V-Day Contemplations, Part I

Someone once said that 2 halves make a WHOLE. But who says that one half isn’t whole enough? Why wait for 2 comparable halves if you can have it all in 1 single PIECE?

And then there are those who say it takes two to TANGO, and you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few EGGS – but the truth is: you can! What’s wrong about dancing the night away with no one but yourself for COMPANY? And what about an omelette consisting of just one egg for one SINGLE serve?

For some, coming home to the cat is more than enough. For others, a hairy other is just a mere substitute, a very weak serve of tea and little sympathy for the real thing yet to come. But no matter what LIFE is hard enough as it is without choosing someone difficult to share it with – not just on Valentine’s Day.

V-Day Contemplations, Part II

New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s day have a lot more in common than anyone might think. Both events come with a competitive component – say New Year’s Eve [NYE] is the grand final of the year, then Valentine’s day [V-Day] is the annual state championships for romance (or the ultimate challenge to survive the lack of it).

Apart from that both are nothing but an expectation fuelled BEAST, feared by loads of people again & again on an annual basis. While many approach NYE with anything but social pressure & high hopes for the year to come, V-Day comes with a hell lot of attention & puts pressure on the heart as everyone is desperate to be shot with cupid’s arrow.
All in all, both events are just another superfluous American tradition, coming close to Halloween horror and 4th of July hoorays, where everyone goes crazy over yet another celebration of our commercial culture.

No matter what, one thing is certain: there is no escape from NYE & V-Day. Like NYE, the best survival strategy for V-Day is to accept that things are probably going to be disappointing or that life at least will be the same again, once the race is over. There will be no big bang and a happy-ever-after, nor will there be a Prince Charming turning up on your front porch. Crackers and roses alone won’t cure it all…

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There are but a handful of moments in our lifetime that truly stay with you for the rest of your life. Amongst mine are those that relate to my grandparents, all bittersweet memories filled with glee, comfort and some ‘pleasant’ pot belly ache over my Opa’s stories and my Oma Christel’s ‘magic’ Christmas cake.

When I was little and both my dear grandparents still alive, we would spend every Christmas day down at their place. My favourite thing to do there was to crawl underneath the side-table in the living room, becoming completely invisible under the crochet lace tablecloth, neatly tucked away from the adult world. In my secret little hidey hole I’d do furtive kiddie things like playing detective and eaves dropping on the enemy’s adult conversation, singing self-composed little songs and for most of all, listen to the stories my Opa would tell about those days when he and my Oma were both young and bold and beautiful.

Every Christmas my grandpa would pull out this old story on how he and my Oma met during the war in December 1942 – she a young pretty nurse at medical school, he a proud assistant doctor that would become ‘weak at his knees’ by the mere sight of her. According to my Opa (this part of the story he would tell me in a whisper), he did not so much fell in love with my Oma’s blonde locks and good looks but more with her ‘magic’ Christmas cake, filled with ’the taste of love’ that led to the romance unfold and eventually develop into something more.

Maybe it was because this story somehow depicts one crucial chapter in my family’s history or really because of the magic and ’the taste of love’ in my Oma’s cake but I remember the incredible amount of love and safeness I felt each time upon hearing my grandparents’ tale (and still feel every time I think back to those days). And my little pot belly would comfortably ache in agreement, the result of eating too much of the warm cake’s custard filling too fast.

After my Oma passed away, her recipe book became a way for me to remember her, to keep her in my life. All in all my Oma was a damn fine lady. She was soft-spoken and sweet. And she loved to share good, home-made food. She came of her cooking age in an era where food was scarce yet said to be ‘the heart of everything,’ a mantra she would pass on throughout her recipes, all living proof of her love for cooking, baking and creating, and above all, the people she catered and cared for.

And just as I could never have imagined my life without having to get to know both my grandparents, I can no longer imagine my life without making that ‘magic’ cake each Christmas, recalling the story of how my Opa and Oma fell in love and remembering how their presence shaped me to become the person I am today. No, Christmas wouldn’t taste the same without that ‘magic’ cake and the memories of love attached to each slice.

