And I shrank as the kids who received many were harsh or mean to the kids who received few or none. I almost always identified with the latter group.
Among us girls, there was a barely withheld fury about whichever girl received the most Valentines. A young, catty, bitchy judgment that she most certainly didn’t “deserve it” for some reason or another,
This of course was the balm to barely and not really cover up how hurt we were that we didn’t receive any. Or that we received one or two, but only from the people who gave one to EVERYONE, and if I was an everyone then I really wasn’t quite that special at all, was I?
I was an everyone, not a Someone. And Someones were not mere everyones and everyone knew that.
And all the someones and everyones were fed abnormal amounts of sugar, just to sweeten the deal. So everyone’s emotions were on a capricious roller coaster up and down. A sugar high induced semantic spike in our collective February, imprinting a heart-shaped visual reminder that relationships or lack of them are sources of deep anxiety, drama, and social shame.
I call it VDRT. Valentine’s Day Related Trauma.
Happy Not Valentine’s Day!
To the degree that it is a shame-fueled marketing tactic, I’ll have none of it.
After all, what is the message underneath the Valentine’s Push?
“You are not special unless you are giving or receiving a present of some kind; and one that is of a high enough appreciation (impressiveness) value that the recipient will smile (a perfect smile for only $99!), and hug you!”
Just like in the commercials (canyon style echo: commercials commercials….).
If you are in relationship, there is pressure to purchase the “right” gift.
If you are not in relationship, you are reminded at every turn: every smiling and giddy couple, every diamond engagement ring commercial…
I was painfully cognizant I was alone on Valentine’s Day.
And though it “should” not be the case, I make it mean something, at least about myself (and watch me have judgment about my judgment, too! A maddening infinite regress! Here we go…):
- That if I am not in a stable & perpetually blissful partnership, it means that I am not yet “enough” to attract the right guy
- That there is something missing. Apparently I have not achieved the right way of being, style of apparel, waistline, or “set point” of attraction (maybe I should take another workshop…)
- That there is something I need to prove; to society, my friends, my family and most disturbingly, myself.
And under all the anger and judgment there is a deep sadness. I cry with tears streaming down my face as I feel this emotion. It is a sorrow birthed of painfully missing the companionship I so badly desire.
I wrote in a song, “Who is the one that I will get to spend the forever of right now with?”
There is such a profound verve for an other to share with, to play with, to love with.
Much of it is probably hormonal; a sex drive thing driven by our evolutionary desire to procreate, or at least copulate. It is said that sex is very good for you, and can prolong your life!
And it is also creatively fueled; wanting to be part of something that is bigger than just me. Creating life together. A sense of purpose, and a sense of home.
And much is social, a throwback to childhood; furtively looking to see who got the most Valentines and how many did I get relative to them?
And so, like a yoga, we come back to the mat; come back to ourselves; where is my posture? My stretch? My romantic relationship or desire for one? Where is my opportunity to allow what is?
So great… like every challenging thing it is an opportunity to learn and grow. And for this hopeless romantic, I am glad that (for this year at least) it is passed.
Thank you for reading, and for the opportunity to share a little bit about what is true for me right now.
I invite you to share below.
After all; we’re all in this together, right?
Alone = All one?
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