Love Is Authentic
Collecting Sounds and Shades of the Most “Plagiarized Feeling” in the Universe.
It is Not about St. Valentine’s Day (spiced up by personal confessions)
“Valentine told me who's to go
Feelings he's treasured most of all
The teachers and the football star
It's in his tiny face
It's in his scrawny hand
Valentine told me so
He's got something to say, it's Valentine's Day
The rhythm of the crowd Teddy and Judy down…”
That’s how David Bowie sings about Valentine’s Day I actually don’t want to speak about. This article is mostly aimed at those who successfully survived this silly celebration and woke up revitalized, better-off than yesterday. Anyway, I have to ask, isn’t it awkward for you that not a mainstream celebrity decided to create a song about the most mainstream holiday in the world? Nah, it’s not even a “space oddity” because Love affects everyone – corny minds, avant-garde eggheads, rockers and rappers, the rich and the poor; Love does not discern cultural backgrounds and ethnicities, Love does not have political views and it transcends all religions, though always being a part of something divine; Love is something one-of-a-kind for every individual, once you fathom it. On the contrary, have you ever asked yourself a question – doesn’t Valentine’s Day distort a genuine meaning of love? It tremendously raises our consumerism levels – just imagine how many ridiculous and overpriced presents people buy, especially if they decide to make last-minute gifts. Besides, more and more people expect flowers, candies, and other stuff they crave too much, and if they do not receive those gifts, it brings much frustration. This holiday instigates dramas all over the world, and if we could turn those exaggerated stress levels into forces of nature, it would cause terrible tsunamis, earthquakes, and floods across the globe. I already envision activists with mottos, “Do not celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, save the planet.” Okay, let it be my overstatement, but I’ve also been one of the “sufferers”.
Before you start torturing me for these weird thoughts, I’d like to assure you that I regard giving presents reciprocally as one of the most wonderful things human beings can do. But then, I can’t help thinking, even if you are smart enough to prepare a meaningful and useful present beforehand, do you get the same attitude of your “significant other” in return? Since I’ve used scare quotes, I allude to the situation when there is only one caring person in the relationship. It may sound slightly narrow-minded to assume that gifts are so important that they can reinvigorate or ruin the couple. Yet, when one person constantly tries to come up with creative ideas to make pleasant surprises, but another one only accepts gifts and pretends to ponder on making something special but never does it… then it seems to be simply not right. This is a type of a one-sided relationship. It is more likely that if you give but do not receive presents at Valentine’s Day or New Year or any other popular holiday, then you will not live to see a long-awaited gift in your hands. Despite my aversion to overly romantic commercial holidays, they actually turn into practical means of relationship “validation” unless you represent an alternative couple who prefers inventing gifts spontaneously, not depending on a calendar date.
What are other reasons why I dislike Valentine’s Day? The major motive is that it truly hurts being single and seeing all those smiling couples around you. And I say it not because I am single every time this pink-glasses holiday approaches – I’ve heard stories, I’ve contemplated people’s pain. Even if you are self-sufficing and free-spirited individual, you are still a human who carries an incredible specter of emotions within your body and soul. You may laugh at stereotypes and trivial traditions, and you will definitely not cry if you do not obtain a valentine’s card, but there are moments when you feel lonely. If it somehow happens that your loneliness absorbs you during the Valentine’s Day, the overall excitement may only make things worse. You are alone, you need someone dear by your side to share your emotions and understand your inner world, but he or she is not there. You have not found that perfect soulmate and lover yet. While you live a normal life, satiated with personal goals and achievements, you are continuously aware of that small chamber in your heart that is filled with void; indeed, something is missing. Sadly, we also have an evil instrument that destructively affects people’s self-concept – social media. It is better to be logged out of all your social accounts at Valentine’s Day to avoid the annoying romantic mess that often reflects artificially created “miraculous couple’s lives”. It seems that people take part in odd contests called “Whose bouquet is bigger?”, “Whose smartphone is more expensive?”, “Whose dress is more elegant?”, “Whose boyfriend is more handsome”, etc… Seriously? These are narcissistic games that scream “I am better than you, I am loved, and you are not. I feel sorry for you, but just look how pretty I am!” No, people, this is wrong!
At the Blue Side
No matter how strong you are, it is okay to be conscious of your own fragility, it is okay to be heartbroken. And broken hearts are everywhere. We long for romantic relationships. This is our nature. The wickedest thing is that we are susceptible to sudden passions that destroy our ability to focus on faithfulness and genuineness. We destroy hearts because we like new sensations, we like new toys… Alright, calm down, there is room for optimism. We are still able to Love devotedly; some of us just need more time to discover our best halves.
By the way, the above-mentioned David Bowie’s song embodies a neutral interpretation of this “fever day”. Meanwhile, one of my favorite songs related to February 14 is “Blue Valentines” by Tom Waits. Before you listen to it, I must warn you against elated romantic expectations. This song does not tell about a happy end or beginning, it is more about the unforgotten separation that still hurts. This Valentine is not red or pink, it is blue, which denotes sadness. I like this song pretty much because it sounds incredibly sincere. With this in mind, I realize that unhappy emotions are more powerful ones, and, as you could have guessed my favorite saying – it is more authentic.
