I’m related to St. Valentine! Well, at least I’m related to the Valentines - on my mom’s side, by chance. It’s always made me have an appreciation for the holiday. Yes, it is a super-saccharine, hyper-hallmarked, and commercially-contorted holiday, but I still believe in celebrating love, because, love is what has driven ALL the good things in my life.
I understand that the love everyone thinks of for this holiday is the romantic love, the indulgent love, the lustful, passionate, and sweep-you-off-your feet love. And while that should absolutely be celebrated, I want to encourage everyone to celebrate all the places where love is found in their lives.
I’m talking about celebrating family love – the family into which you were born, OR the family you choose; BOTH can be valid and deserving of celebration! I’m talking about the love of friends – heck, they may spend more time with you than much of your family in your adult years. I’m talking about the love of our connections with mentors and confidants with whom we share our deepest insecurities and greatest weaknesses.
Do you love your job? If so, CONGRATULATIONS! You are incredibly lucky to have found something that brings you happiness AND income – celebrate it! Do you find yourself surprisingly interested the topics you are learning in school? Did you discover something for which you never knew you had a talent, and you are throwing yourself completely into it? Is there a topic that you found out you’re great at teaching, and now you’re passing your knowledge and skill onto others? YAS QUEEN! GET IT, AND RELISH EVERY MINUTE!
I’m talking about the love of your hobbies and passions. Do you love singing your heart out in a musical or at karaoke? Do you love playing sports? Do you love creating digital content with a few of your friends as part of an online group dedicated to providing platforms for LGBTQIA+ artists? AWESOME – celebrate your passions!
Immersing ourselves in our passions and with the people who elevate us, positions us to feel love and loved. Opening ourselves up to learning, to teaching, to supporting others, to being vulnerable, to feeling insecure allows us to grow. That growth is where love is found, and that love deserves celebration.
This Valentine’s day, celebrate the loves of your life – your family, your pets, your friends, your hobbies, and yourself. Let’s transform this holiday from a day where singles feel sidelined and couples feel controlled by clichéd traditions and hetero-normative expectations. Let’s transform it into a day when we celebrate ALL the things we love, with the people we love.
Gary Bernard DiNardo
Executive Director for We Thr3e Queens Productions