As the streets turn blood-red with romance and the air thick with emotional tension, I sit in the corner of the driveway gym wrapping my hands, getting ready to pound my pent up emotions against the focus mitts. As the world outside slowly succumbs to the hype of the heart’s day, I'm here at this makeshift gym trying to execute drills and improve my fighting reflexes.
Hand wrap and scar tissue.
This type of scenario, in the run-up to Valentines Day, has become quite familiar to me--five consecutive years to be exact and unless a serendipitous event transpires within the next day or two, I’d be celebrating what is considered to be the most romantic day of the year in the crosshairs of the proverbial ‘firing squad’—yet again, for six straight years.
To the uninitiated, ‘execution by firing’ squad on Valentine’s Day is a term created by the hopeless romantics in my country to poke fun at the hapless single individuals who were not lucky enough to find their special someone in time for the heart’s day.
I’m actually not offended by the term. In fact, I find it hilarious. Jokes on them because they don’t know what they’re missing. Believe it or not, being single brings about limitless liberties and possibilities. Being unattached means you can come and go as you please and you don’t answer to anyone. I actually love being single and as a result, I’ve become too comfortable with being with myself. So much so that over the years, I’ve become disillusioned with relationships; hence my indifference to Valentines Day--not that I even bought into the hype to begin with when I was still ‘taken’ eons ago.
Execution by firing squad.
But I understand it’s value. Love is a gift and it should be celebrated. Having said that, not everyone is destined to keep it, especially it’s romantic facet. I would even argue that some are better off without it. What we need to realize is that love has many forms and to focus solely on one is quite frankly a disservice to its true meaning and significance.
And besides, the origin of Valentine’s Day is also a bit muddled and confusing and what we have at present is a commercialized and watered-down version of it. Call me unromantic but that’s the truth. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s perfectly okay to be single on Valentine’s Day. It’s neither a curse nor a gift but a license to have fun.
Which begs the question: Have I become too jaded to believe in love or relationships? Well, not really. In all honesty, it’s quite the contrary. Here’s what I truly believe: Love is a leap of faith and only those who are clueless or brave enough to jump are able to unlock it’s mysteries.
I’ve been there before and for better or worse, it was a transformative experience. But the ocean is not so inviting (yet). The water might be perfectly blue from the precipice but I’m all too aware of the razor-sharp corals that lie beneath the waves. I might take the plunge eventually and when I do, I hope that I would be wise enough not to belly flop obliviously into the abyss.
Diving into the abyss.
Happy Valentine’s day y’all. Fall in love, make mistakes, paint the town red! But whatever you do and to whomever you decide to do it with, always remember to protect yourselves at all times. Because romance, like contact sports, is not a solitary undertaking.