Though tomorrow we’re hitting up the host bro’s bar for a little fiesta (think diddy dirty money white party but replace white with black, CC mountain men with Nepali trekkers and the usher playlist with a three person Russian folk band…) us IHP folk officially embraced V Day a day early with a secret valentine gift exchange, a wobble lesson, and some delicious double decker cake. And it was actually the cutest. To the point where I was slightly uncomfortable with the public displays of friend-love and copious amounts of touching. I’m working on the hugs thing. Ironic that I have gotten completely comfortable with the ostentatious floor and couch and stairwell and car and bed snuggling (consensual groping?) we’ve gotten accustom to but still kind of flinch when people pat me on the knee… Freud that. but actually don’t.
Personal aversion to casual contact aside, it was an awesome little party. It was like being back in elementary school but with enough brain development to appreciate the complexity of the human relationships that our crunch bars and daringly sappy notes were helping to form. Also, the passing around of a deck of kamasutra playing cards didn’t hurt the vibe. Speaking of, can you imagine churches (both in the physical and institutional sense) portraying sex with openness that the kamasutra painted on the walls of temples here does? Colorado Springs wouldn’t know what to do with itself. In the best way possible. I have a lot of additional opinions/curiosities on that topic but let’s just they represent a flexibility of mind and body to which we might all aspire.
So valentines day. I’m sure there is some shot to be taken at capitalism and society’s hegemony over dictating who and how and when and why to love. But I’m not in the mood to do the googling necessary to go there that so instead I’ll just spit my own perfectly unsolicited perspective on the topic and, like any good inhabitant of the Girls generation, talk about myself. And that is: I’m feeling great about my love life. Which is particularly impressive given that it doesn’t exist and Joyce told me I may or may not be hopeless and a ten year old Nepali boy turned me down when I asked for a dance the other day.
Excpet, even despite the unenthusiastic dance partners and less that encouraging psychic premonitions, my love life does exist. Because I love you and an eclectic bunch of other amazing people back at CC. And I love my family and my friends home in Blo and a smattering of other fantastically imperfect people around the world. Some of them I love for their minds, some for their souls and some for they way they look out onto life and dig right the fuck into it. It exists. And it’s pretty damn awesome.
I have the kind of love that can only be cultivated by sharing clothes and toys and hundreds of dinners; by beating the shit out of each other (him physically, me mentally) and simultaneously occupying the favorite and least-favorite sibling title in each others minds as we watch ourselves shift more and more toward affection and genuine friendship for 21 non-adjectivable years.
I have the kind of love you only get from growing up calling the same canopy of trees and cracks in the neighborhood sidewalks home. Traversing them for from carefree middle school nights of hide-and-go-seek to early morning winter break walks heart-to-hearting about how we’ll ever manage to pay for rent and gas and food at the same time before finally peeling off into our respective driveways - sometimes forgetting whose is whose; as if it mattered anyway.
I know what it feels like to walk into a room of 15 people and feel the love of completely belonging. Because you’ve been belonging with them for 7 formative years and that’s just not something any of you question.
I know the love of a quick shared smile with someone you’ve travelled with. You both know the story you want to reference (the disappointing chin of that one guy whose couch you crashed on together, or the empty bar you closed down with your interpretive dance moves, or the significance of Usher belting it out breaking up a long string of WTF-is-going-on arabian nights) but even more you both know that trying to explain it would never do it justice.
I love people close to me, I love people from afar, I love people I might never see again and I love people that I know will be around me always. I love people who make me smile to think of them, and people who make me flinch. Some make me roll my eyes or invoke a smile and gotta-love-a-free-spirit head shake and shoulder shrug, some bring on the butterflies, and others a sense of calm and security.
Like all other great and terrible things in this world, a love life is relative. And though my classic upbringing on rom-coms and happily ever afters sure makes the simply unconditional and one dimensional love of a sole handsome man sound like the end-all-be-all February 14th wet dream, from where I’m sitting right now… From this roof top with the Kathmandu load-shared skyline dotting out in front of me, the midnight stars shining brightly above, and all the possibility in between, I can’t imagine a love lineage better traced than the one - the people - who got me here. Also being a fresh faced 21 year old feminist doesn’t hurt. Gotta love the freedom that comes from a combination of healthy academic skepticism about the patriarchal undertones of monogamy and the institution of marriage and a possibly unhealthy but age appropriate fear of commitment. It’s a really lovely place to be once you let yourself settle into it.
So to all of you, happy valentines day! Eat a tiger butter, a Tim Hortons mint chocolate ice cap, and/or some kanafa for me. Because I’ll be chomping on some delicious dhaal bat for and because of all of you. Here’s to another year of chasing love like world walkers; finding it in the footprints we leave behind, the path that lies ahead, and those we find trekking along at our sides. It’s sure gotten us some pretty great love stories so far.
All of mine, M