To Everyone I Love ~
Yes, you. That means you. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve spoken. It could’ve been yesterday. It could’ve been three minutes ago. It could’ve been six months ago. That doesn’t ‘matter, because I love you. And if I love you, you’ve made my world a better place—because that’s what love does. Mind you, I did not say you’ve made it a perfect place. Anyone who wants perfection doesn’t want love. Because love and life are messy and complicated if you’re doing it right. This includes friendship-based loved. (Shoutout to all my Galentines!)
Love is a labyrinth that, once you wander into, you never quite find your way out of it. It can be kind of confusing sometimes. But it makes the world a brilliant kaleidoscope of glitter and wonder. And for that, I thank you. Because while life is often littered with hard times, it helps to have things that sparkle, memories that remind us to dance, and that unmistakable magic that love conjurers.
Love also guarantees several things from me. One: I will be there on the bad days more fiercely than on the good ones. It is easy to stay when things are wildly wonderful. But we often need people the most when things are dark and awful, and we end up doubting our worth. So, my promise is this: when you are feeling alone and awful, perhaps like nothing will be right again and you’ve mucked everything up—I will be there. This may through a text, an email, an in-person hug. I may bake your brownies or kiss you. Chances are there will be cute animal photos involved, and I will try and get you drunk and certainly make you laugh. Love means someone has your back. That’s me, kitten.
Two: I will smite your enemies. Okay, not really. I don’t actually have a dragon. But if someone has wronged you, hurt you, and/or otherwise mistreated you, I will be your shoulder to cry on. I will show you the way to the punching bag. I will not let them sit with us at lunch. And if given the chance/opportunity, I will let them know exactly why they are a feeble-minded assclown of a human. See, love isn’t always kittens and rainbows, unicorns and sunshine. Sometimes, love is a sharp knife and a fierce growl. And there are always moments when we are hurting so poorly that we cannot protect ourselves. That’s where I come in. I may be little, but I am a badass when needed.
Three: You cannot scare me away. No matter what you think is too ugly, too awful, too hard to look and impossible to stomach—give it here. I don’t want shiny and convenient. I’m not looking for a neatly arranged and fitted puzzle. There’s no hell or high water that can burn or flood out my affections, so don’t worry about that. I don’t run. I never run. Unless it’s toward something. There’s no judgment, no scale, no measure. I don’t flinch.
Four: I will show up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a convenient time. It doesn’t matter if I have to wait in a parking lot or sit in front of Skype until you call. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t spoken in years, if you say you need me, if you say you need help, then I will be there. Love means I will show up, still in my PJs and wearing my glasses, without any makeup at 2am. Love means I will listen to you talk about work problems. Love means I will probably show up with food, because I am Italian. I really can’t help it. Food is love.
I don’t use the word love lightly. There are so many different kinds of love, different levels and types. But it’s like ice cream: no matter what, still good. Because fundamentally, it’s awesome. Rest assured, if I’ve ever told you I love you, I do. Absolutely. Without question. This does not shift or lessen, nor does it dull or vanish.
Today is a day about love. It’s commercial as hell, I know. It can leave people aching. It can leave people wanting. It can lead to too much thinking, tears, and sadness. I don’t think that love can be wrapped up or summed up by a day, or even a gesture involving roses and chocolate. Don’t get me wrong: I will always accept roses and chocolate. Every day of the year. Love is demonstrated in a billion different ways. Sometimes, the most meaningful are the ones that don’t look like much from the outside.
A random text. A cup of hot chocolate. A T-shirt. An email. Making someone a sandwich after a long day. It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive. In fact, the simplest things often have much more meaning and impact than what’s grand. Keep your necklaces and wrapping paper. Give me something unexpected from the bottom of your heart. Make me laugh. Remind me of an inside joke. Ask how I am in a way that shows me you’re really asking, really interested in listening.
But back to the point: I love you. Maybe I haven’t said that to you in a while. Maybe you’ve feeling particularly unlovable right now. Maybe we grew up together, and moved away, and it’s been a decade since I’ve seen your face. Doesn’t matter.
I still love you. So, no matter what is going on in your life today, no matter who may or may not be in it, no matter if you’re attached or unattached—remember that you are loved. Remember that you are valued. Remember that someone appreciates and sees you, for exactly who you are and exactly as you are.
Happy Valentine’s Day, darlings. May you know that you are worth it.