I don’t feel hopeless about intimate, romantic love when Valentine’s Day rolls around. It’s fun to do something silly like my sister and I do to celebrate. We usually order Thai food and watch cringey shark movies. I definitely think that love should always be celebrated and expressed, not just on this day. I often think about different types of love and relationships, similar to the way the movie ‘Love Actually’ explores them. The film explores romance in so many settings; so many settings where we wouldn’t expect it and often that love is our saviour. It may not always be a fairy tale with someone declaring their romantic feelings towards us in public. Often that love which some of us are lucky enough to experience is unconditional, hard to find and provides fulfilment and support which many take for granted. There are many different types of love worth celebrating. I think sometimes people get caught up in the fantasy of a romantic, intimate partner; which can be lovely but I think that other types of love and relationships are really worth cherishing and commemorating.

Friendship is a type of relationship which I feel is neglected and its importance diminished. We live in a time where too many people see others as disposable and claim that “I’m just so bad at keeping in touch with people”. I agree that some people are wired to be more independent than others or perhaps gravitate more towards the group; so if someone organises a social event then they tag along to that. However, I hear so many other people saying “we just lost touch” or “they moved overseas” or some other excuse as to why the friendship wasn’t maintained. I remember having a conversation with someone who was admiring her father and his friend who managed to keep in touch for decades, before a lot of the technology which we have today. I agreed and said it is very admirable, whilst being quite frustrated as to how she couldn’t seem to manage to keep in touch with many of her friends. My father was the same, he kept in touch with many of his friends from childhood and his military days. I naively think that today it should be easier to keep in touch with people given how fast electronic communication is. I don’t know why it’s so much harder for people. Are we all just too busy? Are people considered too disposable? Are we deluded and think no effort should be put into relationships?

I often think about that scene in Love Actually where it’s a video montage of all these different people greeting each other at Heathrow airport. I think all of that affection is such a beautiful reminder of the diversity of love and the importance of it. For many people a lot of our love which we receive and give over the course of our lives is between relatives and amongst friends. I think that is something to be nurtured and celebrated.

Love...actually is around.

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Nitasha Akerman

I am working towards promoting human rights, peace, security, equality, feminism, justice, equity and sustainability. I enjoy anything creative and want to share my and other peoples thoughts and experiences through writing.