Given my previous columns for The Daily Tar Heel, it is most likely unsurprising to profess the following: Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.
I’ve written about having a crush so consuming it’s infuriating, broken phones symbolizing broken hearts, cleaning efforts exposing lingering heartache and the peculiar combination of Freud and first dates arousing internal guilt. Perhaps my Shakespeare professor said it best when they proclaimed to the class: “Kent is such a romantic.”
I am. The entire reason I’m an English major is because of a sophomore-year romantic poetry course. I became enamored with the verses of Keats, Byron and Wordsworth, resonating deeply with the profound melancholy of loves recklessly won and inevitably lost.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more understood than I did in that classroom, learning the bittersweet calculus of the heart. It was comforting to discover I was not alone. To realize that these intense, seemingly world-ending feelings were not unique to me. They were, and are, something we all share, representative of a universal truth. That love, in its many forms, is what unites us. Love makes us human.
Valentine’s Day celebrates this humanity. Love is connection. It is the desire to know and be known. Love is not exclusively romantic or sexual. I will confess I’ve been single every Valentine’s Day of my life. But that doesn’t matter. I’ll never forget throwing a Valentine’s Day party junior year and inviting my friend Annie. It was a cold, blustery February night in the middle of a hectic school week, and Annie had already made dinner plans with her long-term boyfriend. But Annie showed up.