Dear Self, Will You Please Be My Valentine?
I hate Valentine’s Day. Let me explain myself. I don’t hate February 14th because I’m anti-romance. Despite two ugly divorces, I am actually a fan of love. I just can’t stand red roses and disgustingly commercialized fake displays of adoration. I’m all for spontaneity and letting someone that you’re smitten with know how you feel, just not displays of affection because one “has to”.
Years ago, before I got into social services or writing, I was a floral designer. I loved the creativity of designing customized one-of-a-kind creations for weddings, parties, and other special events. Inevitably, every florist must suffer through a week of hell in February when the world becomes engulfed in hundreds and hundreds of bouquets made from predictable red roses. What got me most about the drastic upsurge in flower sales, specifically red roses, was the forced nature of a large number of orders for them.
Sure, during the other 364 days of the year, orders will trickle in for anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions, and some of them will incorporate very sweet gestures of love. On Valentine’s Day, however, literally one annoyed husband or boyfriend after another frantically calls or visits their neighborhood flower shop to place an obligatory order for flowers. I can’t even count how many times a customer began their purchase with an intro such as “okay, what do I need to get to stay out of the dog house?”
Spare me the trouble and expense of a gift if it creates so much angst! Personally, I am sick of red roses and I no longer find them pretty after seeing them overproduced and pimped out in such high volume for a holiday; but, under no circumstances would I want anyone to ever buy me a present of any kind to fulfill an expectation dictated by the card and candy industry.
If someone loves me, I would hope that they would feel free to demonstrate their feelings to me in the most creative, heartfelt, and genuine way they could think of. Who would want a gift given under duress? If my love has to have his arm twisted behind his back to do something sweet or keep me from being mad- I’ll pass!
One thing all of us deserve is someone who loves us so much that it would bring them joy to do something nice for us to show us how much we’re adored and allow us to share in their joy. Sadly, many of never know much more than the mandatory flavor of romance. We may be lucky enough to receive flattery and attention early into a relationship or strictly by the husband-boyfriend playbook. Very few of us experience enduring, burning love as seen on the silver screen, let alone anything truly creative or capable of taking our breath away.
I’ll give points to any partner who at least gives romance a chance. I know not everyone’s gifted in the area of coming up with swoon-worthy ideas. Nothing’s worse than a partner who literally doesn’t give a crap if they let you down holiday after holiday, year after a year. I’ve been married to the man who can’t muster an “I love you” for months at-a-time, blows off every birthday, and whose one romantic gesture was a carpet cleaner he bought on clearance. I guess, as they say, it’s the thought that counts. The question is: what was he thinking?
So, who’s the one person you can count on to love you unconditionally, always have your back, do nice things for you, and remember all of your special days?
You! You don’t need someone else to tell you you’re beautiful, to recognize and respond to your every mood, or to understand you inside and out. You are your own most beloved Valentine and love of your life!
One thing for sure about life is that we can never be sure of how long we will have anyone else in our life. Having a true love is a magical thing, but we can’t pin all of our hopes on someone else making us feel loved or bringing us happiness. Whether I have a romantic partner in my life or not, I can be at least partially accountable for my own joy by taking out time to show love to myself.
Perhaps we can take better care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?
Maybe we can be a little kinder to ourselves and give some slack when we slip up and be more forgiving of our mistakes?
Perhaps instead of waiting for another person to do something nice for us we can take the reins and treat ourselves to our favorite morning coffee, a pretty bouquet of daisies, or that gorgeous scarf in the store window?
Who can we expect to get us better than us? Rather than continually being disappointed by the lack of a partner or a partner who is lacking in loving gestures, this Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to kick off the ultimate lifelong romance with yourself! My Valentine’s Day (or any other day of the year) won’t be ruined if I don’t receive the commonly-expected heart-shaped box of chocolates, a card, and some blossoms. I will be appreciative of any love token I receive, on Valentine’s Day or otherwise; but, I pledge to take charge of my romantic destiny and be my own Valentine!