onto certain key things in stories: money, violence…and sex. These are broad categories, however, and “sex” can easily be expanded into chemistry, attachment, general romantic intrigue. Think back to the last good piece of gossip you heard or told (or didn’t tell, oooooh)–and chances are, it had to do with one of the three above things. Money or status, violence or conflict, or romance and hook-ups. Thus, it’s no surprise that romance as a genre is such a reliable sell for storytellers, and that the power that romance plays as an action-fueling subplot can make the difference between being glued to the screen or switching the channel.
But what’s the problem?
We end up exploring romance a lot…and other meaningful things sometimes take a back seat. Not everyone desires romance or sex in the first place; and for many people, those parts of life don’t play such a starring role. And when we see this emphasis on Love and Relationships in the media that surrounds us as soon as we are old enough to consume it, we sometimes spend much more energy seeking and dreaming of a Special Someone…and passing up friendships and opportunities. The stories that surround us inform our priorities, and our priorities are thus being shaped by constantly featuring an aspect of many people’s lives that happens to sell well. It sells movie tickets to rom-coms and flowers on the 14th of this month. That kind of love is wonderful. But it’s not all there is to life.
So, whether you are single or in a relationship or it’s super complicated…think about all the love that you want to celebrate on Tuesday. The best friend who’s always there for you, the parents and family that cheer you on, the co-workers and peers who crack jokes and cheer you when you’re struggling. We are fortunate to be surrounded by people who care about us in every and any capacity. This year? Let’s enjoy the cards and the hugs and the chalky heart candy…and remember that Love is one of many kinds of love. Every day, regardless of the month or date, could and should be a celebration of the love that we have and the love that is yet to come.
On that note? Happy Valentines, happy February, and happy celebrating <3.