Yup, the calendar has turned and it's that day again. February 14th. Saint Valentine's Day. Stores and cubicles are festooned with red and pink hearts, people stand on street corners hawking roses and over-sized teddy bears, and the lament begins. Happy Singles' Awareness Day. Every Kiss begins with Kay (TM). I even saw a commercial with a guy in satin pajamas lounging in a candlelit bedroom imploring men to give their women the ultimate gift for Valentine's Day - self-exam for testicular cancer. The tagline: "Why give her a diamond when you can give the family jewels?" Are you fucking kidding me?
I know it may seem blasphemous of me. That I might have to turn in my woman card or that as a married woman I should just shut the fuck up, but I hate Valentine's Day.
I had the typical childhood experiences with this "holiday". I actually liked it back in the day when all you had to do was take a shoe box, some glue and construction paper and BAM! you've made yourself a little mailbox. Everyone in your class got a list of names, so no one would be left out. On Valentine's Day, you'd get a bunch of pre-made, store-bought cards with cartoon characters and super heroes slinging bad puns about love when you're still at an age that the opposite gender has cooties. Back then, it was enough to know that your mom paid $3 for someone to bring you a paper heart with a mint Scotch-taped to it in the middle of class.
Oh, dear God... PUBERTY! I'd say that's when my utter loathing for Valentine's Day began. Gone were the days of indiscriminate card giving. Down with conversation hearts and shoe-box greetings. Candygrams became a status of your worth! If Cupid sent you something it meant that you had value in the world. As you can probably tell, I never got one. I spent many a Valentine's Day single and hating it. Spent many dances in the corner wishing someone other than my probably-gay friend would ask me to dance. Then, I got a boyfriend and I basked in it. I overcompensated by being disgustingly cute and ignoring everything else in the world except for him and marching band. When that relationship ended, I got used to flying solo for February 14th...and hated it even more.
Many years later, after it has "gotten better" just like they say, I am a married woman with a spectacular family. I've married my best friend, we have a daughter... I smile so much my face hurts and can't stop thinking that I've either won some kind of lottery or I'm in a coma and got really good drugs. But, even still, I find myself cringing on Valentine's Day. Maybe it's performance anxiety. Maybe it's just a lingering habit from my single years. Or maybe, this "holiday" is a bunch of bullshit.
Money/Candy/Diamonds/Flowers = Affection and Worth in the World
This is the equation we're given to believe. And Money/Candy/Diamonds/Flowers received on a specific calendar date = Exponentially More Affection and Worth?
I don't think so.
We're told that we're alone if we don't have that ONE special person on this ONE day of the year. That we are meaningless to the rest of society. That is bullshit. You can still be alone in a crowd of people who love you? It goes like this: you define your worth, not a Hallmark holiday. Being loved by one person? Eh. My friends and family love me and that is pretty damn cool. As my friend Giorgos commented, he is blessed with not one but DOZENS of people who care about him and take pleasure that he is in the world.
My point? Every day is an opportunity to tell people that you care, that you love them and are blessed to know them. You don't have to have a "special" someone to be loved. No one day with its red and pink frippery can contain the amount of love there is in this world to give.
So, I've come full circle, in an odd way. Where once Valentine's Day was a thing for kids, just another day with silly cards, now I come to it with some bitterness toward the consumerist nature of the day, but with a sense of juvenile humor.
Happy Valentine's Day from me to you...