Elena Stidham is a journalism and telecommunications major and writes “Loud and Clear” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I love you” is a term I have said the most to people who aren’t my romantic partner. Ever since I was a child these words have referred to my friends, my family and even my roommate. Yet as I got older I learned that these habits are almost always overshadowed by a completely different context: romance.
Love is a word that’s all-encompassing, binding everybody together in many types of ways. Yet, when people hear the world today, they immediately associate it with the love they give their romantic partner. That is not all there is to love.
We as a Hallmark society have taken the word love and the feeling and completely bastardized it. It’s a word that holds so much power, and in the English language it’s a word that holds so many meanings. But now it’s been shoved through a compressor to where romantic context is all that returns on the other side. It has lost the power it contains, and now it’s just another word that starts with the letter L.
I’m so sick that every Valentine’s Day, romance is the only focus. It shouldn’t have to be that way. In fact, in other parts of the world it isn’t.
According to , Valentine’s Day is a day where women appreciate the men in their life by giving them chocolate. Everybody important to them is included, it doesn’t matter the relation. A month later on March 14th, Japan celebrates again with White Day, which is essentially the same, except it’s the men giving chocolates to all the important women in their lives.
It reminds me of when we were all in grade school and would all bring valentines and give them to everybody in the class. It was about appreciation, not romance. It’s a display of affection that’s often unnoticed to the western world.
Japanese, like Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, and many other languages, have multiple forms of the word “love” with their own unique meanings for each one. Greek probably is the most infamous of these examples, with seven different words for love, four of which were once cited in the Bible and are still often heard about to this day.
I never understood why ”love” is only ever used in regards to romance. I could never seem to forget how when I was a child my friends in middle school would be weirded out by me kissing my parents or siblings on the lips instead of the cheek.
It’s all I ever grew up with. My mother’s side comes from Iraq, and when we’d greet, it would always be with a kiss. It’s how we showed affection. In many cultures, love is hardly ever spoken. It is only shown.
I have said the word to my best friend, and she says it to me. We use it in the specific context of our friendship, and how important we are to each other. When my siblings and parents say it to me and I return it, it’s because we’re family. There is nothing involving romance in any of these contexts.
Even though I have never seen “Parks and Recreation” past the first four episodes, I had heard about the iconic “Galentine’s Day” episode and I absolutely fell in love with the concept. It’s a concept I hope can be more normalised in society – the idea that Valentine’s Day can be celebrated and it doesn’t have to be romantic.
Because, let’s face it: romance is not the entirety of love.
I love my family, and every year my siblings and I would wake up to chocolates and plushies from each other and our parents, just to show them our appreciation. I love my best friend, and for the past few years we’ve been sending each other Valentine’s Day cards with the most heartfelt messages to show each other our care.
I love my roommate, and this year, she and I are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day by going to the mall and eating Chinese food before coming back to our room and doing face masks and play video games.
Love is not love anymore, but that’s just because we don’t use love to its entirety.