hooked on a feeling


It's that time of year again. Anxious couples making last-minute reservations, drugstores adorned with pink and red, my friends Snapchatting their boyfriends pictures of roses while we're in Target to drop hints. Like every other holiday, Valentine's Day and its participants don't specialize in subtlety.

It's not as if I haven't been preparing for February 14th, either, though. This is the second year in a row that I'm following the tradition that I made for myself. Movie, ice cream, wine. I've spent the past couple of weeks accumulating my ammunition, on the fluctuating budget of a college student. Fifteen dollars and three weeks has gotten me a pint of peanut butter chocolate gelato, a cheap bottle of red blend, and 10 Things I Hate About You on DVD. Bring it on.

I was raised by romantic comedies. I received an education from the likes of Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan, and eventually, the cast of Sex and the City. In middle school and high school my mother and I would watch movies together. She'd make stove-top popcorn and add just the right amount of salt and butter. We'd sit on the leather couch and watch whatever our hearts desired on HBO on Demand. I was hooked on love but didn't know what it was, and had yet to have a crush on a boy that wasn't unrequited. One night when I was in eighth grade, my mom and I were watching Circle of Friends. Minnie Driver's character had just spent time with Chris O'Donnell's character, and was on her way home on the train. She was leaning against the glass of the window and had a dreamy look in her eyes.

"I remember that look, " my mom said with a sigh. She looked over at me. "That's going to be you someday. When you fall in love, you're going to love hard." Of course I immediately dismissed her comments with a wave and a bratty, sarcastic comment but she ended up being right.  A few months later I had my first boyfriend and inevitable first heartbreak. The year was 2011 and Adele's 21 album had just been released. I listened to "Someone Like You" and "I'll Be Waiting" on a constant loop. I let everything affect me, as most fourteen-year-olds do. And Scorpios.

Now flash forward to nearly seven years later. There are many lessons that I've learned in love but love has also made a lesson out of me. I let love devour me and empower me. I wrote my fair share of breakup poems in high school. I love a lot of people but I'm still cautious with who I say it to. I've been brave. I've been stupid. It's a process. I don't necessarily label myself as a hopeless romantic these days, but I still indulge in rom-coms - I never pass up the opportunity to revisit You've Got Mail or Moulin Rouge.


I spent most of January fact-checking 52 date spots being featured in the February Issue of Cleveland Magazine, which was fun (albeit tedious). It's exciting to be single in a city - sure Cleveland doesn't match the size of other cites across the map but there is still a lot of love tucked in various pockets and corners. There's something for everyone. For me, I find love between the stacks and within the shelves of Cleveland's independent bookstores, like Visible Voice in Tremont, or on the walls of the museums. I have my girl friends to catch up with over coffee and my classmates to complain about assignments with, my coworkers to get drinks with.


Admittedly it does get lonely sometimes but that feeling is fleeting. For some reason self-loathing is associated with being single, especially around this time of year. Single isn't a life sentence or an illness. It's easy to be like, Damn, this sucks, but it's easier to remember how much is out there waiting to be seen.

Happy Valentine's Day. Make the most of what's in your heart.