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  • Writer's pictureErin Clark

The most romantic

I’ve been posting about my favourite romantic memories with my friends. Which got me thinking about my favourite romantic memories with myself. I am excellent at romancing myself. Once, on a road trip with a friend who wasn’t interested in spas, I booked myself a spa day at the Hotel Royal Evian spa in France and then followed it up with a dinner for one during the chef’s special 5-course menu event. I flirted with my waiters and watched the sun set over Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman, as it was from my vantage point).

Every selfie shoot is a romantic encounter with myself. Sometimes the inspiration for them is to convey an artful premise, but the experience is always romantic. These selfies were taken in feb of 2016 or so when I was in Portugal and the Airbnb had the most perfect mirror/hallway/wheelchair configuration I’ve ever seen. The casual and sexy come hither lean —on wheels??? Oh what a dream and pleasure that was.

Romance, and the Selfies that come from that, mingle their roots with my other great love —travel.

Recently a friend told me of their plan to go skiing in the states (requiring international travel) on the heels of just having been scuba diving. My soul flinched like tin foil had just brushed against a cavity, a nerve flare, bitterness ripped through me. At rapid speed I envied, resented, rejected whatever experience they had of the pandemic that made that ... doable. And then... I felt... insecure? I couldn’t quite lay it flat enough to name. It rippled like heat in the air above tarmac.

I called @lauravonholt who shares my love of glamour and adventure and the talent for self-love.

“It makes sense to be jealous of a freedom I am not expressing in the way I usually would...” I had to keep pausing as I spoke, emotions surging and receding. “...and even that I wouldn’t respect what I normally hold in high regard —an adventurous appetite. But why am I feeling... as if I were... less... ?”

“My therapist told me something today,” Laura said, “That all our false narratives are being exposed. Is all that travel what made you you? This you — without travel glamour — is instead spending her time making an impact on federal legislation. Going off to ski is “cool” in a way that used to matter. But different things are cool now.”

I wasn’t just jealous, I was also differently aligned, not the good kind of friction, my values had shifted but my self-romancing hadn’t yet to celebrating the things that make me feel good about myself in *this* era.

Laura reframed the shift, so I could appreciate the emerging values instead of only compare them. I still seared with jealousy, but I also felt valued.

And that is my favourite romantic memory at the moment - last night, my hair greying, roots showing, my sheets past the time for changing, the light from my bedside table too low to be flattering, but just enough to be seen with so much love.

Laura had to go fold laundry and watch downtown abbey and I had to go lie with my hand on my heart, jerking and fluttering under my palm and tell it all about the new cool, and how I value what I’ve been doing lately, which is sometimes more evident in the absence of treasured things.

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