This morning I found myself thinking about realtionships. I am intrigued by our preoccupation with love and the idea of Valentines day. So I decided to do some research. I read that V day goes back centuries, and like all great Hallmark occasions it was originally celebrated by the Pagans. They honored the feast day of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival dedicated the Roman God of Agriculture. (How romantic!) Apparently the festival saw a pretty hardcore blind dating ritual take place in Rome, where all the single women would put their names into a pot and the bachelors of the city would pick a name out of the bowl, this resulted in each match being paired; for a YEAR. (Seriously Tinder! Eat your heart out!) All cynicism aside, apparently these matches often ended in marriage. But who knows? Whether it is fact or fiction, I found it quite amusing all the same. Even back then, centuries ago, people were in love with the idea of finding the perfect match and living happily ever after.
I have always had a good idea of what love is. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by the types of relationships that gave me high hopes and even higher expectations. I had strong male role models, between my Grandad who was an old school gentleman and my Dad, who is one of the great loves of my life. They are the two men who I will forever compare guys to. My Grandad was so in love with my Grandmother right up until his last breath – he idolised her. Nana was a woman who loved fashion and took great pride in her style. Her hair was always immaculate and she had a shoe obsession that would rival Imelda Marcos! Sadly, four years before she passed away she had a severe stroke which left her entirely paralysed down one side of her body and wheelchair bound. After that, Grandad did everything for her. He did her make-up every day and took her to the hairdressers every Saturday. He never let her lose herself. Valentine’s day actually makes me miss him just a little more, he would always mark the occasion with flowers or some token of love – never because he had to, but because he cared about making me feel special. I often think about the last bunch of yellow roses he gave me and smile because I was so lucky to have had such a great man in my life.
As for my parents, they still act like teenagers around each other half the time. They are always making fun of each other and I regularly find them holding hands on walks and smiling at each other. Mum even laughs at Dad’s terrible jokes from time to time! Yet, they can take each other down a peg or two with just a few sharp words if one of them is out of line. Neither of them put up with any nonsense from the other and I love them for it. My mum is an inspirational woman. She is so independent, but still loves so deeply.
My parents have shown me that in order to be really happy you have to be strong and independent first. You can’t be two halves of the one soul, you have to be two fierce souls that choose to be together because you help to bring out the best in each other and both make life that little bit better. I have learnt from my own experience however, that if you wrap yourself up too tightly in another person and they become your entire world you are can miss out on lots of what that the rest of the world has to offer – you need a healthy balance.
Each relationship that I have been in has taught me something. I have learnt a lot about what I want and maybe just as importantly about what I don’t want. Today I woke up as a single woman on Valentine’s day, for the first time since I was 18 years old. I thought I might feel down or be full of nostalgia, but instead I felt lifted. The expectation I had of feeling like a Bridget Jones-esk character all day was quickly erased by the inner voice that is getting stronger and better at reminding me that I am the pilot of my life and the queen of my own happiness. I am grateful I got to experience this feeling today. Being able to find joy and positivity by yourself is a powerful tool we all have.
When I started writing this post this morning on the train, I didn’t really know where I was going with it. I wanted to talk about how you can be happy standing on your own two feet and being by yourself, even on the most romantic day of the year. I believe when you are truly whole and content with your independence, when you have an open mind and an open heart the world is full of wonderful people waiting to meet you and that everyone deserves and is capable of living happily ever after.
Written with love,
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