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Love, Ames: Learning to love

Opinion editor Ames Radwan (currently pictured, bottom right) has been writing the Love, Ames column since their first year on campus (pictured top left).
Opinion editor Ames Radwan (currently pictured, bottom right) has been writing the Love, Ames column since their first year on campus (pictured top left).

Hi! I’m Ames, and I hate Valentine’s Day.

On a day filled with love and affection and heart-shaped everything, it can be fairly uncommon to see spite and vitriol — well, unless maybe you’re single. But, for the past three years, I have made it my personality to showcase the dark side of Valentine’s Day and tell the world just how much I hate this holiday.

Longtime readers of The Miami Student may remember my Love, Ames columns from each of the past three years.

In 2020, as a baby-faced freshman happily in a relationship, I shouted from the rooftops that Valentine’s Day was being overtaken by capitalism, that no one should have to celebrate their love for someone just because a certain day dictates it. 

Then, in 2021, as a still-baby-faced sophomore still in a relationship, I allowed my shell to soften a little — only a little! — as I admitted that Valentine’s Day was not all too bad when the strict regulations of a pandemic world kept us all from seeing the people we loved. But I still hated it! Let that be known.

Last year in 2022, as a hardened junior fresh out of a breakup, I went right back to being The Student’s resident V-Day misanthrope. I doubled down on the capitalistic tendencies of the holiday and claimed that monetizing love was not the way to go about celebrating it. I warned readers of The Student that, although I would steer clear of complaining about Valentine’s Day to avoid looking like a newly single and therefore bitter cynic, I would be back in 2023 to complain once more.

Well, here we are. It’s 2023.

I still think $115 is a bit much to pay for a floral Valentine’s Day gift, like Oxford Flower Shop’s “Classic Rose Royale” arrangement. I would still rather give my significant other a hug than a $255 life-sized teddy bear that was only $230 last year. I still think that doing something “special” is the way to go about celebrating Valentine’s, if it must be celebrated at all. I’m still mad when people find ways to monetize those, like through limited-edition Valentine’s bath products or holiday-specific board games

I still roll my eyes whenever I pass Walmart’s candy row, decked out in pinks and reds — and I roll them even harder when my next thought is something along the lines of: “That’ll be a great clearance sale after Valentine’s Day.” 

Freshman Ames said it best: “When one of the best things about a holiday is the sales during or after it, you’re not really celebrating the actual idea behind it.” Say it, 2020 me!

So here I am — I’ve complained about Valentine’s Day, as promised. And in the end, I feel almost a little sad. Like something is missing. 

This is going to sound cheesier than a $249 Valentine’s Day charcuterie board, but maybe all along, that missing piece was love. 

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I’m not talking about love from my parents or friends or from significant others — I’m happy to report that I have love from these others in abundance. 

All along, I think I didn’t have enough love in my heart for the world around me. 

I saw others fill their lives with heart-shaped chocolates and fancy jewelry, but what’s more, I saw what lies beneath that: the ability — nay, the want — to show off that love in their hearts to others. Though I gave Valentine’s and Galentine’s gifts every year, it was out of duty — a duty with which I felt forced to comply, because of societal demands, even though I preached my hatred for it both verbally and through lots and lots of writing.

As I approach graduation — something that is on a lot of seniors’ minds right now, this I know — I finally feel the love and appreciation that I have been lacking for so long.

I love my family, who have supported me throughout college with visits and letters and calls. 

I love my friends, who listen to me when I cry, who hold me back when necessary and push me forward when necessary, who have always come back to me. 

I love my teammates, a group of — well, they’re more family than friends, aren’t they? People who see me at my best and my worst and still stand and perform by my side.

I love everyone I’ve met at Miami, even if I don’t like them one bit, because every experience I’ve had here has shaped me into the person I am today.

(And I love the TMS readers, too!)

I have so much love in my heart now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There will always be heartbreak and hatred and seriously unnecessary spending of money we college students don’t have, but haven’t we always heard — through Disney and Pride and every love story ever — that love conquers all?  

Through my four years of writing “Love, Ames,” that is what I most needed to learn, and I’m grateful for it. I hope that maybe, after reading this, you feel a little more love in your heart, too.

Love, Ames