Sun light’s bleeding through the window. Another failed attempt ‘to connect.’ Downcast eyes, tiptoeing around and morning caution – this is how many mornings start after a night well spent together. Yes, I am speaking from some experience here, not much though, just a little. I‘ve done it once or maybe twice – only to find out that for some reason the romance hadn’t keep up its initial promise of lasting happily-ever-after, failing to make it through the night. Come dawn, off went the romance.

This off-rail romance phenomenon (ORRP) leaves me wondering – why do so many chapters end like this? And why could we fall for someone late at night and then facing nothing but awkwardness, distance and embarrassment lying next to you the next morning? Are we night-blind or is our intuition blindfolded once the lights are out?

Whatever it is – the morning after is just BAD. Off-rail romance, tick. Bad breath, tick. Silence at the doorway, tick. There’s nothing left to say and this is definitely one of these rare moments where it’s better to leave it just like that. No ‘this will work out’ or ‘last night was great though…’. Within this situation your at your personal best when you say nothing at all. Shut up, gather your belongings together, tiptoe out the door and step out of that scene you do not want to have replayed ever again.

Let’s face it -things like this happen – you live, you learn. Trial and error situations are good – believe me, these valuable life lessons haven’t been in vain. After all, regrets are not worth having.

Anyway, whatever happened between you & the other night owl, make sure you don’t forget your keys, purse or anything else. Even though you felt that instant connection the night before, this doesn’t mean that the vibes will stretch on & develop into ‘something more.’ And there’s nothing worse than coming back to pick up a piece left behind, a reminder of a short night spent together and probably a morning wasted with thoughts about feelings that are only short-lived, romance that only lasts a little while and mornings like these wasted for nothing long-term.

Long live silent exits – icy-cold doorknob, monotonous ‘click’ as the door shuts, shaky step outside. The day smells rain-tinged and my vision refreshes with a wispy palette of reds and greens, colours I didn’t notice last night.

Although all these wonderful love songs, fairytales and on-screen romances out there promise us that love is ALL we need for a happily-ever-after – reality is living proof that love is not always capable to conquer all. Finally waving goodbye to all these picture-perfect fairytales, we have to brave ourselves and face the unfancy fact: a lost love hurts like hell.

All of a sudden, life lurches from drama to disaster and the daily grind is gone for good. There are days when you’ll run for cover, and there will be even more days when you’re too weak to pull the punches, simply crumbling down under the billion pieces of your broken heart.

To add even more salt to the injury, there’s no such thing as perfect remedy or an instant fix to cure the cut left by a lost love. No matter how hard we try, on the surface of the newly found solitude the sting of lost love will not stop hurting within the flip of a second.

Everyone who ‘sings the ballade of the broken’ deals differently with pasting the pieces back together – some of us drink, some of us do drugs. And some of us date more ‘dark’ (wo)men to compensate for lost love with yet another dating-disaster, hoping that one pain will eventually substitute the other.

But whether you opt for sticky-tape, stitches or super-glue, one thing is certain: you will walk away with a scare, a memorable mark that will remind you of the receded romance you had, of that faded fairytale that was. Try to stay off-beat and see the grabbing good in all that busting bad: baring a scare means that you moved on from experiencing first-class pain during the actual break-up to finally pasting the pieces back together in the break-over phase.

Beating the break-up blues is almost as hard as the actual act of breaking away. As much as social rejection from the ‘one & only’ hurts, some other sort of social interaction is crucial in the mere struggle to survive life after love. Being socially out there, surrounded by people who care about you and not your sex-appeal will help to feed your emotional needs that that (s)he-bastard hasn’t been able to nourish before.

No matter what – the scars will still be there, though the pain might have gone. There will always be times where you will remember a lost love, where a dear memory comes back. But better to have love and lost than never having been in love at all. C’est la vie, full of broken hearts, scattered pieces and scars that depict your (love)life