I readily admit that I have always been one of the more dubious, skeptical types when it came to Valentine’s Day. I never quite understood the thought process behind such trivial and often, frivolous gestures for expressing love. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine deeply challenged my views on Valentine’s Day. He shared with me that in other languages, there existed nearly forty ways of expressing the word, love, while for us English speakers, we were left with only one word. A thought then dawned upon me: I began wondering about how limited and narrow our perception and definition of love must be with only one word to represent all the various types and manifestations love can take. I propose for a more diverse and open interpretation to the many forms of love.

I am sure that I have not been the first to point out the limitations of using only one word to express love. I propose that rather than view Valentine’s Day from such a narrow definition of love, we instead take this opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful ways of expressing love. Whether that love be the nostalgia of one’s first crush to cherishing the company of good friends to treating yourself out to a manicure, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the infinite facets of an emotion that goes beyond our one word for expressing love.

As an individual who identifies as gay, I know that I will allow myself, for the first time, to celebrate the nostalgia of my very first crush and how wonderful it felt. The word love in its traditional meaning evokes too strong of an emotion that cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed having my first crush on a guy, and I cannot help but use this Valentine’s Day as a moment to contemplate the wonder behind the feelings of how real and affirming it felt. Who knew how empowering celebrating Valentine’s Day could be? I know that for me it will be a celebration of the deep friendships that I have developed over the course of my college journey as well as how far I have come towards loving myself. For Valentine’s Day, I hope that each of you will find something worth celebrating for-I challenge each of you to expand the definition of love beyond the traditional sense to all the many shapes and forms it can take. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael Lau

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