I know you’re a busy and super complex organ that makes life possible within my body. But lately I’ve been trying to get under the surface of that endocardium into the chambers of the ventricles and septums to figure out what really is going on in there. Amidst the 5 liters of blood you’re pumping every minute and oxygen distributed to all parts of cardiovascular system…how does emotion factor into your to do lists? Why do you start to race upon catching the eye of that cute barista at the corner coffee shop, or contract to the point of stabbing breathlessness when learning of the passing of a loved one? These are questions I know will never have true clarity, but during this week dominated by love and the crimson celebration of Valentine’s, it’s a subject worth consideration.
I’ve never spent a major holiday in the thoroughs of a relationship or with someone of real significance in that sense. Christmas and Thanksgiving were obviously spent with family, Halloween had me up to my nickers in duct tape and cardboard, and despite the hype for couples, growing up, February 14 was focused on getting to the drug store and purchasing my 30 pack of teenage mutant ninja turtle perforated cards that bore messages to my besties such as, “Cowabunga! I love you more than pizza!” Coupled with a ziploc bag full of Costco assorted chocolates…what more could you want?
In this light, I’ve never ever considered myself to be anti-vanlentine’s day. Like any recognized event in our society, it’s been marginalized and taken to the capitalistic extreme. Origins of the holiday vary culture to culture, but they’re full of tales of martydom for the sake of true love and the celebration of passion. I can see how a lot of people take offense to the idea of a day that is so obviously trying to promote consumerism by showing how much you care through showering the people in your life with lavish presents. I can also see how it’s been deemed “National Single’s Awareness Day” due to the fact that being a single female individual throughout 26 valentine’s days, there is an odd recognition of how the day glorifies the duos over the unos. But I’ve never been able to feel animosity toward an event that I feel strives to embody positive ideals and well meaning messages. I’m not going to say that I never wished I had a valentine to call my own, (my track record with significant others lends itself to my total zero expectation in these areas…now is not the post for that however) but I’m one of those sappy romantics that believes love should be celebrated in all it’s forms.
In saying that however, if you sit back and really take a look at the people and subsequent relationships you have in your life…how many of those could you do without? It seems like a grim question, but it’s one that has provided me a lot of perspective on the idea of love. It’s not to say that some of your relationships don’t have significance because people are all brought into our lives for a reason, but which people are actively shaping you and causing you to want to better yourself and your situation? Which are maybe lessons you’ve learned from and are just holding onto because you’re bad at letting go of the past? For me this past valentine’s day was very introspective and defining in the sense that I answered these questions about a lot of people in my life and those who came before.
If you’ve been keeping up with my seemingly random inane ramblings in this blog, you will remember that for me, 2013 into 2014 was a time filled with a lot of tumult and crisis (amongst other amazing times as well). It’s not a bad thing to say that actually this has been the case for much of my life. I went through loss at a young age of probably the most amazingly loving individual I’ll ever have the opportunity to know; my grandmother. A lot of people view loss as tragic because it’s viewed as time cut short. When I look back on what I remember and hear about my grandma, she lived in such a way that even though she was “cut short” on the things she could have done, the things she accomplished shinned so brightly, they, in her memory could never be extinguished. She passed away from an aggressive terminal form of cancer, and although she could have gotten intensive treatment and survived her diagnosis another 6 months, she turned it down. I don’t remember a lot of things from when I was 6 years old, but I do remember not understanding why I wasn’t allowed to see my grandma in the hospital, and how frustrating that was to be separated from someone I loved so much and had been such a huge influence in my life. I also remember my own tearful goodbye to her as we scattered her ashes into the ocean off Diamondhead.
It wasn’t until years later that I was able to fathom her choice to let go and be alone throughout her last months. As I see my grandmother in my minds eye, she was a strong radiant woman perpetually smiling and glowing with the light of warmth and love. This is how she wanted to be remembered by her grandchildren. As much as she herself desperately wanted to see us before she left this world, she would rather we carry the happy memories of our time together than be touched so heavily by the knowledge of mortality at such young ages. The realization of this decision coupled with the way she lived her life, has shaped the way I think and view the world so many times over. I think a lot of people want to live so that when they die, in a sense a void will be left in their place. People will cry and lament over their passing because they were such a great person and did so many great things to be immortalized and remembered. There’s nothing wrong with this sentiment, but to me it’s living for a very singular intent.
It’s not that I want people to be HAPPY when I’m gone, but when I leave this world I don’t need to be remembered for any great doings I may have done or achievements I may have achieved. Like my grandmother, I want to be survived merely by the feeling of love and commitment to the people around me. I don’t want there to be a void or hole felt in passing, but for that space to be mended together by the relationships that were built because of my existence and will be carried on after I’m gone. The lessons I learn from others and in turn what they learn from me; these relational trades are what we leave behind as a building block for future ties between the individuals we care about. I think about my grandma a lot. Her love is a kind of love that I hope to impart on the people I hold closest to my heart. Although I’m human and have various other emotions, this kind of unconditional love toward those dearest to me is what I celebrate on valentine’s day.
