As a gay feminist, I feel like I should say I hate Valentine’s Day because of the commercialism and heteronormativity. But I don’t – not really. It’s not really a holiday I look forward to celebrating, but I don’t have the full-on hatred that some people have for it. I’m often single on V-Day and when I’m not, I seem to be with partners who don’t really care about it, but it’s never been about that for me. I never had any horrible Valentine’s Day stories that ended up with me crying in a heap of ripped-up Valentine’s Day cards or throwing up on my babysitter’s carpet (haha, oh, Annabelle). I just have kind of been indifferent.
What I like is that it’s a time to tell everyone how much they mean to you. I mean, sure, all the commercials are marketed towards heterosexual couples finding out the best way to have a great night of sex on TV, but I feel like the buck doesn’t stop there. It’s not really about that for me. And working with kids, I see that more than ever.
I still have Valentines from children who painstakingly worked on handmade cards to give me on that day. I’ve been given chocolates and candies by parents I’ve worked for. My friends and I have sent each other Valentines in the mail, or gone out for Bitter Singles dinners, or hung out in hot tubs with wine, deriding those who are together. I’ve spent time with partners at fancy restaurants and exchanged gifts. All of these things let me know that I was loved. That, to me, is the whole point of the holiday.
My friend Marisa is doing a Project 365 blog that centres around hearts – she finds them everywhere and photographs them. It’s fun to read because it’s not just about where you can find a heart shape, it’s about remembering that love comes in all forms, and that if you feel unloved and unwanted, you need to remember that’s not the case. There’s always someone who’s thinking about you. There’s always someone wondering how you are, even if they’re not right in front of your face.
In a time where Seasonal Affective Disorder is rampant for me, this day helps me to remember that. To remember not to give up, because you’re not only going to disappoint everyone, you’re going to really drive a stake into the heart of that person who loves you.
I spent some time with a really good friend yesterday and that, to me, was a great way to celebrate this holiday. Or watching all the kids trail home outside my window carrying paper hearts and crafts, red and pink everywhere, confetti and glitter littering the sidewalk. Chasing my cat up my hallway stairs because she’s mischievous and I know she just loves it when I chase her. Enjoying the power of good medicine for a tooth infection. Listening to transcendent music and smiling, smiling, smiling.
Valentine’s Day is literally a way to appreciate the small love that comes in many different forms, every single day. And I think that’s why I like Valentine’s Day – it’s not about grand gestures or lots of gifts, or the right way to properly celebrate. It’s just about love in the middle of a long winter.
Happy Valentine’s Day, readers – and I send my love to you all.