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I Used to Dread Valentine's Day

I Used to Dread Valentine's Day

For a long time Valentine’s day was not my favorite holiday. When I was 14, I was inducted into the #metoo experience on that day. A day dedicated to love and connection felt the opposite for me.

Twelve years later, I met Richard in college, out at the foundry. We hit it off from the start. And then he asked me to go rock climbing... on Valentine's Day. Aside from my feelings about the day, who goes on a first date on Valentine’s Day anyway?

But he convinced me otherwise, and we went rock climbing. He was in a mountain search and rescue unit, specializing in technical rescues. Really, who better to go climbing with?

On the way there, I told him about a vivid dream I had a few nights before. I couldn’t figure out what it meant, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. After a moment of silence he said, “Delusions of grandeur.” I was perplexed, a little miffed. His interpretation was that I was afraid of being vulnerable, and it was delusions of grandeur to think I was alone in this thought. Insightful. Vulnerability noted.

We arrived at our destination, outdoors in the woods, at the base of an actual cliff face... because no one should climb on fake rocks. About half way up the wall, I got stuck. And scared. When I asked for help and declared I couldn't do this, I guess I came off as playing cute.

He firmly told me this was no time to be cute. I had it within myself to get unstuck. I didn’t need him. Look around and figure out what to do next. I was no damsel in distress. A hold was right in front of me, I just needed to find it. Dig deep. Focus. The rest is a waste of energy. You’ve got this.

What? He didn’t want to be the rescuer? No desire to be my knight in shining armor? Instead, he focused me back to my own abilities and strength while he quietly, patiently, waited for me to rescue myself.

And I thought, ok... maybe this is the guy for me.

I look back fondly on that day. A day of love and connection.

Even in college my art has always been about embracing who you are, where you’ve been, and finding freedom in being authentically you. Today, Richard quietly works beside me making jewelry that carries that same message.


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