For as long as I can remember, I've always hated Valentine's Day. And when I say 'hate', I mean the obscene kind that just puts the word 'abominate' to shame. In my view, aside from V-day being a huge marketing ploy, it is extremely discriminatory. This is the only holiday I know that groups people into 'committed vs. non-committed', 'attached vs. single', 'loved vs. not- or un-loved' and to some extent, the 'attractive vs. not'!
For a holiday that is supposed to be all about love, I've always thought there was something a bit cruel about V-day and I'm certainly no stranger to this cruelty. It's not a big secret that for a very, VERY long time, I was single. As expected, most of my V-days were either spent pining for someone who either didn't know I exist (or was in limbo with), or simply spent wallowing in some form of self-pity well guised in poised indifference as I hung out with my equally angst-filled girl friends. I've always found it extremely difficult not to feel sorry for myself during those times when everyone around me walked around with a bouquet of roses; or when I witnessed someone being serenaded and offered creative expressions of undying love. During those times, in college most especially, I never failed to question my self-worth. Year after year, one question, in all its possible forms, kept popping up: Why them and not me?...What is wrong with me that I'm still unattached?...And as Charlotte York from Sex & the City asked with such exasperation...."Where is he??!!?" For me, no other day on the calendar made me feel more alone and lonely than Valentine's Day.
Fast forward to when I found my permanent Valentine, my husband. I thought for sure that I would feel differently but honestly, I don't. Not even having a partner, an obliged date, changed my perceptions regarding V-day. I hate the commercialism surrounding it and the hype that, to me, just doesn't make sense.
I do, however, enjoy one thing about Valentine's Day. It's the fact that it gives everyone the license to unleash their sticky-gooey-saccharine-sweet-mushy selves. If you do think about this more thoroughly, that IS what Valentine's Day should be about. Legend has it that St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman priest. At the time, the Roman Emperor felt that single/unmarried men made for better soldiers since he observed that married soldiers tended to go off to wars only half-heartedly as they did not really want to leave their wives and families behind. The emperor then outlawed marriages to young men. The priest Valentine, feeling this to be unjust, decided to go against the emperor and continued to perform marriage rites in secret. When he was later found out, the emperor ordered for Valentine to be captured and put to death.
As you can see from the legend, St. Valentine is honored and considered heroic because he was a true romantic; not so much for his expressions of love towards his partner---he did not even really have one---but because of his belief in giving people the right to express their commitment to each other. His heroism lies in his choice to fight against all odds to defend romance, love and commitment. In other words, he was a real sucker for romance!
So let's not kid ourselves and say that Vday is about 'LOVE' in general. It's about romantic love. But like St. Valentine, Vday should really not be confined only to those with partners. It is for everyone who believes in love and romance and in my view, is really a day that encourages us all to look within ourselves and see how in our own little, CREATIVE ways, we can express that sense of romance, that belief in love, without giving in to commercialism. Let's take advantage of our license to be all mushy and celebrate all that is poetic within us!
**********For the whole month of February, all my blogs will be about love and romance. It will be fair to say (or warn you) that I will be milking my 'Valentine's Day License' 'till the last drop! So to you, my dear readers, enjoy the ride and I hope we shall all enjoy being sticky-gooey together! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