(I'm surprised. I didn't think I'd have anything to say about this.)
I am not a great observer of Valentine's Day. I'm single at the moment, and mildly scorched from my most recent escapade de coeur*
, and just a little generally work-overwhelmed besides, these days. The plan for tonight was to go down to Queen and Ossington to see one of the guys from Tokyo Police Club and one of the guys from Born Ruffians play a set, but I got home and I was tired, and Dr. My Roommate was tired, so we called the whole thing off, and instead I have been curled up in my bed with a cup of spicy cherry tea, reading fiction.
Life is very busy these days, and so far for 2012, very demanding. Carving out the space to just read a whole book, cover to cover, was like being given a precious gift of quiet; an internal reprieve. For the first day in what probably feels like longer than it practically has been, I had a rest
So that was the last Valentine's Day of my twenties.
I want to say I do not get the anti-Valentine's stuff
. I feel like there was a lot of it this year, and I don't know if that's just the circles I move in, or I'm sensitized to it, or what. I can't say that: I do get it, in a lot of ways. I get lonely too. I would have enjoyed having a lap to rest my head in while I read that book tonight, and an idle kiss or two between pouring cups of tea.
Thing is, thing is; and there is always a thing, because otherwise I wouldn't have taken to my keyboard, if there wasn't a thing.
There is a danger, I think, that in rejecting being told how
to love and enjoy, in rejecting what can feel like pressure and proscription and judgment, we go too far and reject the idea that really, to love and enjoy is generally a really nourishing thing to do; that in trying to wriggle out of the trap of that dominant social narrative owning us, we go all the way to the other side into anger and active rejection, and then it just owns us from the other direction. Or, in less fancy talk: All the people on my Facebook talking about how much Valentine's Day sucked were still grouped under "X many posts about Valentine's Day" when I hit the newsfeed.
I don't know what point I'm making here. Perhaps it is that love is not all
, but it's not nothing. Perhaps that active, defensive rejection is not escape, but can turn into a different kind of bondage. Perhaps that you can, when you're about to turn 30, just spend the evening reading a goofy political novel and drinking tea under your comforter, and the shrieking voices that would have something to say about that and what that means, who that means you are, don't and won't actually matter if you legitimately are where you want to be.
And that doesn't mean I have to say And what of it?
, and that doesn't mean I have to pretend that it makes me perfectly happy to not have that lap to rest my head in, that kiss here and there, a pair of knees tucked up behind mine like a glove. It doesn't. I miss that. I want it and feel the lack of it, and human emotion is not some either/or, binary, side-taking exercise.
We can want those things, and not have to be Unhappy People for wanting what we don't presently have. And we can spend Valentine's Day evening with a book, and feel meltingly content with it, without stacking it up, measuring-stick, against some other place or person we were Supposed To Be.
Because here is where we are, and the only real choice, in the moment, is whether we're going to be happy or sad in the place we're at.
I guess that's what I wanted to say.*Yes, I have escapades, and escapade is usually the right word for the job. I don't often mention them. Neither a gentleman nor a lady kisses and tells the whole damn Internet.