“She sends me blue valentines all the way from Philadelphia
To mark the anniversary of someone that I used to be
And it feels like a warrant is out for my arrest
Baby you got me checking in my rearview mirror
That’s why I'm always on the run it's why I changed my name
And I didn't think you'd ever find me here
To send me blue valentines like half-forgotten dreams
Like a pebble in my shoe as I walk these streets
And the ghost of your memory baby it’s the thistle in the kiss
It’s the burglar that can break a rose's neck
It’s the tatooed broken promise I gotta hide beneath my sleeve
I'm gonna see you every time I turn my back…”
I noticed I write poetry when I am in a melancholic mood, when something upsetting happens, when someone has disappointed me. During those dejected states of mind, I experience the strangest strength of creation despite the fact that it stems from the antagonistic inspiration. While questioning the authenticity of Love, I cannot obtain or comprehend the desired answers, I end up having more puzzling questions. During one of those reflective hours, I suddenly saw an image of a child, who came to me, took me by the hand, and asked, “Dreamy girl, do you know what love is?” I pictured this angel-like child so vividly, which enthused me to write a poem I would like to share with you.
“The New Old Ballad of Love”
A child has asked me, “What is Love?”
My eyes reflected moonily,
And something shone pellucidly,
My senses lost their usual course.
There is no word that would behove,
Expressing this celestial curse…
I tried to answer bravely though
The wings of the colossal bird
Turned into waves that whirled and blurred
My consciousness. My sanity.
Was it a swallow or a crow?
It didn’t mean serenity.
“Oh lovely owl, I wish I could
Give answers no one understood.
Well, Love resembles murky woods
Where Doppelgangers-Robin Hoods
Hide darker sins, and doing good
Is their mask. Our hearts pollute
Each other’s hopes. All noble deeds
Have poisoned roots of trees that bleed,
And flowers morph into grey weeds,
Believers mourn and lose their creed
While casting pearls – the same old beads
Made of thin glass. The game defeats
All players here. You start to scream
When mirrors can’t reflect your dreams,
When drowning in the muddy streams
Is everything you feel. It seems
You have been fooled and nothing gleams
Inside your depth. Tranquil moonbeams
Will comfort you within your bed,
Where lying pale and almost dead,
You’ll recollect all books you read
About romance. You were misled,
Oh God, again. The fateful thread
Is torn by thorns we grew instead…”
I couldn’t tell you what Love is…
I pondered on its ghastly end.
It’s beautiful when it begins,
When you’re so glad you’ve found a friend
Who’s slowly turning into You,
Your own reflection, your remorse,
The joy infects you like a flu,
Resembling lobster or sea horse.
Love is absurd but it exists,
Sometimes, we ruin so many lives
But resurrect like phoenixes
As nothing happened. Sharpen knives
And rise your swords, love warriors!
The time has come to conquer more…
Change faces, become foreigners
To tell new victims “I adore…”
I wish I knew how true love lasts,
Surviving storms without disguise,
Avoiding spells sly demons cast
On feeble souls. I touched the skies
But then I fell and lost my wings,
Luciferous they were… I am
A puppet now ‘cause heavy strings
Surround my neck. A traffic jam
Inside my mind spreads heat and gust.
I hope you’ll pass your tough exam
And I will fly away. I must…
A child has asked me, “What is Love?”
I said, “You’ll tell me when you know.
It shouldn’t be a boxing glove
That hits you deeply. Love’s tres beau,
It listens to outlandish songs,
Dear muses chant inside your heart.
It’s endless; faithful like the swans
Whose long embrace resembles art..."
I’m scared I’ll never find true love
‘cause all my fables dissipate,
I change a raven for a dove
And close another madman’s gate.
I want to love you more than life,
But mere existence echoes hate,
I know I’ll never be your wife,
I’m doomed for Storyteller’s fate.
How many stories will I tell
Before I see angelic eyes?
They’ll take me to their sacred well,
Oblivion is my Paradise…
No matter what fatal symbols whirl in my head from time to time, I would not like our Reality to seize hold of all the flat notes – there is always a place for the sharp ones, oh, jubilant ones. Human life embodies an equilibrium between the joy and sorrow, yin and yang that dwell within our unique microcosms. We must transcend our fears and find our special keys to happiness, along with willingness to share it with the world.
And on that happy note, I have found a beautiful jazz standard called “My Funny Valentine” – who knows, maybe it is able to heal broken hearts. My beloved version of this song is by Chet Baker. As your taste may be different from mine, you can choose Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or anyone else who smiles at your heart.
"My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart
But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay, little valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine's Day"
Do not be afraid to immerse in Love and turn every day into your personal Valentine, just like your favorite jazz musician sings. Though affection is not always what it seems, though we struggle with searching for that Pure and Authentic incarnation of Love, there is always hope that we will not need Valentine’s Day to remind us about the dearest person, as he or she will be near at all times.