Imagine a video camera scanning a parking lot in the middle of winter, with a street light dimly lit overhead. A couple is observed sitting in a car and adoringly leaning toward one another. A male in the driver’s seat had asked the woman to get his wallet out of the glove box and she obliged. Inside, there was a gift box.
Well, we all know what came next. Yes, there was a ring inside. He proposed, she said, ‘yes’ and they lovingly kissed and embraced. How sweet and romantic. A perfect start to a beautiful dinner on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Considering that my adorable husband proposed in this way, I remember this celebration of love with fondness and adoration. On the other hand, some people have their finger symbolically down their throat at their displeasure of Valentine’s Day, at this very moment.
What began, in grade school, with preparing dozens of cards and exchanging them with classmates has become a ritual of flowers, chocolates, dinners and movies over the years. It would have never dawned on me that this event could spark so much negative emotion, in so many people. Apparently it does.
With all of the reminders of Valentine’s Day online, in the media and in advertising, many supposedly loathe Valentine’s Day more than any other ‘special day’ on the calendar. Some say it is too commercial. Others comment that there shouldn’t have to be a holiday where couples express their love to one another, as this should be done every day.
I guess you could say that about birthdays or anniversaries as well, but I love any chance to have breakfast in bed or have an excuse to lounge around in my housecoat all day, feeling pampered.
What about the person who has recently experienced a breakup? What about someone has lost their partner? What about a newly formed relationship, immediately prior to Valentine’s Day? What about a recent divorcee? What about the individual who is single and has been unsuccessfully looking for the right partner?
The most difficult Valentine’s Day I ever experienced was when I was separated from my husband, by ten hours and a laundry list of unresolved issues that kept us apart for almost three months. I was in a Sobeys grocery store picking up food supplies and decided to buy myself some chocolates.
I went back to the house I was using as my temporary home and office, lit a candle, watched a chick flick, ate almost the whole box of chocolates at one sitting and had a good long cry. I wallowed in what was not going well in my love life and had the sugar rush to prove it.
Valentine’s Day can be a trigger to internal self-talk that reminds individuals about the challenges and unfairness of life and relationships. It can be painful. It can be unpleasant. It can even be outright depressing.
If Valentine’s Day is dreadful for you, perhaps it may be time to make peace with it. If it helps, imagine that we are all in grade two and I have just placed a hand written valentine card on your desk. Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you don’t have someone to celebrate with, I hope that you are able to treat yourself to something that makes you happy and use it as an opportunity to celebrate you. On a cold winter’s day, perhaps a cozy comforter will do the trick. If we can learn to be our own best company, we will never feel alone again.
‘All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.’ ~ Charles M. Schulz