Love is an action, never simply a feeling.
Updated: Feb 15
We could all do with a bit more love, but what kind of love are we talking about?
The ritual of Valentine’s Day has for the longest time felt like a yearly reminder to celebrate and cherish our romantic relationships whilst singing praises about our significant others. A couple of years ago, I recall being in the streets of Paris on this day, noticing how almost every person that walked past me was hustling a bouquet of inexpensive roses for their loved ones.
I guess, at first sight, buying roses for someone you love seems like a sweet thing. But there is something about the standardisation of how we’ve been taught to manifest our love to romantic partners on this day, by means of contributing to an insanely unethical supply chain of flowers amongst other rushed and unoriginal gifts (https://mondediplo.com/2020/03/11roses), that feels more and more disturbing to me. Instead of surrendering to the capitalist pressure of buying things we don’t need to prove our affection, we should take this time to reflect.
Ever since reading “All About Love: New Visions”, I have often had to turn to the words of bell hooks in order to find solace in my understanding of love. Her words have helped me in accepting that
“love is an action, never simply a feeling”, which expands much beyond the constraining understandings that we often have to describe it❣️
Love is beautiful, and it should be celebrated every day of the year. It manifests itself actively in the form of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust. It grows and lives in romantic relationships, but also and should be celebrated in our families, our communities, in times of happiness and in times of difficulties, and should be something that is practised by and for our individual selves.
As she claims, love can give us the strength to heal our wounds. Wounds that may have often occurred as a result of a violent series of circumstances, inherent to our capitalist and patriarchal systems.
In my growing understanding of love and care, I’ve learned to place queerness at the centre of it.
In the modern sense of the label, queerness operates as a rejection of the entire process of labelling in itself and rather tends to question the more tangibly political, such as economics, racial injustices and relationships towards the state (Shon Faye, What Does it Mean to be Queer?).
Valentine’s Day as we most commonly know it places an emphasis on relationships that do not question heteronormativity, relationships that dictate who we should love, who we spend time with, give our energy to and who is supposed to fill all of our needs.
Queerness forces us to question all of these deeply rooted understandings of love. Queerness expands our minds on the possibilities of how we can live, how we can relate to those around us, and how we can choose to understand intimacy and community otherwise.
Obviously, I'm posting this on the 15th because why conform to the norm?! 😉