By Kasey Marshall
By the time you read this, Valentine’s Day has long since passed. However, my hatred remains. This is no eyeroll at the masses of sickly rose bouquets in the supermarket, a groan over some hetero randos making out at a frat party, or even bitter sigh for my nonexistent love life. I’m an ace gardener who hardly goes out, so joke’s on you. My feelings can be classified as straight-up loathing, and I know I’m not alone. For every celebrant of romance’s holiday, there are at least ten similarly passionate denouncers. Their reasons for fondness or distaste are varied, but no matter how they feel, everyone falls victim to the unhealthy and unsustainable love that Valentine’s Day promotes. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, allow me to preach a few wise words from Beyoncé.
I could write pretentiously lengthy treatises on love, but those conversation hearts you saw two weeks ago could sum it up easily. All context aside, what would you do if someone approached you and declared “BE MINE?” Run away screaming as you dial 911, right? But when you talk about your love life, why do you designate yourself as someone else’s? Language suggests how a culture thinks, so it’s troubling that we use the same phrases for lovers as we would slaves. Relating to people in this way guarantees inequality and subpar Britney Spears singles, though it’s not so clear-cut nowadays.
Nevertheless, not-so-subtle glimpses jump out at you as soon as you turn on the radio. Someone who “completes you” to the point where you “can’t live without them” holds a lot of power over you. If that someone leaves you, that power tears you down while you cry into a pint of half-melted ice cream. Why should your wholeness and livelihood rest in the hands of another person? You can take care of these things for yourself while enjoying the company of the occasional boo, like all independent (wo)men should. Throw your hands up at me, should you disagree.
And for all my single friends in the club, you aren’t “forever alone” or “feeling that feel” as much as you think. Put your memes away, as they won’t get you laid anytime soon. You may cry that no one loves you, but what does that make your family, friends, mentors, pets, and that one girl who greets you in the halls every day despite not knowing your name? Chopped liver? Nonsense! Greek has several words for love since it’s everywhere in various forms. Eros just happens to get more publicity. And above all else, you always have yourself. For once, I’m not trying to make a lewd pun here. As much as “Love on Top” sounds like innuendo, it really prioritizes self-love, which is made clear in “Ring Off.” If you have no love for yourself, how can you expect to share your love with others and receive love in return? Instead of chasing after people and their ever-changing desires (as Valentine’s Day recommends), give yourself permission to be selfish. Put your love on top.
So next year on February 15, I’m going to buy myself some discounted chocolate, cook a three-course meal for one, play some Kanye West, and sit across from my own adorable reflection. I hope you all join me.