Ling.xaal, and Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!

The extra emphasis on love this time of year is a beautiful thing. When I was a kid, waking up on Valentine’s Day was as exciting as Christmas. My parents always did something nice for each other and for me, and it made for a really beautiful day, even when life sometimes got rough. Often, my dad would come home from work with flowers for the both of us, and he’d remind me that he was proud of me. Mom would always leave me a card on the kitchen table, with a handwritten note telling me that she loved me too. As a child, it definitely helped that this card was usually attached to a decently-sized piece of chocolate, but now that I’m an adult (sort of), what I still value are her words. It reminds me of just how insanely lucky I am to have this relationship with my parents.
I loved Valentine’s Day in elementary school too, because it meant I got to share something that I liked with everyone else, even if it was just chocolate and a nice note. In grade five, my Steve Irwin: Crocodile Hunter Valentine’s Day mini-cards were passed out around the class with care and excitement. Mom always taught me to make one for every kid in my class, even if we didn’t get along, which sparked powerful thoughts of love and diplomacy in an eleven-year-old.

As I got older and began to experience the romantic chapter of love, I felt the monstrous pressure placed on all of us – particularly the male, at least in heterosexual relationships – to make ‘V-Day’ into a ridiculous escapade. The suddenly red and pink shelves of your grocery store, and the advertisements telling you to buy blood diamonds for your lover all remind you that Valentine’s Day can be a commoditized nightmare, but so goes the story with any holiday. Spurred originally by the celebration of a mysterious Saint, today it’s about recognizing what’s in your heart for those around you. Go out with your friends, call your mom, buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. Just share love and consideration with another human being. And for the love of all that is still good in this already-messed-up world, don’t let the consumerist mayhem turn you into a jerk. Please don’t be these guys:

Image from The Oatmeal -
“The worst thing about Valentine’s Day” Image from The Oatmeal:

In Haida, ling.xaal is approximately translated as
too in love to sit still.
I am in love with an incredible man. We laugh with each other, let our lives weave together in the moment, and share our dreams for tomorrow. It really does make you want to scream from a rooftop, and vibrate with happiness, and all of those other clichés that have inspired everything from music to mania.

This guy.
This guy.

I don’t know if ling.xaal can be applied to non-romantic love within the Haida language, but it denotes an attitude that we should get to feel about each other, every single day. We should be able to get that excited about each other’s existence all the time! Not just with our partner(s), but with our parents, our siblings, our friends, our acquaintances – our human cohorts around the world.

And love yourself, too! It’s easy to forget that one, but like RuPaul says, “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?!”

So I’ve decided that Valentine’s is about reminding someone that you love them just a little bit extra. It’s like having a house-warming party for the very space that they occupy in your heart. It doesn’t matter how you do it, and I’m not entirely bashing gift-giving – try something that you had a hand in creating. As you read this, I’m packing together a small parcel of meaningful things I’ve gathered on my journeys, to send to that incredible man I mentioned back home. Because who doesn’t appreciate getting awesome stuff in the mail?!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I love you!

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