Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valor, Victimhood, and Valentine's Day: How I Recommitted to Love

Valentine's day used to be my holiday. I was in love with love, and it was my high holy day. Yet over time, its origins became far more appropriate to the particulars of my love life than the Hallmark sentiments I once put so much stock in. A bloody massacre, the battle between faith and the many excellent, practical, visceral reasons to give up on belief. For most of my life, there was nothing more that I believed in than the power of love. I came of age in a haze of power ballads and Sailor Moon comic books and Libran sensibilities, a whole host of influences that left me certain in one thing and one thing only-- that romantic love had redemptive powers, than my lover would be my savior, that together we would transform one another from mere mortals into gods.
I was perfectly willing to martyr myself for this belief. I knew relationships took work, and work I was willing to do. I sacrificed over and over on the altar of love. I believed in the spell of infatuation, the mysticism of sex, the alchemy of marriage. I never met my Prince Valiant, though. Perhaps I was in the wrong places at the wrong times. Perhaps I was overconfident in my ability to kiss frogs into princes, not giving enough care to the quality of the frog in question, not being discerning enough about potential. I simply assumed that if you believed in it enough, love was a choice you could make, and that by sheer determination it would become the work of art, the spiritual revelation, the redemption it was meant to be put up with a myriad of disappointments, of offenses I was unprepared to navigate.

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