// Photography by Hannah Kingsolver

What’s that in the air? Oh, it’s just love.

Yes, today is Valentine’s Day. A day filled with chocolates, teddy bears, and expensive wine. While many attribute the holiday’s importance to capitalism, for many Valentine’s Day is just another day to let that special person know they matter. So, on this holy day of rom-com’s and red velvet cake, I decided to pick my boyfriend’s brains. I wanted to know if his definition of love was similar to mine.

Alcynna: Sooo, it’s Valentine’s Day? I’m going to ask you a few questions. Don’t hold back, okay?

Drew: Okay, go ahead!

Alcynna: So, I’m curious – what does love mean to you? I mean it means so many things for me. Sometimes when I think of love, I don’t immediately think of companionship. I think of care. Yeah, I think love for me translates into “care.” And you can care for anyone, regardless of their relation to you. If we are talking about being “in-love” though, I think it’s the security of trust, and the development of happiness!

Drew: I kind of have a hard time answering this. I immediately thought of the textbook definition of love, but now I realize that it is more unique to the individual. Love to me is that feeling you get when you look at a specific someone, and you can’t resist the urge to smile. Love to me is missing someone even though you were with them just 5 minutes ago. It’s the ecstatic feeling you get every time their name pops up on your phone, and that heart sinking feeling when you know they don’t want to talk to you. Love is sacrificing yourself to help your partner. Love is compromise. It’s intimacy with your best friend in the entire world. Love to me is the best feeling in the world.

Alcynna: Okay, wow Drew. Way to blow my answer out of the water!

Drew: I’m just being honest!

Alcynna: Alright, here is my second question. I know I am your first PoC girlfriend, how has this dating experience varied from any of your other relationships?

Drew: Being in an interracial relationship has taught me things. I’ve had the chance to learn about another culture that is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum as mine. It’s taught me what is okay to say and what isn’t. It has given me insight to many movements I didn’t truly understand. I’ve learned to accept my privileges, and that has humbled me greatly. But most importantly, it has taught me that love has no bounds. Everyone has the ability to love the same, regardless of where they’re from or the color of their skin.

Alcynna: Yeah, I have noticed a change from you when we started dating. I feel like I don’t have to explain as much anymore, and if I do you listen. I think that love is love regardless of skin, but there are certain things that people in interracial relationships face, that same race couples don’t. I think every day I am with you, I learn more about myself and how the world sees me as well. All in all, I am proud that we’ve learned to uplift each other, even if other’s rather see us fail.

Alcynna: What do you think social media does for relationships?

Drew: I think social media, and the internet as a whole, have given people the outlet they needed to truly express themselves. It brought together movements like #FreeLOVE. Also, LGBTQ communities have been able to come together to fight for their rights to love.

Alcynna: Oh, wow. That’s true. I was thinking more about the negative impacts it could have on relationships. There’s always something to distract you, ya know? But I like your answer better. It has done a lot of awesome things. I’ve seen so many different types of people being able to express their love online. That is a beautiful thing. My last question for you is what does this holiday mean to you?

Drew: Many people see Valentine’s Day as a capitalistic holiday meant for selling goods and making a profit, I see it differently. I see it as an opportunity to show someone how much they mean to you. Heart shaped chocolates and teddy bears might be nice but taking someone on a nice date or giving them thoughtful gift can mean much more.

Alcynna: Yeah, I like the holiday. It’s just like a birthday. You’re happy every day you are alive, but you are especially happy on your birthday. I am grateful every day I am in love, but on Valentine’s Day, I am especially happy to share it with you.

So all in all, I learned that my boyfriend expresses love verbally in a different way than I do, but we still feel it the same. I hope everyone out there can enjoy Valentine’s Day, whether it be with your significant other or your best friend.

Love is love, and we all deserve it.

For more from photographer Hannah Kingsolver, head to her website here.
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