• Ana Del Castillo

Valentine's Day is Bullshit

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

Last year I had the most epic and romantic Valentine’s Day I’d ever had in my life. I was alone in Death Valley on a solo road trip and I was surrounded by natural beauty and wonder. It felt incredibly romantic because I was intimately connected to my own thoughts and feelings, and I was listening to myself in a way that I had never allowed before, so I felt loved in the way one does when someone puts everything aside and gives us their undivided attention. As a result, I felt deeply cared for and about.

I say the day felt epic because Mother Nature put on a show for me. It rarely rains in Death Valley but while I was there it not only rained, it flooded! So rainbows emerged everywhere I looked. With water coating everything, the landscape glistened, shined and preened. It was breathtaking! It felt like the world around me was being baptized and blessed, and I was lucky enough to be there for it.

To me, this was love – real love. Not the steroided, bullshit, commercialized version of love that this made up ‘holiday’ is.

Seriously, what is the ever-loving fuck with this made-up holiday? Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate (dark chocolate, please), and I love to go out for a great meal with people I care about, and I like flowers, and I love love. But nothing about this BS day feels like the real thing! I have been in recovery for decades and decades and can smell a phony from a mile away because I’ve spent decades looking at my own phony bullshitting ass. And this ‘holiday’, my friends, is a phony! It brings up feelings of annoyance and like there’s something a little wrong with me if I don’t feel the prescribed way this day tells me I should.

Well, tough shit!

In my humble opinion, real love is not (just) showy couple goals that get posted on social media. I mean, it can be, but that is not sustainable or authentic.

It’s not (just) fancy dates or majestic nights a la The Bachelor/The Bachelorette style. I believe it’s listening, really listening. It’s attention. It’s care. It’s respect. It’s fucking. It’s love-making. It’s holding and caressing. It’s sexy, annoying, boring, infuriating, surprisingly sweet, frustrating, ambivalent, frightening, confusing, feel-like-I-won-the-lottery, what-was-I-thinking, can’t-live-without, come closer, stay away, you’re my best friend and favorite person, I don’t like you very much, day-to-day figuring out how to feel affection and consideration ongoing for another human being. It’s waking up in the middle of the night to help when they’re sick; it’s crying on shoulders; it’s venting; it’s having a cheerleader and tough critic. It’s being gotten and getting the other person so deeply that when they’re gone their absence is palpable.

But above all else it’s messy! It doesn’t look any specific way but it sure does feel a certain way!

Love is …leaving your spouse even though on paper your marriage looks perfect. Love is getting married even though your family doesn’t approve of your bae’s race or religion. Love is telling the truth even though the truth will cause chaos. Love is keeping your mouth shut. Love is staying to work things out when there’s been an affair. Love is leaving their ass. Love is staying to work things out when the sex has died. Love is having an affair and coming back to life. Love is going back to school. Love is quitting school. It’s having children. It’s not having children. It’s stretch marks and cold pizza and bills and laughter and knowing looks and inside jokes and orgasms and sleeping in... And It’s having the courage to leave everything you know behind to go on a solo road trip because you can’t hear your own thoughts or feel your own feelings anymore. And then finding yourself alone in Death Valley on Valentine’s Day looking at the majesty of this amazing landscape and knowing that there’s a place for you inside your own skin that finally feels like home …like peace.

That’s what love is to me. It’s mess. It’s life… And above all, it’s a feeling that is put courageously into an action. Because ultimately love in action is one in which a person gets to live authentically. And real love is nothing if not authentic…

That’s what love is to me. Not this fake holiday cheap-ass chocolates, silly, predictable flowers, overpriced dinner, bullshit.

Anyway… Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! ;-) Hope you all have a great day…

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