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Eva Batalla-Mann | Valuable Delusions

Actually love

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 03:02

What time is it? It’s Valen-time! I was wondering why I was feeling an aura of anxiety and crazed chocolate-fueled energy. Then I remembered what holiday was nearby. It’s funny — it seems people’s relationship status directly correlates to their attitude towards the holiday. It’s either the best day of their life or they suddenly become The Grinch That Stole Valentine’s Day (from the lesser known sequel to the one about Christmas). 

Valentine’s Day makes me think of walking into my kitchen after getting out of bed and seeing my dad’s creation from earlier that morning. At first, it looks like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Ojai Edition.” But then I put my glasses on. In big swirly letters, “be mine” with a heart next to it is written in ketchup on our large maple butcher block table. Next to the ketchup art are two champagne glasses filled with fresh orange juice. This scene is depicted in a photograph that I have and I always look at around this time of year. This image never fails to make me smile and affirms what I think Valentine’s Day is all about. It’s about those unusual, small and sometimes silly ways of expressing your appreciation of someone in your life regardless of whether it’s a romantic relationship or not. 

Many traditions from all over the world cite Valentine’s Day as a celebration of spring or of friendship. Ergo, there is a plethora of things to which you can dedicate your card making and chocolate eating. Many of the chick-flick or rom-com persuasion (of which I am one), have these meticulously crafted ideas of what Valentine’s Day should look like. And if it doesn’t look like this vision, many think you should spend your evening, death grip on a carton of ice cream, re-watching some slightly dated TV series. But that really helps no one, except for the manufacturers of ice cream and the recipients of TV royalties. But I think they’re doing just fine. 

Instead, think not of what of what your love life should look like but what your love life does look like (Cue the old British rock star from “Love Actually” (2003) singing the 1967 song “Love is All Around.”) But seriously, so many of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by people who laugh at our lame jokes, listen to us vent on rough days, care about who we are outside of Tufts and most importantly join in on spontaneous dance breaks. I don’t know what that is if it’s not love.

This makes me think of the scene in the airport in “Love Actually,” when friends, lovers and families are greeting each other and engaging in the far too rare act of actually showing someone how much they mean to you. This year, my friends and I are doing Secret Valentines (a Valentine’s Day alternative). Some people are taking the “secret” part more seriously than others and some are planning funny, over-the-top expressions of Valentine’s Day spirit. I can’t say much more until all of the Secret Valentines are revealed, but there are bound to be some laughs, tears (hopefully of joy) and a few wonderfully awkward moments. 

I love that after nightly dinners that come and go, and endless study sessions, there is a day when you take the time out of your busy schedule to do something special for one of your friends. Whatever that something is, it is a declaration of your love and appreciation that your friends are here spending their days with you. And the beauty is that it can be anything — even a message spelled in ketchup. 

 Eva Batalla-Mann is a sophomore majoring in peace and justice studies and community health. She can be reached at

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