I almost didn’t post anything for this week’s WordPress photo challenge, because I don’t post recognizable pictures of people on my blog. Then I was at the store and saw the display of which this is a small piece, and decided that would work.
The topic for the week is Beloved. In another couple of weeks we here in the US will be celebrating Valentine’s Day, It’s supposedly a holiday focused on love, but it has become an over-the-top commercialization of flowers, chocolate, and anything pink or red. Worse, it’s become a make-or-break challenge to display one’s love for another in a way that is exactly romantic enough. Lots of folks, mostly men but women as well, are cruising displays like this one right now, wondering whether the heart-shaped chocolates are creamy enough, the heart-stamped gift bag sparkly enough, the red-furred stuffed bear cuddly enough. Then we need to worry about flowers (roses? what color? how many?) and, heaven forbid, jewelry.
Why do we cede our expressions of love to corporations? Because it’s often hard to say what we mean. We’ve bought into the narrative that there’s a language of spending money more important than the language of words. And it’s a loud language: by one estimate Americans are expected to spend almost $20 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. That’s nearly $150 apiece. Is that what love means to us now?
Apparently it is.
I’ve been married for 42 years, and from the beginning of our relationship my husband and I have never felt the need to mark this holiday in any special way. We figure if we love each other, we already know it, and there’s no need for special heart-shaped sparkly gifts on this one day of the year.
However, you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate this holiday of love, I hope that you find love and companionship in your own life. Know that people care about you.
Posted in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: Beloved