Demi Lawrence is a freshman telecommunications journalism major and writes "Demi's Diems" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Demi at dnlawrence@bsu.edu.

Demi Lawrence

In elementary school, my school used to leave decorated paper bags on the floor of our classroom and our classmates would slip Valentine’s Day cards in them. It was always so exciting, I remember, to see what I got in my pink-painted, glitter-covered paper bag. I remember swooning, or any third grader’s idea of “swooning,” when I read a crush of mine’s name on the little paper most likely bought from Kroger the night before because the parents forgot about the in class party happening the next day.

Such an innocent idea of “love” I had. We all did at that age, all we knew were Hollywood’s depiction of love and, for some of us, our parents’ example of love. But the idea of what “love” is has quite obviously changed over the years. My 8-year-old self had no idea what love was at that point, but I could have sworn to you that I did. And I realize that now, ten years later, I still don’t know everything there is to know about love. But I like to think I have a good skeletal blueprint in my mind and heart.

Love can come in many forms. It can be hidden in comforting hugs, soft smiles and taking out the trash so the other doesn’t have to deal with such a smelly calamity. Love is not always big bouquets of flowers or expensive sentiments. While those things can definitely imply love for someone, that’s not the basis of “love” in itself. Love is not defined as getting someone pretty gifts or going bankrupt just for one holiday. Love, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.”

But an online dictionary definition simply cannot encapsulate the vast beauty of what love really is. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to have considered myself “in love” at one point in my life. From this experience, I’ve realized that love is many things and not just one solid definition. Love, how I’ve experienced it, is walking alongside someone while they endure the hardships of life. It is selfless, patient and attentive. Love pulls you in even when you push away. Love holds you while you’re knocked out from prescription pain medications. Love spends time with your family. Love helps you pack your things for college. Love isn’t always perfect. Heck, love is almost never perfect. But love apologizes for its shortcomings, and love forgives.

How I’ve experienced it, love is somewhat of a home. You feel safe, you feel secure.

But love in itself is not a home. Home can exist independently without love, or at least how we depict love in society today. Love is not required to build a home, but it sure can help.

We can exist, thrive even, without a romantic love. If you are without a significant other this Valentine’s Day, embrace it. Single life is a time for you to dive deep into your self identity, help you discover who you are and what you’re doing on this planet. Not to say you can’t do that while in a relationship, but singleness is a wonderful door to self discovery.

If you’re single, tell your friends and family you love them this year. For Valentine’s Day, I plan on getting all my best friends something. Granted it won’t be anything huge, but I just want to let them know I love them. When I lived at home, my parents always got me something for Valentine’s Day. Even if it was just a small piece of candy, they got me something to remind methat they love me. Non-romantic love is just as important as romantic love, if not more important, in my opinion.

Love exists in simple words like, “Let me know when you are home safe,” and “This made me think of you.” Love exists in side glances, in flushing of cheeks and in belly aching laughs. Love exists in the tiny crevices of our hearts, and in the biggest ideas known to man.

Love exists everywhere, we just have to find it. We have to find it, and arguably more importantly, we have to embrace it.