The Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day


            It’s Valentine’s Day but you have no date. It’s supposed to be Lovers’ Day but you have no one to love, you have no one to tell you they love you, you have no one to tell that you love them; you are alone. Somehow somewhere you’ve managed to convince yourself that alone protects you, you’ve told yourself that alone is good, that love is not for everyone, especially not for you. Somehow you’ve gotten yourself into believing it’s better to be by yourself, that your life is about you and you don’t have to share feelings with someone else to enjoy your life. But you know the truth, you know what you are, you know alone is not alive and you know that you’re not just alone. You’re not alive.

You’re dead inside. It’s the reason you can’t sleep at night, it’s the reason you work your ass off to prove yourself, it’s the reason you don’t care, it’s the reason you don’t love. You’ll like to believe it’s simple, you’d love to believe love was not meant for you, you’d love to believe that you’re alone because that’s how its meant to be, you’d love to believe you’re one of those people who are not supposed to be happy with their life. But it isn’t. You are meant to be happy, you’re meant to be loved and you’re meant to love. It’s not a primary defect; a broken heart isn’t something you were born with. It’s because you know the truth. You know that love is just a ruse. You know that there is no such thing as true love, you know that it is impossible to be spend the rest of your life completely satisfied with someone, you know people cheat, you know people say they love you when they don’t and others don’t even give the courtesy of a preceding false positive. You know people manipulate each other, you know people lie to each other, and you know people could be married but   actually hate each other and can’t bear to look each other in the face but want to deceive the world. You know love cannot make up for peoples’ deficiencies, you know people are hopelessly naïve and entirely ignorant. You know people fight, not just metaphorically, but they literally fight. They throw punches at each other and they hit each other with as many pain-inflicting objects as they can lay their hands on. You know people insult each other, the ones that are supposed to be in love, the ones that are supposed to be happy, the ones that are meant to be alive.

Love changes people; it turns them into monsters. Love pretends to be okay. Love believes it deserves what it knows it doesn’t. Love shatters your heart to a million pieces. Love makes you cry day after day after day. Love takes advantage of you; love controls you. Love tells you “she’s just my secretary”. Love has man-friends. Love slaps you in the face when you question his morality. Love leaves you and your unborn child. Love beats you behind closed doors. Love was the one who gave you that scar. Love was the one who put a gun to your head. Love reproaches you. Love makes grown-ups cry like babies. Love treats you like trash. Love will sleep with you today and call you a whore tomorrow. Love will never take you seriously. Love will ask you to trust him but won’t trust you. Love will take all you’ve got and leave you with nothing.

You know the truth. Love is about smiling for the cameras, love is about you two looking good together, love is about kissing in the hallway where everyone can see and love is about how many cows were killed on your wedding day. So you close your heart; you kill yourself over and over. You dull your emotional senses; you show no love and expect none in return. You become selfish; you live life for you. You flee from company and you go for alone. You shut people out; you alienate. You refuse to love because you know the truth: that love is pain. Love is anguish, love is like killing yourself a thousand times over, love is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and love is a devil’s favor. Love is not real but it’s all pretending; it’s a paralyzed state of mind. And the idea that love is a river that never runs dry, that love is our reason to live, that love is indeed a beautiful thing, that love makes you happy and satisfied, that love is hearing laughter in the rain, that love will take away all the pain of loss? That’s the fantasy; that’s the illusion. That is the lie and to live in that reality is to live in a lie; to live in that reality is to not be alive.

Alone is not dead; alone is alive. Alone is being aware of what is really going on. Alone is not wanting to be part of the fantasy world: not wanting to partake in the ruse. Alone on Valentine’s Day is not wrong, fake love on Valentine’s Day is. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with your mind. It’s just who you are and what you know, and aren’t we all products of our experiences? Alone is alive, alone is real, alone is the truth: No matter how together we are, deep down we are all-alone and that’s okay. That’s fine by you, because you’d rather be alone for the rest of your life than experience the kind of love you know that exists.

Mark Deer


Autumn Yellows

Autumn 2012Ah! Autumn, the time where the city is at its peak of beauty, with trees bearing leaves that look more yellow than the cornea of a person with jaundice, garnished by the tinge of magenta that comes with the clear sky. William Yeats captured it well enough when he said, “The trees are in their autumn beauty, and the woodlands paths are dry. Under the October twilight, the water mirrors a still sky”. Its that time of the year when people put on sad excuses for sweaters and complain about the subtle cold that seems like devilish chills after the atmospheric sauna that was the summer

There are a few things I love about autumn. Firstly, the name autumn: it sounds like what you’d name the prettiest girl in the world. Maybe its just my inner linguist talking but any word that puts two vowels close together always gets my vocabulary juices flowing. Autumn sounds like the something good, something relieving, something that heals; it makes me want to make more of myself. Secondly, the leaves: Oh! The yellow leaves, which mimics the color of a jaundiced Caucasian. They are shiny and dry and amazingly half dead. And then they fall, fall to the ground in a swaying motion, taking their time to make sure every bit of their life was worth it. Like they are heading for eternal rest in the bosom of some amazing dry-leaf goddess that would take care of them for eternity. It likens to the resolution of a movie, the part where the bad guy finally dies and good prevails, the part where you get to understand the twisted mind of the antagonist, the part where the insecure girl falls for the captain of the basketball team, the part where the prodigal son returns.

Autumn is my favorite part of the year. It lies between a moment of joy and a period of work. It is the perfect transition from reward back to labor. It inspires me. That as those leaves fall, one after the other, I shed my skin, and I give away every bit of myself back to the world that has given me so much. It makes me see me the way I ought to see myself, as naked; that nothing lasts forever. That the glories which sprouted in spring and blossomed in summer have faded away and once again I have to earn the right to be who I want to be. That I can’t be perfect no matter how hard I try. That no matter how much I blossom, there are just some things I can’t fight against. It reminds me that I am indeed insufficient. That I have limits and that the leaves with which I shield myself will one day turn yellow and fall away.

Best of all, it reminds me that it’s time. Time to work hard to make my leaves grow again, time to settle down and protect myself from the fiery winter, time to go into the dark and study hard, and most importantly, time to prepare to blossom in the upcoming spring. Because I have now come to see that the joy of success beats the pain of the process anytime, any day.