Kathleen’s Corner: Valentine’s Day and friendships

I’m the luckiest person in the world.

It’s not what you think– I didn’t win the lottery, and I’m not typing this from a leprechaun’s den at the end of some rainbow. Those prospects always seemed a little too good to be true for me anyways. In this case, I feel lucky because for the first time in awhile, I can’t find the words I want to type. Column writing can be a challenge. I know exactly what I want to capture in my writing, but it’s difficult when you only have an entire dictionary’s worth of words at your disposal. But I’m going to try, so bear with me.

It’s February. Once again, it’s about time the masses collectively obsess over relationship statuses and compare their lives to painfully adorable movie plots, whilst ruining their resolutions to eat right all for the sake of chocolates in velvet boxes. Can you blame them? In elementary school, things seemed so simple with our painted shoe boxes full of Dollar Store cards and lollipops. We were all given affection in some way or another, whether we appreciated it or not.

After some personal reflection of my own relationships in life, I’ve decided there’s something we don’t place enough value on during Valentine’s season: our friendships. This month, all of our attention shifts towards clichés. There’s such a polarization associated with this holiday, too– you’re either boycotting and lamenting Hallmark’s evil capitalistic schemes, or you’re a soft, ignorantly idealistic, romantic little spawn of Cupid. I digress. Anyways, we place so much value upon what we either already have, or what we desire, in terms of love this month. But impatient or not, it seems we overlook the most reliable source of warmth, affection, and happiness we do have — friends.

Real friends are long-lasting. They know your order at the East Penn Diner, and they tease you for your lack of mathematical talent. They know your favorite Disney movies in exact order. When you’re sad, thinking about them makes life alright for awhile. There’s a certain security and comfort in knowing you can laugh, cry, and even embarrass yourself oh so terribly with your friends. But that’s the best part: there’s no embarrassment because they don’t judge you.

What I’m trying to say is that, although we might try and seek affection from a romantic relationship, or lack thereof, we don’t realize that the real love we crave is usually sitting right in front of our noses, or in class, the driver’s seat, or on the couch watching television with us. Friends are reliable like that. They stick with you, even through the rather mundane aspects of life. Over time, we get used to friends being there with us, and we forget how melancholy life would seem if they weren’t. 

So this month, while the whims of Valentine’s Day come and go, don’t forget that if you’re lucky, you have all the love you need in the bonds of your best friendships. 

Read this column and more in The Stinger’s February print issue, out next week.

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