My favorite thing about Cancer natives has always been their affinity for romance. These sensitive lil' crabs are so prone to rosy cheeks and bubblegum dreams, they're so full of love they could rightfully burst.
I'm constantly between finding myself attracted to this attribute and repelled by it. In high school, I was relentlessly labeled as a hopeless romantic. I subscribed to the idea of soulmates; I was a sucker for a good rom-com; I swooned over affectionate couples. It's a bit of an understatement to say that a lot has changed since then. A combination of aggressive catcalls and repetitive heartbreak has led me to a more resigned, cynical viewpoint on romance.
I am still so in awe of the romantic worldview, though. Sometimes it's because I miss feeling fluttery and wine-drunk. But mostly my awe is because I think this worldview can be led away from the sloppy expressions of PDA and weaponized for better use.
Last year, I took a literature class on the Age of Romanticism. That's capital-R "Romanticism," as in the business of creation; the employment of William Wordsworth and Blake and Wollstonecraft. On the very first day of class, my professor described it as the "principle of rebellion."
The concept of romantic rebellion has been with me every day since. This is a rebellion through the power of imagination, the belief that art transforms human nature into a livable world. Whereas the Enlightenment treated people as a whole, as abstractions, the age of Romanticism turned its focus away from object study towards the study of life as each individual interprets it.
I think combining (lowercase-r) romanticism and (capital-R) Romanticism is what makes art, particularly poetry, so poignant and important. And during this all-important season, that's what I'd like to celebrate.
Photos found on Tumblr.