Even Artichokes Have Hearts.

I want to start off by saying that I feel guilty that I consistently post links to other people's stuff on here. But you know... inspiration comes from somewhere. I honor the person who can find it within themselves on a constant basis, but that person isn't me. So, you know... I'm guilty of being inspired.
Today I was reading THIS, again. I love this website. It makes you think, and I suppose that reading it has become such a habit for me for that reason alone. What can I say? I like to use my brain. If I had brain muscles, I'd want them to look like this:
...and then I'd be like, "whoa, Brain, I am impressed by your buffness. Now please go buy shoes that don't look like overturned canoes." 
Anyway, now that I've been overly creepy, I can get to my point. It's almost Valentine's day. My favorite holiday, and if you follow my blog you know that it has nothing to do with presents, boys, or fancy dinners for me. It DOES have to do with a day centered around opening yourself up and being loving with the people you care about. It's a celebration of heart and appreciation. I always sort of laugh at people who talk about it and say, "Well I don't celebrate Valentine's Day because it's a Hallmark holiday and I believe that EVERY day should be special." I call bull. But then again, if I had the opportunity to celebrate Easter, my Birthday, and 4th of July every day- I totally would. I never understood why anyone would protest the opportunity to spend an entire day focused on having a great time. Why would you want to be like, "I want to celebrate our love October 2nd-8th-and 29th, but NOT February 14th, because other people do that and our love is way more evolved than everyone else's"...? What a hipster thing to say.
Aside from the cynicism I may have against people who pit themselves against Valentine's day (because, whatever, to each his own), I enjoy it. Let me explain why...
I believe in expressing emotion. I think that when you feel some way about another person, you should man up and tell them. Anybody who knows me can attest that I am the girl who sends you a text, email, or letter- just to let you randomly know that I think you're great. My parents were very good about letting all five of their kids know that they were loved. Not obsessively, but calm reminders that we were each special. Every time I get off the phone with someone in my family, I tell them that I love them. You know why? Because I think it's important.
But as much as I consider myself honest and open and vulnerability-addicted... I'm really not as open as I'd like to think I am. People consider vulnerable people to be kind of crazy. It's against "the norm" to admit to somebody that you think they're the absolute greatest thing on Earth. I mean, lets face it: 9 out of 10 people (who drink) tell their "boo" that they love them for the first time when they're intoxicated (see: schmammered). It's just the nature of the beast.
Because feelings are HARD. So much so that Psychology is one of the most compacted majors in colleges nation-wide. We want to "get" ourselves.
"And now," "I will be using," "entirely too many quotations." Sorry, I do that some times...
We want so badly to understand why we say or do or feel the things that we do- because we're either afraid of expressing it or we're confused about where it stems from. We don't want to admit that when X did Y to us, we felt Z about it- and now, ten years later, we still have problems doing A, B and C. On the opposite end of that spectrum, we have these feelings. We just HAVE them. And, maybe as a result of responses we've had to expressing emotion in the past, we're downright terrified to manifest them to other people. The irony is that the root of the majority of our problems lies in the need to feel loved, or to feel that we belong somewhere. So we hibernate our emotions because we are petrified of rejection and alienation. We HIDE because we secretly want TO BE SEEN. Crazy, right? I know.
It's like the Facebook conundrum... we post these pictures where our lives look SO perfect. But, I mean... come on. I've got PicMonkey (and eyeballs). I know that you're not really as tan/skinny/flawless as you post on your page. I know you're trying to be, and that's GREAT. But in the mean time, you and I are the same. Imperfect. But we see everyone else in these facades and feel like WE'RE supposed to look that way. So we continue to edit ourselves to fit in to the norm. And the irony is that we become that norm, but not in the way we'd expect. We're all imperfect. We're all scared. We all want to fit in and be loved and to look smokin' hot on the beach in St. Tropez. So we put on our brave little faces and we smile and we do our best impersonation of perfection. And in that way- we are the same. Trying. Hoping. Aiming for greatness.
I guess, in some strange way, that's what I love about Valentine's Day. In a world so scared to show our real selves, that day acts as a reminder to be vulnerable. To tell someone that we think they're great, even the other 364 days of the year when they're not "On." I admire people who have the courage to just admit how they feel. To just be themselves and admit that they care, or that they're terrified, or that they're perhaps even unhappy and in need of help. I believe that the admission of love allows one to open themselves up to the possibility of rejection, and that's a risk that only an incredibly brave person is willing to take. That vulnerable love is, in my opinion  one of the greatest gifts someone can give another. "I love you enough to trust you with my feelings, hoping only that you'll nurture them and treat them kindly." That gift becomes yet another example of irony because, in that moment, Vulnerability becomes Strength.

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