When this day rolls around each year, I always find myself debating whether to note it, or ignore it.
As the years pass, I find myself having far less patience for the major holidays, and Valentine’s Day is the worst of the lot. The pink-splosion at my local Fred Meyer almost made me physically ill, and reminders of the holiday are damned near inescapable. My problem with V-day is the same as with Christmas, or other commercialized occasions: the expectations that come with it become so obnoxious and demanding that it completely overshadows what we should be noting and appreciating on that holiday. Celebrations of love, family, togetherness, are forgotten in favor of fulfilling the obligation of making some grand and utterly expected gesture. It makes any sentiment behind the gesture seem smaller, more hollow, less genuine.
The consumer market focuses on couples, of course, because buying a diamond ring for your mother or your roommate is a tougher sell than buying one for your significant other. It’s about money, not feelings, and couples are the easiest target. That fixation on romantic pairings tends to make everyone who isn’t a couple feel like garbage. This is a day that’s supposed to be about love, and by focusing on one type of love, we’re almost encouraged to overlook all of the other loves that exist in our lives.
Last year, I’d ended a relationship of over three years, a scant 3 or 4 days before Valentine’s Day. Clearly, I understand the meaning of good timing. Breaking up was absolutely the right thing to do, at that point, but in the face of a beastly commercial holiday designed to extract Real American Dollars from couples, it’s still difficult not to feel at least somewhat melancholy. When you’ve recently become single, most would expect to feel the crushing weight of loneliness on V-day.
In my case? I had the opportunity to see something unexpected and wonderful.
I went into that weekend with an overwhelming amount of trepidation, and I fully expected to be spending most of my time alone, watching sad movies and wailing into alternating pints of beer and Haagen Dazs. Instead, I spent the 13th at a small-but-enjoyable gathering, with welcoming faces and engaging chatter. On February 14th, I woke up in less-than-spectacular spirits, but I soon found myself at a friend’s house, playing video games, nursing a hangover, and feeling vaguely emo, because I know some truly excellent people, who were understanding and willing to keep me company. I had a long coffee and heart-to-heart with a dear friend the following day, and I’d had words of support coming to me throughout the weekend, in-person, by phone, over e-mail, even via Twitter.
All of the caring, the support, the listening, and the laughter that came forth from everyone I spent time with over that weekend was unexpected, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so grateful, and so loved. The company of people who are dear to me was a far better gift than any amount of flowers, candy, or schmoopy poetry would’ve been. It still is.
With that in mind, I vote that you hug, kiss, call, or write someone awesome today, or maybe even several someones. It doesn’t matter if they’re friend, family, or lover; I’m pretty certain they’ll appreciate it, and they deserve to know that you appreciate them.
When tomorrow rolls around? Do it again. Love is awesome, and there’s no reason why we can’t show it, in some small way, every day. THE. END. <3