Emotions run amok as Valentine’s Day approaches. Many are excited about that special meal with their loved ones. Some get jittery over the prospect of being turned down for a date. Others are worried where to get the funds for that special gift on this day that Cupid pegged on the calendar with an arrow. And there are those who would rather escape the thought of Valentine’s for it is no more than a product of consumerism. Shoot Cupid?
Funny how my first (and last) Valentine’s date was incidental. The truth is, while I appear quite confident, I have my fair share of inferiority complex brought about by my size (think: baby elephant – at least, cute). A friend asked who my date would be that night. I said none. A thought popped up for us to go out. I initially shrugged it off, laughing it off as a joke. Not because I didn’t like her but because I thought I was undeserving of such activities bordering on what we almost always assume as romance.
But off we went. I vividly recall how my date was so understanding that as my car overheated, she patiently waited with me in the car before heading inside the restaurant. She held my hand and made me close my eyes. “Geez! This must be it!” Then she said: “Let us pray.” Oh. That night though was memorable as it ushered me into many opportunities of realizing how when you take time to know people, you can naturally fall for them.
True though to autobiographies, there is no such thing as fairy tales. So there went my shining armor, glistening in its own darkness, kept for the next Valentine’s date. But for years, I busy myself at Captain Ribbers, the restaurant I manage (Thank heavens – I have an excuse!).
There are many times that we get excited about the possibility of love in its sweetest sense. And almost (if not more) in the same gravity, we face the fear of loss, rejection and being hurt. “That is life,” so we console ourselves. Shoot Cupid?
So what is love?
Many associate love with the process of connecting one’s self to another, of making that relationship together and sharing experiences to build that kind of life that one would probably have a hard time seeing beyond his own horizon. Love to a great number of people involves that spark deep within, that sparkle in the eye, that tickling in the funny bone, that heart-pumping and jaw-dropping experience. As Imelda Marcos describes it: “Love is beauty… That which is not peripheral” (although she saw more of love in what met her eyes). The reality is: love is best imagined and given when it is reciprocated – when the person you love also loves you back (as much as you do).
While love is a marvelous and profound experience that each should embrace in whatever form, it can be dangerously blinding when misunderstood. It can cause depression, social paralysis. It can wreak havoc on your bank account. It can at some point make you think that similar to food, you can cook, fry, boil, bake then pop love in your mouth to fill the tummy.
But love transcends romance. It is hinged on that genuine desire to care and see yourself being cared for by others. It is you allowing for others to be a recipient of what you hope to receive and experience someday. It doesn’t have to conform to stereotypes and romantic branding; it can be as simple as a thoughtfulness act, a smile, a gesture of generosity, a show of responsibility, trust and respect. Love can be anything but yourself. True: For us to love others we first have to love ourselves; but it is only when we see ourselves in others that we can learn to articulate and demonstrate love in its most genuine form.
Sharing with you a poem I made that celebrates the complexity and complication of love:
Oh, Stupid! Shoot Cupid!
Why aim your arrow all day?
Yet so mighty!
Dare not drop it in hay.
Why can’t you be fair?
Treasure it to remember,
Some rather forget it in fear.
Why make it hard to dare?
And spend dinner
All in the name of funfair!
Why can’t you be sincere?
Smile like embers,
Some rather stay in their houses’ care.
You make people suffer-impair.
Have someone to smile with,
The rest smell their very breath’s air.
Will shoot you!
So run as fast as you can!
‘Coz if I see you,
And catch you,
Bet on some cruel fun!