Ahhh... Valentine's Day - the evil nemesis of most single women. That day that reminds you once a year that YOU ARE ALONE!! The social reminder that you are unloved and perhaps... just maybe, unlovable! Heaven forbid!
I am one of those souls that has never... not once... not in the 39 years of her life, had a date on Valentine's Day.
My twenties were the worst... that longing for someone who thought I was special on that one day. Who thought enough to make a special effort for me. Ahhh... how I longed for that... And, of course, that was the period when many of my friends were beginning to couple up and some were starting to have children. It all combined to enhance the absolute loneliness that I spent the majority of my twenties feeling. And it helped me develop a special sort of cynicism towards all things Valentine's. The commercials were the worst to me... those awful prove-your-love-by-purchasing-expensive-jewelry ones that guilt men into spending more money then they likely should. Plus, it perpetuates the idea that women only value a man for money and what they can give them, which is such a false (at least to amazing, healthy women who value more than the next pay raise) stereotype. GAH!! But, that's a whole other gender dynamic post.
My thirties were easier. I had amassed a collection of friends who were thirty-something and mostly single. We would all celebrate in a large 10-12 person group (single and coupled-alike), celebrating our platonic love for each other by eating an expensive meal at a nice steak house. It was always fun to make a reservation for... 12. So entirely unexpected and it felt wonderful thinking about how they were going to find a spot for us amongst the two-tops. It was healing on my ravaged self-esteem. Even though I wasn't going to make love to one of them by candle light later that evening, they all thought I was special enough to spend the evening with. And we laughed and celebrated love in the broadest sense of the word. Diversity... such an amazingly, wonderful reality.
I thought I had made peace with February 14th. Perhaps not so much...
As previously mentioned, I'm working on starting my own Happiness Project. I had toyed briefly with trying to get my act together enough to start in February and my initial thought was that I'd make it the month of "Be Loving." I would focus on the positive of people, gather everyone's birthday to begin my year (and hopefully beyond) of acknowledging birthdays, give more compliments and send a Valentine's Day card to many of my friends. Well, starting this February was a bit too ambitious but I still wanted to let those I care about and that I don't always have regular contact with know that I was thinking about them and sending them love. Off to the store I trot... gather up pretty cards and pink and red note cards. I pull out my little heart hole punch and set to work. I had a grand time thinking about my friends opening their mail box to discover a Valentine's card sent just for them! It made me smile and feel happy... just the thought. I mean, really, when was the last time you received a Valentine's Day card... elementary school?? And that may have been only because Little Billy's mom made him fill out a card for everyone in the class. So, I imagined how I would feel if I opened my own box to the tangible knowledge that someone cared enough of me to actually go buy a stamp and put something in writing and deliver it to antiquated but reliable USPS, instead of simply sending an email or posting a general "Happy Valentine's Day" on Facebook.
Today I dropped off 68 cards in the mail... two of which will be traveling overseas and won't make it in time... but will be a late surprise. And it occurred to me... this is going to be another year where I spend Valentine's Day without the absolute knowledge that I'm loved by someone special who thinks I'm equally special. It made me tired. I wondered when... and will... it ever happen for me. Oh... don't get me wrong.. I KNOW that I have a large and fantastic group of friends that are sending me lovely thoughts 365 days a year. But, let's be honest here... it's simply not the same. It's just not. And I am so, so tired of being alone.