There are these moments, brief and unexpected, when I notice things that are in front of me that I tend to overlook. I cannot tell if it’s because I spend so much time in my head that I overlook the world around me or if I’m not as observant as I think I am. In these moments I realize little things that surprise me or remember the little things I forget. It wasn’t so long ago that I loved watching romantic movies, reading romcom books and had crushes on celebrities or some guy at work. But now I’ve changed, for better or for worse, into someone who still loves watching romantic movies but who doesn’t put much value into them. I read my romcom books but they are only for a story and a good laugh. And there are no more crushes. I’ve met someone who erases this need or want, really, to be giddy about some other cute guy.
It’s amazing how this sort of thing happens to you when you aren’t expecting it. One minute you are cold and focused on wanting to be someone you think you should be and the next you are accepting the person you are, who is after all, the person you ought to be. The person I wanted to be would be free of all these burdening things like death, debt, failure. That person could climb their way to the top honestly, alone, and could look in the mirror and be proud of the reflection. Maybe that person could have friends, even a significant other, but they aren’t as important as the success of coming from nothing and becoming something. The person I am is incredibly flawed, shaped by experiences, burdened by things I can’t necessarily change like death, debt, failure. But I’m not alone; I’ve made friends and the best part is, I’ve found someone with whom I can share my life.
If there is something I want to do, succeed in, then I will do what I can honestly. But if I fail or I don’t go as far as I would like, I’ll still be proud of the reflection in the mirror. I may not be as thin as I would like, or as successful as I have dreamed, but….well I can work on those things. I can lose weight, or I can learn to accept that I won’t ever be as perfect as I want to be. I can be healthy and happy, I won’t compromise that.
As for success, I have come from nothing, poor and at one point, on welfare. We went to the food pantry, we had food stamps, Section 8 living, and hand me down clothes. We were always scraping by, and this makes me no better or worse than anyone else. I’m not defined by my experiences, but they shape me. Now I can appreciate the struggles because although I’m not done struggling, I’m not back where I started. I live in NYC, in an apartment I can afford with food in my refrigerator and clothes I bought in my drawers. I have success, it’s minimal but it’s a start.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for love. You could have expected me to write a post about the glory of romance, of meaningful kisses, and quote people who have lived longer and experienced more because it’s Valentine’s Day. But this is a different kind of love I’m sharing. This is the love of life, of people, of acceptance and of possibilities. I don’t know what all of you are doing for Valentine’s Day but I know I intend on spending it (eventually) with the man I love, eating a piece of chocolate, being grateful for all the things I can do and smiling at my extreme fortune. Although few things in life are absolute, I’d like to believe that with this thing called love and a generous heaping of acceptance, you truly find absolute happiness. And that’s something I can strive for, maybe not just this Valentine’s Day but every day that I’m privileged enough to live, accept, and love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!