A few months ago, a friend of mine who now lives in Prague sent me a short video: it was a 6-minute-long monologue on the complexity of saying I love you.
In it, the character, interpreted by Quebec-born, 29-year-old comedienne Ina Mihalache, aka Solange, debates, in pauses and silences, lifting her eyebrows, shrugging her shoulders and smiling generously, how we should all say a little more I love you to people around us (including strangers, partners or friends). She explains, armed with a serious dose of poetry and her irresistible, faintly melancholic humour, that saying those three words to your new partner doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to live together, or have the three-kids-two-dogs-and-a-goldfish scenario; baring it to your neighbour, your friend or a stranger doesn’t imply that you want to hook up and settle with him or her for the rest of your life. In fact, sometimes, it doesn’t hint at anything. It just is: love bursting through your lips, even when you don’t yearn for ‘I Love You’ to be blurted your way.
In Solange’s words: ‘I say I love you because these are the words that express most simply what I am feeling at a very specific moment, even if this moment only lasts 30 seconds. It would be so sad for me not to say it, so sad to deprive myself and the other person from such a wonderful feeling and one that can transform one’s day.’
Of course, declaring I love you is not as easy as saying ‘hello,’ and grabbing the first stranger by the arm and giving him or her a loud, unswerving ‘I love you’ might not impress either partner.
But what I especially like in this monologue is the reminder that love happens when it is shared; it really exists only when it is given away. If we ponder for too long, if we don’t trust our spontaneity and the value of the words (somehow less physically engaging than a kiss or a hug), the possibility to say it, loudly, clearly and confidently, may pass. And once it does, we deprive two souls, connected for maybe only a moment, of something unexpectedly good.
Eventually, Solange looks straight at the camera and with a gentle and honest smile on her face, declares I love you. She says it to me, to you, to whoever may be watching; she gives it away like a gift, with no prospects, no expectations, no weight, other than the unbearable lightness of knowing that someone, somewhere, might be listening and feel that special joy.
To me, this issue is all of us ELLE Belles telling you, our dear, special, unique, precious, one-of-a-kind reader:
We Love You.
From the cover, shot in Cape Town with the twins Suzane and Suzana – beautiful, liberated, sexy and fun, their bond evident from the first flash, dressed in colourful knits by Laduma – to the ELLE team opening up on their most memorable kiss, or the soft and incredible grace of the Imperfectly Perfect beauty feature, February is our way, page after page, to say it loud and clear, again: we love you!
No expectation of ‘Love You’ back (although it would not hurt), no heaviness of the world on our collective shoulders while you turn these wonderful pages. Just We Love You.
And we hope that you also feel that special joy. Of loving, and not being afraid to say it.