That title is so overly dramatic but I am feeling my inner drama queen today. I am alternating between talking with M, my valentine because I declared it so, and writing this post. I do not really care to google and try listening to the reader to find the true origins of Valentines day according to the internet. I would rather point out that Valentines day for many people isn’t so great. Last year I was married on Valentines day, and according to society there should have been something… anything…
Nope. It was the worst valentines day I had had since being in school. I know many people had a horrid time when it came to valentines day. This day that celebrates heteronormative relationships, that is used to shun, shame, and provoke hurt in people. That is the association I have long held with Valentines day. My knee jerk reaction to any discussion about this ‘holiday’ is instant anger to hide the wounds. My first valentine card heralded a life time of misery with it. The teacher made it mandatory for every person to give valentines. Not only did I have the shame of not being able to afford the glossy preprinted kind but, every single person in my class wrote under the nice message something mean. I wanted to cry. I knew better already of course. My teacher found them, because I dumped mine in the trash. She chewed me out for being ungrateful. She shamed me. I remember her words. “How dare you! That’s a gift.” She read them, she saw the mean words. Whore, fatty, weirdo, freak, no one loves you. She saw how hateful they were but I was the bad person for not thinking, as she put it, “It’s the thought that counts.” Their thoughts were clear. They didn’t want to include me. They found a way to exclude me and not get into trouble for it.
Over the years nothing changed, Valentine’s Shame continued. High school there was a minor difference, valentines were no longer mandatory. I have a memory of one good day, but I still felt on the outside. The popularity contest for Valentine’s Princess came around, and someone entered my name. I remember the humiliation I felt as we walked into the hall so the class could vote. I stood out there with the pretty girls, the girls that had all the friends, money, one had a BMW that she was given for getting her driver’s liscence and I couldn’t even afford to take driver’s ed. They all talked together about what they would do if they won. No one considered that I could.
I won. Then I was stranded with the poverty and expectations of what I must do. That year one of the girls in the advanced classes I took did something for me that I will never forget. She didn’t make a fuss but instead gathered her friends, all of whom had the money and many of whom were popular. These girls were not from this town I was in, they had moved there later in life. Perhaps this is wh y they did it. They gathered funds, bought me a dress, sent me to a hair salon to get my hair and make up done, and made sure I had a ride to the obligatory events. I wasn’t forced to reject it because I was poor and for the first time I felt what it was like to be beautiful. I tear up remembering this because it hurts in some ways, but most of it is good. This event for that school was the equivalent of Homecoming and Prom Queen. The best of the best were represented. There was news paper attention, it was a big deal. That is the only time i was in the year book, often my picture “got lost”. After Valentines Day and all the pomp and circumstance involved, everything reverted. I was outside again.
From that year on even to this year I have been alone. Dating didn’t mean I did anything. A few times there was something small but it was never fun. It was never what you see on TV or what I have heard others talk about. I have discovered a horrid secret. I prefer valentines day alone or with friends. M is my Default Valentine. I mean this as a compliment. I trust him, I would hug him and I am not a fan of the hug. He knows many of my inner secrets, he is who I call when something is wrong and I cannot think it through. He is my best friend. He is as close to Sprite as a person can get, with the emotional resonance.
I am left to wonder, how many people stop celebrating Valentines day because they are alone and may not choose it/? I am alone now but I did choose it. I have the option of trying to date. I have the choice, wonder of wonders. I chose to spend today alone in quiet. Part of that is the fact my head is spinning still but most of that is because it feels better. I do not have to primp up, risk dying because we went out somewhere, nor do I have to put away my inner pain to make someone else happy. I can eat my left overs or my smoothie meal supplimenty thing, I can snuggle the cats and I can write.
Happy Valentines Day. This is the first one for me where I feel it. I am confused a bit, I thought after the romance challenges I have had I would want to die more. It’s less. I don’t mind the hearts, I secretly am enjoying some of the pink. I noticed little things as always… it’s still a day but it is a day where I can say that I love, when maybe I wouldn’t. There is a lot to love. Perhaps this is a sign that I am beating out the depression. Perhaps… maybe not. It is still a glorious moment in the sun, today, for I love someone and I know I am loved in turn. Unconditionally. M is the only person I have ever had that with. Love is Conditional in so many circumstances, how can today not be good? I have friends. I have love. I have food. I have shelter.
What is it that gives you that peaceful feeling? I do not feel empty. I do not feel full. I do not feel burdened. I feel peace. That is the true secret of Valentine’s day. It should be a day of peace.
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