“I hate Valentine’s Day.” WYSK Lifestyle Contributor Leah LaRocco is not shy (nor alone) when it comes to expressing abhorrence for February 14th. Her reasons are personal and varied… from how it made her feel when she was single, and current pressures to set up “some weirdly unromantic dinner in a crowded restaurant” with her now husband, to “vomit inducing cards,” and obligatory gifts steeped in “consumerism and greed,” not to mention how “the nature of the man for whom this holiday was named has been lost.” But what’s not lost on her is love, and the way she describes it in relation to her hatred of this candy-coated, chocolate-filled “holiday” is simply beautiful.

Love does not contain the perfection found in a freshly picked long stem rose. Love is sometimes an ugly business, parading around in sweatpants that have holes and stains, lying like a beached whale on the couch, watching an endless marathon of Golden Girls reruns. Love has moments of decadence like a finely handcrafted chocolate. But most of the time resembles something mushy pulled out of the freezer and thrown in the microwave with a sigh and a prayer. Sometimes love soars, intoxicating the lungs with blissful vitality. Other times it crawls along in the dirt, gasping for the next shaky breath. Sometimes love is present. Other times its absence feels like a gaping hole of need.

Whichever phase you find yourself in at this point in time, I hope you remember that you are loved as you are in this moment. You are perfectly you, exactly as you are meant to be, with or without someone else.

Happy Valentine’s Day!