February 14, 2022
Today is Valentine’s Day, and like every year I have to laugh at the corporate push to buy products in the name of romance. I believe our society values relationships as long as they are heterosexual and monogamous. It seems like we also put immense pressure on an individual’s value in society based on their relationship status.
I think about the way mothers are stigmatized if they are single. “You’re too cute to be single.” rings the popular TikTok audio, and yet I ask – what is wrong with being single? Why is that particular relationship status more valuable than others? There are so many kinds of relationships!
Our world is vast, our cultures vary across time and space and there are many ways to be related beyond the binary of heteronormativity. Consider who comprises your community. Consider love from aunties, consider the effusive support of soccer teammates, consider relationships with pastors, rabbis, or imams. My relationship with my elders is particularly important to me, especially when I can learn so much from them.
I wouldn’t be who I am without my best Judy who taught me the value of practicing self-love. Some of my strongest relationships are with my chosen family, which is made up of other people I have met along the way in my life. I am comfortable saying I have multiple best friends. Many of my important relationships have come through my activities and career as well. Romantic love is wonderful, but so is the love and appreciation we have for each other.
When I think about how I am also someone’s best friend, someone’s cheerleader, somebody’s confidant or co-conspirator, and that one day I’ll be someone’s ancestor, that seems important. That is valuable. So, I encourage you to take a moment and consider the people in your life and the wonderful relationships you co-create with them.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
-Thomás Grubb, LPC