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Ellen Page’s speech at the Time to Thrive Conference in Las Vegas is the Valentine that swept me off my feet. My actual Love Day consisted of falling asleep post-pizza binge while watching Jackie Brown with (non-feline) friends. And probably drooling. Despite a love affair with carbs, this wasn’t the magical evening that Hollywood has incepted into my imagination. Good thing one of its own was on the case. Canadian actress Page won countless hearts, mine included, not with chocolate or roses but a beautiful and badass admission of self (she’s gay) that won’t soon be forgotten. I commend her courage in speaking out about who she is and speaking up for those who don’t feel safe enough to do so.
I initially envisioned this blog post as an epic comparison between ice dancing and love–the pageantry, the scandal, the triumph or in the case of Scott and Tessa, the defeat. I figured the world was over Valentine’s Day and the whole Ellen-Page-comes-out thing. But I’ve been thinking about her speech all week, about how simple words delivered with grace, wit and much aplomb can, hopefully, make things a little less “horrible” for people. It helps if they’re shared often and widely. So I’ll do my part and share them with you:
“Loving other people starts with loving ourselves.”
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating. Over and over and over again because it’s that important and we’re that terrible at doing it. If you’re stuck on where to start, WikiHow will get you going. Pick a few areas where you’ve been lagging in self-love. For instance, learn how to say no, or make a point of being kinder to your body and nourishing your physical self. Small changes make a world of difference to your self-concept and, in turn, the success of your relationships.
“Tired of lying by omission.”
What we don’t say speaks volumes, and as Page describes, can take a serious toll. The stress of keeping a worry or secret under wraps just isn’t healthy. Maybe you’re perfectly honest with your friends and loved ones, but probably not. If there’s something on your mind, give yourself permission to let it go.
“Love, the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes even the pain of it is the most incredible gift to give and receive as a human being.”
Now I remember why Valentine’s Day has so much potential. It’s not just a romcom with Taylor Swift or Hallmark heyday. You can run with it, authentically, so much so that someone weeks or years later will remember the card you gave or that speech you shared. When I mentioned my Valentine’s evening earlier, I left out the part about how my aunt all the way in Ontario sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. It was completely unexpected and still makes me smile. Don’t be afraid to give love, and remember to be gracious when receiving it.
“We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.”
I probably don’t relate to this statement the way someone of the LGBTQ community would. Still, I want this type of love–robust and unapologetic–for people. For Ellen Page, for my friends and family, for the haters on YouTube, for myself. I won’t settle for less; nor should anyone.