We Must Spread Love, Now More Than Ever

Conversation hearts cannot inspire dialogue—at least not the sort we need right now. “Text Me” and “U R Cute” will merely leave a chalky taste on your tongue. But, as Valentine’s Day continues to evolve, it’s obvious that one day dedicated to cardboard cupids and heart-shaped chocolates will not spread enough love to sustain our increasingly difficult fight against hate.

In today’s volatile political climate, it’s easy to drown underneath waves of anger. Leaders on one end of the spectrum regularly infuriate those on the opposing side, sparking outrage that results in an epic game of emotional Ping-Pong. Those wishing to instill fear go to extremes to cultivate animosity, while those working to alleviate worries aim to promote unity.

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Source: Getty Images

But on this, the greeting card holiday dedicated to love, we must look beyond romantic pursuits in order to show our affection for those who face undue persecution. Border walls and religious bans pollute the air where all the love’s supposed to be. We must treat this day as an opportunity to realign our own thought processes so we may continue to fight the good fight under the veil of justice, not disgust. If these destructive measures remain unchecked, our resistance also runs the risk of becoming disconnected from its primary purpose.

Going forward, we must pause frequently to reflect. We must collect our thoughts and reestablish our goals so we never lose sight of the love and togetherness on which this movement was built. We must commit to small actions and gestures every day so we never abandon the vital message behind our efforts.

Defend those who face unmerited hatred because their skin tone doesn’t match the winter snow. Black, Mexican, or Muslim—show these marginalized groups that their contributions to society cannot be overshadowed by the misdeeds of an extreme few. Pop that bubble you’ve been living in your entire life and engage those who don’t look or think like you. Despite popular belief, love isn’t blind. Instead, love grows from the willingness to open our hearts and minds to new people and possibilities.

But, above all else, we must not forget to love ourselves. Much of the anxiety plaguing our nation resides in the hearts of those who are unhappy with themselves. Insecure individuals project their internal doubts onto those who seem weak, punishing the innocent merely so they may reinforce their false confidence. They assert their supposed power by oppressing those who have very little power themselves.

We have the capacity to inspire revolutionary love—love that bonds people of all races, genders, and religions—but we’ve been complacent for far too long. Now’s the time to stand up for what we believe. Now’s the time to lend our voice to the voiceless. Now’s the time to spread love, not hate. Cupid doesn’t have enough arrows to take up arms against the foolish leaders of America. But if we, the people, march forth hand-in-hand, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.

Source: Dreamy Addictions

Source: Dreamy Addictions

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Drop Your Drawers: On Society’s Inability to Discern Between Love and Sex

Valentine’s Day may just be the new Christmas. Only, instead of finding pleasure in giving, it’s receiving that yields the ultimate reward. The “love struck” flock to the florist and clamber for candy. But whether you’re buying fancy chocolates and sparkly jewelry, or actually hiring a hooker, face the facts: Valentine’s Day is a front for just that—prostitution. Either way, you are doling out the dollars in exchange for sex.

This year, Zales, a supposedly reputable and very well known jewelry retailer, hopped on the commercial bandwagon right on schedule. But, instead of tapping into your tear ducts with the clichéd “father at war” narrative, they decided to slither underneath the sheets with the likes of basically every lingerie and underwear retailer in the country (though they are certainly classier than, say, a sheer maid’s uniform). First, we see a lovely young couple sitting down to a fancy meal, dressed to the nines. They go through the typical motions of a dinner date, until suddenly…

He whips out the jewelry box, her eyes glaze over as she examines the contents, and then she extends her hand suggestively just as the upper left hand corner of the screen reads: The Check Please Store. That’s when it hit me square in the eye—red doesn’t mark February 14th as a  day of love, but instead makes reference to the promiscuity that most often misconstrue as love. He may not have handed her hundreds of dollars outright, but that mystery item implies his underlying hope that she will “repay” him to show her gratitude. (We all know why they’re calling it the “check please” store.)

Yet, while the “bitter” members of society condemn Valentine’s Day for being a conspiracy devised by greeting card companies and chocolatiers, Victoria’s Secret is running a sale on bras that push your breasts up and out, completely defeating the purpose of a bra, and lace panties that ride up in the rear, giving you a perpetual wedgie that makes you feel awkward, not sexy.  However, all these items are sold under the assumption that you won’t be wearing much for long.

Sex does not equal love, but society is too busy copping a feel to realize that the heart does not reside in one’s undergarments. Love radiates from your commitment to stand by someone in good times and bad, not your willingness to get naked. Coughing up cash to coerce your sweetheart into bed displays selfish intent—and selfish, love is not. (Don’t misconstrue my meaning, either. This can go both ways. We live in a time where stupidity is split 50/50. Women are just as guilty as men.)

Keep those pennies. Share your feelings, and do so frequently. One day a year? That’s for emotion cheapskates. Money can’t buy you love… but it may afford you a venereal disease or two.