I am not trying to sound conceited when I say that I suffer from an affliction of the heart which is basically I care too much. I know that sounds terribly vain, but caring too much expends energy we don’t have just as caring too little atrophies the heart. I’ve often wondered why most of my adult life I’ve remained a single individual. A lot of people closest to me have wondered the same thing out loud saying things like, “But you’re so nice! How can you NOT have a boyfriend already…” or “It’s ridiculous that someone like you is single”. These kinds of things frustrated me because if my friends could see it…why not that one guy I’m meant to be with? Over time I realized that three of the many reasons why I’m unable to remain in the committed relationship are 1. I spread my love too thin, 2. I look for validation in the wrong places, and 3. I don’t know myself enough to share a life with another individual.
Getting to the first point (and then running quickly through the others because this is becoming a long and very ego centric post…) I try to be way too involved in the lives of the people I care about. In some respect, there’s no room for a romantic relationship in my life because my energies are already delegated to other causes. I’ve said before I’m pretty nosy, but more than that I want the people I love to be happy at all times. This is of course impossible, but it’s also ridiculous for me to think that I could be the caretaker of anyone’s emotional state in general…let alone dozens of individuals. Second, this is a religious view I hold, but I’m not going to find the kind of support I need through worldly means, this includes mortal relationships. There’s a kind of unconditional love and validation that can only come from a higher power. Related to my first point, we all only have the capacity for so much energy, and it sounds selfish but a lot of that energy should be going into personal soul searching and refinement. It’s selfish to try and rely on another person to fill whatever emotional void is present in my life when they have issues of their own to deal with. This is not to say we shouldn’t be there for each other, but leading into my last point, we need to be compete and versed in who we are in ourselves before real meaningful relationships with others can develop. I’ve tried the forceful desperate approach to love making last ditch efforts to salvage a connection that was frayed from the start at best…it’s tiresome and in the end fruitless. Until I’m at a point where there is some clarity (not saying an epiphany or total understanding) as to who I am, what my priorities are, and have a basic personal means to achieve those prioritized goals, I’m not going to be of any benefit to another person no matter how much I love them and want to help them.
A lot of my life thus far has been seeking confirmation that I’m a worthy human being by sending all my positive energy out to other people. Another thing I celebrate on valentine’s day is the idea that it’s ok to use the bulk of that energy to fix the turmoil within yourself. I’m not saying flip other people the bird and live within an ego centric bubble, but in order for relationships to have the kind of give and take flow as they should, each party need to be aware of how their own lives work and the energy required to maintain a state of function. I believe that no one is able to really love others in a time of chaos or crisis. It’s a natural capacity to seek comfort from outside sources during times of sadness or grief, but really we should be looking into ourselves to find the strength to address the situation and start the healing process from within. Then the love of others can provide structure to our lives built on top of this foundation that comes from inside out own hearts.
I got to say that isn’t necessarily what I set out to write today, but it happened. I wanted to go into a brief history of the idea of valentine’s day and associated heart related customs…but then I just got side tracked…by myself…apologies if you read all of that expecting something more. I guess this post was really across the board with feelings and messages…I hope I got some point across…whatever it may have been. One of the hardest things to admit as a single independent female in today’s world is that someday I WANT to be in a committed relationship with someone who will support and care for me just as much as I do for him. In some ways singledom reigns supreme in society today and aspiring to the contrary makes you somehow femenistically weaker. I’ve come to a point where even though past dysfunctional relationships have broken me down, and for a time I accepted my fate of “independence”, I’m tired of being dishonest with myself about what I’m really about. I’ve said numerous times in the past that “I’m done trying” or “relationships are not for me” and at one time I really believed those statements. Now however, I’m not ashamed to admit that my ultimate goal in life is not monetary success or climbing up the social ladder, but to have a family. A family that I can cherish and pour love and affection into.
I said before I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have experienced hardship for most of my life. I say this not because I’m a masochist or a nihilist, but all these times I’ve been broken down or felt defeated have given me that many opportunities to build myself up again stronger from the sum of my experiences. I know that someday I will have been shaped and molded to the kind of person that someone would WANT to be with, and we could have a full relationship based on reciprocated love and understanding rather than just trying to force love into being from two incomplete individuals who don’t even know how to be themselves much less how they fit together. People are able recognize confidence and peace within each other and the manner in which we treat others. To me the most attractive thing of all is a person who is honest with themselves about not only their intentions, buy the full scope of how they will affect themselves and the people around them.
Right now my heart is full. It’s full trying to figure out exactly who it is and how it can manage to check off all the items on it’s to do list. It’s not in the business of trying to find it’s soulmate, and that’s ok. This valentine’s day it was enough for my heart to be honest with me about who we are and how we love, and to be thankful for the love that is in the life as we know it. Whatever friendships and relationships come to pass in the future will be so much greater due to the fact that by that time I’ll be ready to love the shit out of them.
Also this galentine’s day was spent with two of my closest broads going to vinyasa yoga, inhaling acai bowls, consuming half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, going out for pho still classily dressed in yoga attire, and watching the first season of Sailormoon dubbed episodes on youtube. I’d say my short return to Honolulu is thus far being well spent indeed.
PS: I also watched Frozen for the first time on Friday…and subsequently have memorized the entire soundtrack…why has no one forced me to watch it before now!?
“Some people are worth melting for…”