Bairbre Power: 'I'm so in love, I could burst, and the new objects of my affection are neither human nor pet'
I'm so in love, I could burst. I've been hugging and clinching and gazing with affection. The new objects of my affection are neither human or a pet member of the family. It's all the lost possessions I've just retrieved after a visit to the attic. I'm totally smitten by the pieces I've been reunited with after years in the wilderness and my memory of the emotions that went hand in hand with most of them still beats strong in my heart.
Before you ask, yes, I have Marie Kondo to thank for this consequential surge of oxytocin racing through my system because, having sorted out my shelves, wardrobes and drawers in a Veganuary surge, I then headed skyward and attacked the attic. Who could have known that so much stuff had been dispatched to the rafters -and all of it so personal, too.
One of the boxes that yielded the most fun was a crimson suede-look chocolate box filled with old Valentine's Day cards and romantic stuff, like love letters tied with a satin ribbon, keep-sakes and mementos.
And then there were the strips of snaps from the passport photo booths where we were spotty and possessed the most awful haircuts, but who cared - there was a magical 'look of love' which invariably switched to tears a month later when the 'romance' was all off and axed in a quick phone call. Cruel at the time, but wasn't it so much kinder, and braver too than the people do it now by text, fax or email. Or worse again, go silent, or in this social media age, simply change their relationship status overnight.
Sifting through the childish love letters which reeked of horrible cheap rose perfume, I'd never realised before what a hoarder I am. But in this case, I think it's a different energy to holding on to clothes, shoes and earrings. I think we can't throw out these old romantic keepsakes because, deep down, we never give up on the idea of true love and a happy ever-after.
And even if we are not actively pursuing romance, going out on dates or simply flirting with the notion of joining a dating website, maybe in our heart of hearts, we think we will ultimately find that someone special... as if by fate. Lots of memories of past romances, good and bad, raced through my mind as I sifted through this pink box of mementos. A Valentine's gift of a double-heart pendant, yellowing love-heart cards from those very tricky, emotionally-charged teenage years when the build-up to February 14 was stress city.
You wouldn't sleep at night in case you were the only one in the class not to get one. The utter shame of going into a school of teenage girls empty handed on Valentine's Day was not to be underestimated. It was far worse than the fallout from bad school reports, but we batted away catty comments and always blamed it on late postmen.
By the next day, the shame had subsided, but the worst scenario unfolded when the shy girls produced cards and were cruelly slagged off for getting them from their parents. That adult script of "be my Valentine" was always the give-away. As a parent, l knew instinctively never to step in and 'ghost' a Valentine's Day card just in case another one didn't arrive.
Valentine's Day disappointments in the teenage years were of dramatic proportions at the time. But they paled into insignificance when the serious stuff came down the line. I haven't bought, or received, a Valentine's card in years. I simply express a preference for white flowers. Weirdly, I'm losing my taste for chocolates and when it comes to all things pink, although you'll never find it in my wardrobe, I'm very partial to rosé wine. It is the perfect companion for a night in watching romantic movies.
As for the spotty teenage boys who didn't quite measure up to our Jane Austen-fuelled sense of romance, many of them I've found are coping wonderfully with midlife and the lucky ones have even managed to hold on to their hair. My plans tonight include good food and opera at my local neighbourhood eaterie. It's not a night for Bizet's Carmen, but a little Mozart and The Marriage Of Figaro would be nice.