The Art of Love

The Art of Love

A Valentine's Treatise

With Valentine’s Day starting off this week, it is easy to focus on a very superficial, all-consuming, Facebook Official, flutter-in-your-stomach, here’s-how-many-roses-and-chocolates-and-cuddly-pandas I received definition of love. While it’s nice to know how loved you are by others in that certain kind of way, I think that if we're going to call Valentine’s Day a real holiday (and not just a capitalistic tug on the heart strings) then it should also be a day that we reflect on love in general, just like Thanksgiving causes us to reflect on gratitude.

As I said, it’s easy to be focused on one kind of love on Valentine’s Day, but that’s so restrictive to the real human capacity for the emotion. I know that when I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was a day of affection for me and my family as well as a day to show my classmates how much I cared for them. When my sisters and I awoke as children and came down the stairs to see heart-shaped goodies from our parents, it was akin to the excitement and love of Christmas day. Similarly, in our elementary classrooms, I remember looking forward to passing out Hello Kitty (or Spongebob) themed valentines to my friends and peers. As adults, why don't we pass out simple "participation" valentines like "Hey, you're a human. Thanks for showing up. I appreciate your existence." Today, as I walked through the Art Institute downtown, I found myself wishing Happy Valentine’s Day! to several people, mainly the bored-looking museum attendants. One of them perked up and said, “You’re the first one to say that to me!” It was nice to have brightened someone’s day in such a simple way. I think Valentine’s should be a space for us to remember how much we are capable of showing love to those around us. Rather than being “anti-Valentine’s” or constraining love to a simple ideal of romance, we should view Valentine’s as a platform where we can better love everyone, even if it's in as simple a way as saying hi or sending them a gif valentine over Facebook.

I also think Valentine’s should be a day where we love ourselves well. A lot of people get curmudgeonly on Valentine’s Day because they focus on how other people don’t love them enough. The beautiful thing about Valentine’s Day is that you can treat yourself, too. Be kind to yourself, first of all. Being with or without someone isn’t a barometer of your self worth. I know it’s past Valentine’s now, but I don’t think it’s too late to do something simple that you enjoy. I spent the day wandering around the Art Institute and filling myself up with the beauty of craft. I walked around and loved seeing the smiling couples, holding hands with each other or their children. It made me happy to see love around me—not only expressed between people, but also to see love within the art works I appreciated. Each work was an expression of passion’s labor, and a good number of works pondered on human relationships and the idea of beauty. Love, in a way, is an art that we can all practice. It takes skill, finesse, and a deft hand, but it also takes clumsy energy, fearless determination, and a big eraser called “forgiveness.” Whether you choose to spend this week loving others or yourself, I encourage you to think about the art of love and how you might become your own sort of expert at it. CJB

Cover Image Credit: DesignOval

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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