Today marks the first Friday of February, meaning that it’s also National Wear Red Day. When I first saw this ‘holiday’ flagged on my work calendar, my initial reaction was, “Oh cool, a day to mindfully dress in a color that is widely renowned as salient, sexy, and confident. I’ll dress to that!”. But after a bit of some personal research, I came to find that this national day of wearing red stands for something much more significant than just simply a bold color. This particular day was created 15 years ago to bring awareness to the #1 killer in women—heart disease. It’s no coincidence then that the color red was chosen symbolically to refer to our hearts.
A heart is a beautiful, yet vulnerable organ. As long as it continues to beat, we continue to be alive. It is responsible for our blood’s circulation to every vein, artery, and capillary in our body. And while it is the very reason for our livelihood, it is also the number one reason for our death. I found this to be ironic, in the least comical sense of the word.
Naturally if we were diagnosed with a disease of any organ, we’d respond by suggesting immediate removal of it. However, this is not an option when it comes to the heart.
The heart has long been esteemed as the mechanism behind our passion, our love, and our emotions…the backbone and driving force of our relationships. The catalyst of malice and revenge involving love stories gone amiss. It is irrepressible. It is the reason for everything we do, if we are in fact following our hearts. Our hearts bring us closer. We keep people in our hearts. Memories in our hearts. We have compartmentalized our hearts, to give everything we love a place in it. And yet, this very structure becomes diseased. By what? What can possibly challenge the strength and nature of this magnificently incredible derivative of life?
This is not, by any means, the first time we’ve been akin to something beautiful also turning out to be vulnerable. We’ve seen this before, many times. For what is beautiful, must also be vulnerable…in order for it to be beautiful in the first place.
Try as we might to guard it from danger, we really have no control over its scientific adversaries, extensive wear & tear, and tragedies that inevitably befall. It has been planted in the center of our chests, and yet we have no choice but to succumb to its tumultuous, yet catastrophic workings.
It is no surprise then, that we are granted a day to celebrate both the glory and misfortune of our hearts. It is a day to be humbled by the inexplicable propensity for our hearts to maintain their own electric pulses for decades without a fault. Through trauma, grief, passion, love, and metaphorical ‘heartbreak’…they never fail us, all but once.
A woman’s heart is strong, despite its susceptibility. It can be cracked, worn, and shattered, but it can never be wrecked.
Happy National Red Day.
To donate to the American Heart Association, visit heart.org