The Pressure’s Off: Valentine’s Day in Retrospect

Just as ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ claims “they should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves”, I’ve always wondered who thought giving a tiny, diapered child a bow and arrow was a good idea. Considering I’ve spent my entire life BB Gun-free for fear of losing an eye, I’m convinced that this winged, weapon-wielding weirdo can’t possibly be healthy for humanity. (Though many wish they could blame their relationship woes on this fantastical fool, I’m sure.)

But, since we can’t place direct blame on the illusive Cupid, the brunt of the blame falls on our significant other’s shoulders.  Men have a reputation for avoiding Valentine’s Day like the plague, while all the ladies of the land build their expectations higher than their heels will help them reach.  Such high hopes leave both parties doomed, destined for disappointment and failure.  Men feel pressured to spend money are their girlfriends and wives, thinking the more lavish the gift, the better, while many women feel unloved if they don’t receive the fanciest chocolates or the finest jewelry.

Yet once you move past all the pink and red hearts, heart-shaped doilies and chocolate boxes covered in red cellophane, you’ll notice that we’ve once again turned a day based on meaning into a day fixated on materialism.  But all the diamonds and stuffed teddy bears in the world could never replace the joy that comes with a shared experience.  Whether it’s an extravagant vacation, or just a simple dinner and a movie, time spent together is much more meaningful than money spent on each other.  Material items cannot compare to memories, for these gifts are merely momentary.  Some gifts break the barrier, but most of those bought in the last minute haste go forgotten days later.

Memories withstand the test of time and inevitably bring a couple closer, for shared experiences are what help us build those unbreakable bonds.  You cannot reminisce about that box of chocolates your love gave you last year (unless you’re lamenting over the weight you gained, of course), but you will always have those memories to hold onto for a lifetime.  To know someone wants to give you their time is the most precious gift of all and exemplifies their love through action, not empty gestures.  And when you stop to realize how very little time we have with those we love, these moments are true blessings that money could never buy.

Cupid, Pull Back Your Bow

Walking into a card store at this time of year will make you do one of three things:

A) Depress you, because the array of reds and pinks remind you that blue is the only color you’ll be thinking of on Valentine’s Day.
B) Frustrate you, because the beloved 14th of February is looming ever closer and you have no idea whether you should get your valentine a simple card that won’t give away your deep, undying devotion just yet, or go all out and get them that lovey dovey, sentimental card that proves they are the one you can’t live without.
C) Make you want to scream and hide, because you just can’t believe how sappy some of the poems are and you’re absolutely flabbergasted as to why they get printed, let alone bought. (These are the kinds of cards that cause Wilford Brimley mustaches to grow and cavities to appear, the only cure being medical supplies delivered directly to your door and a good ol’ root canal.)

But while Russell Stover and 1-800-FLOWERS are basking in the scent of fine chocolate truffles and dozens of roses, men and women alike are pulling their hair out just to prove their love for one another on a specific day each February. What most don’t acknowledge, however, is that Cupid doesn’t take a 364 day breather between shifts – his arrow-shooting gig is a 24/7 commitment.

Love doesn’t always wait for 30 degree weather so you’ll have something to warm up to, nor does it hold off until February so it can melt snow as it melts hearts. Love is in the air, as they say, it’s every sight and every sound. If two people really love each other, and make sure each other knows, with or without having to say the words, then they don’t need a specially designated day to tell them when to dote on one another.

Valentine’s Day, instead, has become the ideal occasion for the insecure. While men dread its approach, women use the day as a barometer to gauge exactly how much their significant other cares about them. The barrage of jewelry advertisements is enough to make you realize that Valentine’s Day has fallen into the commercialized gutter, like most other occasions and holidays. If your kiss doesn’t literally begin with Kay (Jewelers, that is), you’re more than likely going to be digging yourself out of the doghouse for failing your Valentine’s Day responsibility to make your lady friend feel like the queen she is… or thinks she is, anyway.

But forced acknowledgement of one’s feelings for another completely negates the point of showing such feelings in the first place, for feeling trapped by obligation doesn’t exactly scream undying devotion.

What we need to do, instead, is take our own cues and attempt to perpetuate the special sentiments of holidays and occasions the whole year through. Every year, we wish we could keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout, yet we rarely see any effort made. Like Christmas, Valentine’s Day is an occasion that carries with it a beautiful message that has become distorted through the passage of time.

Forget the roses, chocolates and jewelry. Ignore the cards and bring Valentine’s Day back to the bare minimum, when it was not the quality of the gift, but the gesture that mattered. Do not reserve your affections for one or two occasions a year, and don’t limit your love to your significant other. Spread love every day, in every way, to everyone. Surprise a loved one with a gift, perhaps something you randomly came across at the store that reminded you of them. Call up a relative you haven’t heard from in a while. Donate a few dollars to a charity you support and show your love and care for humanity as a whole. But whatever you do, don’t postpone these actions. Start shooting some love arrows of your own and give ol’ Cupid a run for his money.