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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Garner

Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day is a little strange, isn't it? A day to celebrate love. Just one. This day started out intended as something way different, but that’s a story for another time when we discuss pagan fertility rituals. Ok, just kidding. That day is probably never going to come, but go ahead and educate yourself. Google is awesome like that. My point here is this: we’ve made Valentine’s Day about love. So here we are. Having ONE day to talk about it. One day for a grand romantic gesture. One day to celebrate the person we choose to spend our time with. Seems like kind of a cop out to me. Love is hard as hell, in real life. It’s freaking work. And if you’re waiting for one day a year to celebrate the shit out of your partner, I hate to tell ya friends….but buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

This one day a year we focus on romance has me thinking a lot. Romance is something I’m realizing has been pretty heavily crafted and curated by television ads and movie sets. We watch these idyllic (and let’s be honest, pretty unrealistic) scenes on our TV’s and over time associate those as romance. Flower petals on the bed, a bubble bath for two….come on...those petals get everywhere and I personally enjoy my bath alone, so I can actually be warm. Not saying that can’t be your jam...but I also want to acknowledge that it doesn’t always play out the same in real life. There’s just never enough space. It’s like a shower together….cool for a few minutes, but then quickly turns into a pretty intense battle for the water. It’s like introducing whipped cream and/or chocolate into the bedroom. Someone always leaves a little sticky, and if you like expensive sheets as much as I do, this is not for you. But this is what we are shown, so we take it on. Candles, flowers, champagne, etc…

So these images, scenes and marketing pile up in our heads. We make it mean something, create expectations and desires from it. Meanwhile, my three-ring circus of a brain was making up another little story: I had this idea that someone that was romantic was probably simultaneously sort of fancy. This imaginary person likes expensive purses and always has a fresh manicure. She has her shit together. Her bras match her underwear. She would never have dog hair on her pants. She never has coffee stains on her shirt, and glides gracefully through life. It’s weird how our brains do this isn’t it? Take a tiny thing like loving romance and turn it into a character from a 2000’s romantic comedy? This character I created was demanding, high maintenance and required a lot of attention. I knew I didn’t want to be her. I liked old sneakers, cheap beer and camping. I’m kind of a mess, and I fall a lot. That couldn’t be me.

Turns out, I was wrong. I made this bitch up, in true Lindsey style. This year, I have done a metric shit ton of work on myself. I’ve been forced to face some of my own bullshit that I’ve somehow made it through life carrying around pretty successfully for 40 years. Through this work, I have also discovered something new about myself: turns out, I'm a deeply romantic person. I love romantic gestures, and to be told how special I am to my partner. I don’t necessarily care about traditional sentiments, like chocolate and flowers, but I adore a handwritten note, and a super intentional, thoughtful gift. I love nothing more than when my husband sends me a song that makes him think about me, and candlelight makes my whole heart happy. One year, he went online and found vintage postcards from one of my favorite places to hike….THAT did it. That is romance to me. I don’t dream of beds covered in flower petals (and obviously from the above, you know I don’t really get into introducing dairy into sex), but I do often think about him pulling me up off the couch and dancing to one of those lovely songs he sends me in our living room.

It’s taken me 40 trips around the sun to really even know this about myself, let alone declare it out loud. I always played it cool. I didn’t want to demand too much of the men I was with, because at the root of it, I thought if I asked “too much”, they’d leave. I wanted to be someone that was “easy” to be with. I didn’t want to need too much. I didn’t want to push them. Deep deep down, I knew they would get tired of it and head for the hills. This fear drove me into a pretty dark and lonely place a lot of the time, and I couldn't really share it. It was a vicious cycle, this fear of rejection. I let it be ok when date nights became nights on the couch mindlessly flipping through the channels. I said nothing when my partner just kinda “got by”, even though I deeply longed for something else. I sat quietly, deeply dissatisfied while inside I just longed for a little romance. Fuck this. Yeah...I said it. Fuck that. I get one life. I can ask for whatever it is I’d like, and learn to be ok with the fact that this might mean I don’t have the same people around at the end. of this whole shebang.

There’s a whole lot of shit it’s taken me probably too long to learn, but I refuse to sit quietly anymore. I am NOT fancy at all. I just spilled coffee on my old Barry Manilow concert tee that is my absolute favorite, and has a small hole in the armpit. My underwear doesn't match. I actually couldn’t find any of my favorite comfortable undies, so I skipped the sexy ones and just went without. What’s left of my pedicure looks a bit more like a map of Rhode island on one toe. This is who I am. But I still like romance, and to feel loved in a big way.

Today, I’m going to find a little romance that is all my own. It probably looks a bit more like a dive restaurant and a walk in the park holding his hand. There won’t be Champagne, but I’m sure there will be a good beer. I’ll ask for what I need and say what I love. Do it. Try it. You’ll be surprised who’s still around after you do. I promise. Find your own version of that bathtub or petal covered bed this weekend. Hell, maybe you do love those flower petals under your ass...if so, please do share how that goes. I’m so intrigued.

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