And so begins the month of February, where you can find sizable, shiny red heart-shaped boxes filled with all shapes and sizes of chocolate, seizing all the market opportunities associated with Valentine’s Day. Over the last few weeks, I’ve read and watched some incredible books and movies, taking me on a journey through all kinds of love; certainly not the typical definition. Fueled by these out-of-the-box tales, today I’m taking a shot at defining love.
In Bohemian Rhapsody (an incredibly brilliant film), Freddie Mercury is defined far beyond for what he was best known. His gay lovers were presented later in the film, after the central character Mary Austin, to whom he was engaged and defined as his common law wife, was glorified throughout the entire movie. I was so wonderfully surprised by this presentation for so many reasons. For one, Hollywood is displaying love in real life. It reminds me of the many reasons why I love the film Love Actually so much. These movies are not your typical Cinderella meets Prince Charming movie, which I have over the years come to loathe for so many reasons, not the least of which is the presentation of a damsel in distress waiting for her prince to find her.
Bohemian Rhapsody shows how deeply Freddie loved Mary; he continuously refers to her in the film as the love of his life. No one would ever know Freddie like she did. One of the best points of the film is when Freddie quotes to the press, “I am still figuring out love”. Because cultural norms and advertising firms like to present love in a certain way to boost the commercialization of it. But love does not come packaged in these red boxed ways in life and some may search a lifetime for something that doesn’t even exist. This is one of the reasons I so vehemently support the LGBT community. NO ONE has the right to tell ANYONE who they can and can not love. What agony it is to have to hold your heart closed behind a curtain because society might not approve.
Love Actually, which if you have not yet viewed it, is not the romantic comedy it appears to be. It does exactly what its title suggests, it defines what love actually is, in its myriad possible manifestations. It shows a few examples of the “typical boy meets girl, boy marries girl” kind of love. But it also showcases lifetime friendship’s undeniable euphoria, the sacrificial bonds of sibling familial ties, video camera footage of unrequited agony, and the harsh realities of infidelity. It is extraordinary in its message of hope, “Love actually is all around us”, in every wonderful and excruciatingly painful way.
If we are to truly embrace the opportunities that all kinds of love give to us, we must look beyond convention. We must find the hidden, everyday joys which often go overlooked. We must take off the shackles; society’s view of the hour placed upon us. Love’s power stretches far and wide in so many different and legitimate capacities. Love, in each and every form in which it appears, is the answer. We must not try to cram it into a shiny red heart-shaped box. We must allow it to flourish in each and every possible manifestation in which it appears. We must celebrate it, in all its forms, and create it, where there is none. Cheers to love.