After a weekend getaway to Paris, a city synonymous with romance, it got me thinking about love and relationships.
Pablo and I have visited Paris twice before; on that first trip we were exhausted from an overnight ride all the way from London Victoria on the Megabus across the Channel, but fuelled by excitement we skipped sleep and made our way straight to the Eiffel tower.
Seeing such a famous symbol of the city in real life was incredible! To allow us to take in such an amazing moment properly we grabbed a beer and sat in the small park at the tower’s foot.
Before we knew it someone was getting proposed to, then another, then another – it was contagious. People around them clapped and cheered and cried with happiness, but not me, despite being happy for couples I got anxious at even the prospect of a public proposal. Not even managing to feel the slightest bit of smooshy emotion in one of the world’s most romantic cities really made me question whether I was wired wrong.
I think that’s why for the longest time I thought I hated romance; moments where others would gush and weep with joy, I would feel nothing. As I’ve gotten older I have realised that it is fine to feel differently from others, when the rest of the world likes chocolates, nice restaurants and wine it’s totally cool to prefer, popcorn, beer, and street food.
This trip to Paris we saw none of the traditional sites but made our own alternative tour exploring art, an abandoned rail track, canals, and graves. There were a few moments over that weekend when I looked at Pablo it hit me hard, my heart pounding, butterflies in my stomach, a smile on my face. and I thought damn I love you.
Without even knowing it, he had been part of the most romantic day I could have dreamed of. Taking my hand whilst we explored unknown parts of the city, finding art and colourful culture in unexpected places, and finishing off with pizza, red wine, with a Seine side view. I know this might not sound like the most romantic way to spend a day in Paris, but if you’ve read our engagement story you should know by now that we’re an odd pair so it’s probably a good thing we have each other.
My idea of romance is not grand gestures, but intimate and loving experiences that we can share and cherish for years to come.
Whether you’re single or not I believe that the most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves. I know self love is a bit of a buzzword right now (and was another aspect of love I shunned) but I think I’m finally getting it.
My sceptisms over self love stemmed from the types of articles and blog posts I had read on the topic, most of which were focussed on baths, flowers, cake, spa days, and pampering. These kind of stereotypically “girly” activities are not for me but, as with romance, I have learned that self love does not come in a one size fits all package.
Now armed with this knowledge, I have been working on the process, taking time to do things that make me happy which include: yoga, walking whilst listening to rock music really loudly, travel, and spending low key quality time with friends.
That sounds super simple but honestly self love is tough! I’m having to flip the switch on negative behaviour and self loathing that has been a part of who I am for a very long time and also learn to put myself first, but I think it’s working. The more I train my brain to be kind instead of critical I can see a new outlook manifesting from being an internal thought process to positive actions in my everyday life.
Self love is not a quick fix for days you feel down, but a long term journey that I plan on continuing, because like RuPaul says “If you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love someone else.”
Pablo and I went on our first proper date on Valentines Day so it probably should be an event I cherish, but despite the good memory the day itself always seemed too squishy, forced, and impersonal for my liking.
Again I had fallen down an advertising trap thinking that Valentines had to be done a certain way, but really that makes no sense at all. We all have our own way of celebrating love so why the hell had I come to the decision that because the Hallmark idea of love wasn’t for me I had to shun the entire day? Now that I think about it, without being distracted by cute bears holding hearts and slushy messages, celebrating a day of love actually seems kinda awesome!
So this year, I’m in! Not for a traditional Valentines day but a celebration of the people and things I love.
Spreading A Little Love
If you’re like me and are looking to branch out from from the norm this valentines day here are some great designers making unique cards to suit every sort of love.
Of course there’s my store, but if they are not your style then these awesome artists might be:
Emma Powell – Emma’s horror theme cards are crazy cute, totally humorous, and perfect for someone like me who loves the darker side of life.
XOXO Designs by Ruth – Ruth creates consistently beautiful, colourful cards in her unique graphic style. Whether you’re into cute pandas, outer space, modern, or traditional valentines Ruth caters for every style.
Ella Masters – Ella is an absolute powerhouse and nails collection after collection, a relatively new addition to her store are cards which (of course) are just as cool as she is.
PastelElixir – The most adorable cards made with a sprinkling of magic in pastel shades, with super cute comedy.
Vickilicious Designs – I found this awesome store through my best blogging buddies #bangarang buying me the raddest tattoo inspired skull engagement card and is now one of my fave Etsy stores.
Do you guys love or loathe valentines day? Let me know in the comments below