BlogHer Voice of the Week: Tea of Tea & Cookies
I wish I had read Tea of Tea and Cookies on those lonely Valentine's Days as an unattached single, when the only way to survive this reputed holiday was to ignore it and insist that even if I had had a paramour that it wouldn't have made a difference--it was just another day in February. I would have seen that I had been missing the point. If, as Tea suggests, Valentine's Day is really about celebrating love in its most universal sense, then I was never really excluded from it.
In "Got Love in Your Life?", Tea avoids formulaic pep talk that other writers often offer up to placate singles in their Valentine's Day coverage. Instead, she offers a brand new perspective, validated by various people in her life, and reinforced with images of her niece's cherubic hands cutting dough and assembling treats. The end result warms your heart more than roses, chocolates, shiny baubles, or edible underwear ever could. This is a post that deserves attention all year round.
Tea opens with a simple observation her brother once made when he had encountered an old high school friend and he'd asked her if she had a boyfriend. No, his friend had said, she had a girlfriend.
“You can’t make assumptions these days,” Tea's brother told her. “Now I just ask: ‘Got love in your life?’”
From here Tea frees herself and her readers to define for ourselves what it means to have love in our lives. She gives us some good examples: A woman who nursed her ex-husband during his dying days; a friend who nominated herself to be Tea's personal helper during her book tour, a woman who upended her life to take care of her sick dog. We see that even in the loneliest of times, or when romantic love is nowhere to be found, we still have love in our lives.
She also challenges us not to simply hope for love in our lives, but to pursue it with others:
It’s a hard thing, this love business. It’s scary, it’s fraught, it makes us feel vulnerable. ... And the quest for romantic love often feels like an obstacle course—like one of those carnival games where you sit still and people try to throw a pie in your face. It's full of dashed hopes and potential embarrassment. Who wants to stick around for that?
And yet, the longer I do stick around, the more convinced I become that we cannot do it alone."
Tea expresses her love by donating to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), "so that hopefully, in someone’s darkest hour, they can discover that there is love in this world, that strangers care, even for them." We're transported out of our usual, cynical take on this "Hallmark" holiday and feel like joining Tea's mother and niece in a tap dance, or stealing one of their raspberry-jam-filled sandwich cookies. Love has become sweet again.
Congratulations, Tea! You are the BlogHer Voice of the Week.
And thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming! If you want to check out all the BlogHer of the Week posts, check out the BlogHer Voice of the Week archive.
For Elisa, Jory, and Lisa, BlogHer Co-founders
Jory Des Jardins writes on business and career topics at BlogHer, and on her personal blog From Here to Autonomy