So they say it’s sweetest day (an article about love, loss, and romance)

hold-me

Maybe someone forgot that I’m not supposed to feel very sweet right now.

I’ve posted before about Valentine’s Day and how I view it as a horrible day designed to make money as well as make single people feel awful about life. That is of course a highly jaded thing to say, and is something easier for me to accept seeing as I have been forced back into the single life. But I have enough to sense to concede that if such a day makes you and partner happy, fine, that’s all good, of course one shouldn’t need a holiday on a calendar to remind you to do or say something nice to your significant other…

This post is intended of course to say a few things about Sweetest Day, which I always thought of as Valentine’s Lite, or perhaps Valentine’s Day Part II. If I wasn’t going to talk about it then my title would certainly be misleading. But I am going to digress somewhat as this blog post is also a follow up to my rather venomous post about romance earlier this week.

Speaking to that, I don’t feel like it’s proper for me to retract what I said earlier, nor should I be so quick to just backtrack on my thoughts and stances on the subject of romance. Although I was definitely writing from a place of deep hurt and anger, those ideas and perceptions of romance didn’t just come out of nowhere and I must pay respect to them.

What I do need to consider is that as a thinker, a reasoner, someone who considers himself open-minded and willing to entertain new notions and ideas even if they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar, is that I cannot be any of those things without being willing to put my existing conceptions of the world to the test, to refine my ideas based on new data. Or I may need to re-analyze the angle from which I approach a topic based on a new perspective or a sudden breakthrough of insight. In extreme cases of being proven dead wrong, a thinking, rational, reasonable person should be able to discard what is now wrong and embrace a new idea.

Today in my pondering I realized I needed to simply refine what I discussed my previous post, as well as to add clarity to things I said whilst in the midst of feeling so sad and angry and hurt all at once that I just wanted to give up. My hope in romance is certainly still dashed, and I still contend that in our culture the notions of romantic love are put on such a pedestal as to almost be its own deity, in a way that is degrading and sickening. I still believe that true romance is such an anomalous and rare thing as to be unrealistic to expect to the extent that society wants us to.

But for me to suggest that romantic love as even an idea is inconceivable was unfounded. I even gave examples in my life that I’ve witnessed of romantic entanglements that have managed to stand the test of time. What I had to grasp was that if I, living in a small, mostly rural state in North America, having only really truly known a handful of the world’s population of seven billion people in my lifetime, that my stance doesn’t have enough data and enough of a sample size for me to make such a drastic, blanketing statement. Also, considering the odds of me, being someone who is not very socially active and does not actually know on a personal level a great deal of people, being exposed to even the handful of examples of true, lasting romantic love that I know are real, then maybe my outlook should not be as cynical and hopeless as I suspected.

So then in this refinement I have a clearer idea, coming from a more emotionally sober place: romantic love does exist and is plausible enough to be a legitimate concept. The problem I have is now more definitive, in that I take issue with how it is presented in our culture and society at large, that it’s always to supposed to be this incredible, almost magical thing that everyone is not only able to experience but supposed to. This cannot be true if so many people spend so much of their lives alone or bouncing from unhappy relationship to another. So many settle for something horrible just so they don’t have to deal with the cultural stigma of being alone.  Even myself, in my state where I am still jaded and still hurting like hell, feel the pressure from outside forces to not be a single person, that I am worth more if I am with someone and can participate in all of the holidays and events and all these things we’re shown on tv and advertisements and sung to in songs that people who are with someone and happy are supposed to do.

That is the crux of the issue, and it is also why even though I have had to refine my stance on romance to a degree, I still contend that it is truly an aberration, an anomaly, something rarely achieved in a way that is real and pure and lasting. What needs to change is for us as a culture to admit that this is okay, that this is normal, to stop shaming people for being single or just not able to find “the right one,” to stop devaluing people who either don’t want or just haven’t been able to find romance, family, children, what have you.

I strongly believe that if we stop this shaming and back off of this pressure, and admit to ourselves as a culture that romantic love is and should be something rare and elusive and more precious than any Hallmark holiday would have us believe, we might not only be much happier as a society but we would also be able to appreciate true love so much more when we do really find it.

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FIN

The images in the post were pulled from Google image searches. The author claims no credit for or ownership of the images in this article.

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