As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts invariably turn to romantic love. Though not limited by the calendar, I’m not immune to such reflection on that day.
The nature and very definition of love have always been sources of discussion and debate, likely because our individual beliefs and perceptions provide the potential for an inexhaustible combination of elements that must prevail to validate the emotion that seems, for many, to be an elusive myth.
Despite cynical influences and disheartening times, love persists as it always has and always will. It is an intangible force that moves us to kind gestures or urges us to commit despicable acts. It is duplicitous in its power to hurt us while being that which also can heal us. It strengthens us, and it makes us weak.
Love knows no boundaries. It keeps not a single direction but trespasses new terrain and walks worn paths for the sake of its own realization. No race, gender, age, size, weight, ethnicity, shape, philosophy or creed can bar its ingress. We are helpless to its egress as well.
Though some set aside a special day to honor this most pleasantly indefinable emotion, I feel fortunate to celebrate it each day. For more than 32 years I have been in love with Rebecca Ricks, someone I’ve often referred to as “my other half,” though this is actually a misnomer, in my humble opinion. At least it is in my case.
In our relationship, I believe we have come to respect and love ourselves in order to fully be able to love each other.
So, in honor of the approaching holiday, I offer this to my Valentine:
(for Rebecca Ricks)
You are not my better half or other half,
and neither am I yours.
You are, as I am,
a whole, perfectly-flawed person.
You deserve a person who is not reliant on another
to be fully realized,
and I do, as well.
Likewise, you do not complete me,
nor do I complete you.
I would not diminish you by suggesting I am necessary
for you to be complete.
You would not settle for someone
who is not a whole person,
someone whose essence is dependent on someone else.
We are whole.
We are complete.
We are ourselves together.
I can imagine my life without you,
and I know you can imagine life without me.
It is how we know we do not want those lives,
a comparison that makes us appreciate
every day we are together.
I am not nothing without you,
and you are not nothing without me.
We have been —
and will continue to be —
something to everyone in our lives,
everything to each other.
What we have with each other
does not divide,
does not diminish,
does not dissolve
who we are;
who we are:
two complete, imperfect individuals
completely and perfectly in love.