Oh, Valentine’s Day. Or Single’s Awareness Day to the unattached.
To the masses, it’s just a stupid holiday that candy confectioners, floral arrangement businesses, and greeting card companies came up with in order to rake in a few extra bucks to keep momentum up after the fall/winter holiday season.
For years, people have assured me that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate romantic love, but all kinds of love — familial love, friendship, whatever. The cynic in me wants to call bullshit on that because if you look at the merchandise, that’s all it’s really targeted for. But the Edgar Allan Poe tote and chocolate dipped Oreo my mom gave me (and the other presents she’s given me on past V-Days) and the stuffed unicorn I’m going to get from Jen later today says otherwise.
I remember listing Valentine’s Day as one of my favorite holidays as a youngling because I liked the fact that we dedicated an hour of the day at school to eat cookies and drink punch and pass out super adorable cards to classmates and get super adorable cards in return. But then it stopped happening. Suddenly, I became painfully aware that Valentine’s Day was for romantic couples. And at school we were given the option to buy Crush-o-Grams or some other sort of treat to send to friends during the day, and if your name didn’t get called by the delivery person, well, it was just a bit soul crushing. I always found myself bitter because I didn’t have anyone to call my Valentine, or just didn’t have anyone in general, and the only person who ever sent me a Crush-o-Gram in high school was my mom and she marked it as “From Jon Bon Jovi” because I was totally into 80s music my junior year of high school and I thought Jon Bon Jovi was pretty hot. “You couldn’t have at least put Orlando Bloom? He’s my age appropriate crush! And he’s cuter!” I said to my mom after receiving it. It was a sweet gesture, but so embarrassing! I love her for it anyway.
Even though I had someone for two years to call my Valentine, and oh God was I ever excited to celebrate my first one as a non-single lady, I still thought the holiday was a bit stupid. Like many others have argued, I agree that it shouldn’t take one particular day of the year to make all these grand gestures to show the person you’re with how much you love them. But to be completely honest, I have to admit that I relished the fact that I wasn’t alone and could properly celebrate the day by social standards if I wanted to. You’d feel the same way if you spent 24 (or 25?) consecutive Valentine’s Days alone, wouldn’t you? And I thought I didn’t have to ever worry about being alone each time the 14th of February rolled around till the day I died. Silly me for being so confident in my last relationship. I also grew up with a father that sent my mom a beautiful bouquet of flowers no matter what each year. Even if he was in the Philippines (which he was for quite a few Valentine’s Days), there’d be a bouquet waiting for my mom at work. Oh, and this year he decided to put the flowers together himself (tulips instead of his usual go-to red roses). So yeah. Expectations. I haz them… thanks to the way my dad treats my mom and Disney movies. Stupid Disney movies.
And now I’m back to where I started. Flying Solo with no wookiee to keep me company in my cockpit. Today also marks exactly two months since my break-up, so I can’t help but feel a bit woebegone and angry on this day where romantic love is glorified and I’m still trying to cope with the fact that I don’t have it anymore, and probably won’t for quite some time.
George Takei posted this meme on his Facebook page with a caption that says: “Proof that you can be just fine alone today.” I’ve done this 24 or 25 times alone before. I can do it again. And I’d like to think I’m Han Solo, so this cheered me up a wee bit.
Whether you’re taken or single, I hope the day treats you well.