Dear Ophelia

Or the evil things we do (to ourselves) for love

             by Angela Maddalena

Valentine’s day is approaching, isn’t it so? Shops and cafes are “dressed” in red, chocolate is the next big business and the majority of the women in the Universe are desperately shaving their legs.

Apart from the totally acceptable necessity of not looking like Bigfoot (and I’m talking to you, brit. “fashionistas”), I always believed that this whole shebang of Valentine’s day is a loser’s business and I don’t feel the need to lie or be politically correct in this respect. Fact is that this whole thing is quite stupid. Before you say anything, I am not speaking out off the envy of a lonely heart. I’m happily in love. Still, i firmly believe this Valentine’s thing is something in between the festival of consumerism and a distorted vision of what a catholic festivity is, or shall be.

 Leaving catholic saints alone, anyway, what is this thing all about? Because it is not only spending money in lingerie and sweet things. This is the happy side of it, although still consumeristic, and full of the beautiful idea of celebrating your loved one (if and when it’s true, for the majority of couples it usually results in fighting each other in way too crowded sushi restaurants). But what about those lonely ones that are about to subscribe their undying loyalty to Netflix? And, see, I’m not only talking about women. Yes, somehow is true that feminine side of the apple is more “sensitive” on the matter, but is not entirely true that “boys don’t cry”. And you know what I’m talking about.

There is a peculiar feeling, the Valentine’s Stress Syndrome (yes, I invented a name for it), that is pretty much like a post-traumatic stress syndrome on estrogen: people simply decide to acknowledge every personal and social failure ever occurred in their lives and cry about it eating sweets. Why this date in particular? I mean, you can actually cry every day, ain’t?

It’s because, sorry to state such an ovviety, you were told to.

Just like snow at Christmas, I mean come on!, it happens to be mandatory to cry on Valentine’s. Well, no, dears, it is not. First because in the traditional catholic festivity nothing was mentioned about chocolate and the apparent need of having a sweetheart in this particular day, second because is soooo mainstream and, last but not least, because you don’t need to.

It’s just a trick, this entire thing, set up to sell. Do you really wanna be sad for this?

If your answer is “no, off course not”, I have some simple suggestions for you:

before finding love, my personal way in living this Valentine’s day was not to notice it. People are selling more types of chocolate? Great, I like chocolate. But I never really felt the impulse of making a cocoon with my blankets and listen to Anouk’s Nobody’s wife (or whatever you like to listen when having a love related nervous breakdown). I was totally and naturally ignoring it.

And now? -You may ask – what’s the difference now?

I’ll tell you: nothing. Me and sweet half, we’ll be drinking wine from the same glass (Bulgarian tradition) because we are too lazy to wash two.

See, I always believed that nothing is hard if you do it with self esteem and knowledge.

Because I was deeply sure of the total unnecessarily of this “market”, I simply never felt it.

I prefer to celebrate Carnival, that still is focused on wine and sweets but in a funnier way, and just try to take the proliferation of heart-shaped boxes on the 14th like a world celebration for Nirvana’s beautiful song.

But, if you don’t feel the need to involve unforgotten Kurt in the matter, let’s leave aside my personal fascination for grunge music and go back to the point. And the point is that you people actually have someone that loves you: you.

At least, you should.

If this Thing must be, for reason that neither me, nor the Bible understand, a love festivity, why not to use it to celebrate the one and only thing that will always stay by your side? Yeah, it is you, again. “Gotta love yourself, sis” (i’m 60% sure this line is from some B-movie I don’t recall anymore, but anyways is true).

Romantic period, hurray hurray, ended two centuries ago and nobody is actually dying out of a broken heart since “Pride and prejudice” was published.

 (By the way, Turner and his fellowship of Romantics were more focused on the purity and might of the feelings and nature themselves, rather than on buying or selling crispy underpants, just to remark a fact).

Beautiful Ophelia, crazy for love, had an “accident” and fallen in to (not even so deep) water. Yeah, she died.

She eventually made three men very famous (Hamlet, Shakespeare and Millais, that portrayed her) but still she died. What for? She would have been a happy young lady if not for the obscure subculture cracking her thoughts: that you are not worthy, if someone doesn’t tell you that you are. That you are not important if someone doesn’t make you. That you gotta have someone to go to sushi bar with on a particular imposed day…

Dear Ophelia, please, do not die. Do not cry. Put those flowers in your hair, smile and move on: Hamlet was always too much focused on his mother, anyway!


The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Maddalena (Italy)

and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“.
It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.

National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development