I purposely didn’t blog on Friday, Valentine’s Day, even though my writings are about the trials and tribulations of finding love. I walked a precarious walk, being single for the first time in a long time and the I wasn’t sure what the day would have in hold for me. Reminders of heartbreak? Yearning for a relationship, just when I was getting my Singles Sea Legs?
As with most days, I started mine on social networks and was quickly taught that in general there are two camps for this, The Day of Love:
Those whose expectations are being met, or exceeded –
— and The Others.
One side gushes of love, and how wonderful the day is, posting picture after picture of flower arrangements and stuffed animals holding cookies or balloons that they received from people who love them. Picture after picture. Posts back and forth to their lovers, spouting how much love was in their hearts.
In the meantime, The Other side sits there, reading this, being reminded they aren’t part of the celebration and thinking of ways to painfully torture the lovesick until for the love of God, they Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
One doesn’t even have to be embittered or hurt to be part of The Others. It’s just a matter of wanting the syrup laced river of sweetness to dry up a tad.
I had lived the life on the gushing side for so long I had gone deaf to others. In the last decade, I’ve been either in a relationship, or better/worse (depending on the view) the beginning throes of one (those truly are the gushiest of gushers. When you are in love, you don’t want to hear those in the pits complaining of loneliness. “Don’t ruin my loving holiday!” you whisper thru gritted teeth. I know for myself during the relationship years, my inner Marie Antoinette would come out smiling, while silently stomping the hands of The Others back into the pit of No-Love-For-You! while shoving little heart shaped cakes down their whiney throats, because I didn’t want them to ruin the day for me.
In the meantime, social media has made this holiday especially rough for The Others. Not only are you reminded of it at the office, or at any store or coffeehouse, but every tweet, and post seems to be saccharine sweet, driving the knife a little deeper. So they battle back with anti-love sentiments, and missives about the commercialism of the day.
Something about Valentine’s Day that comes through a lot coarser and with a shaper knife’s edge when you are single. The pain, the disappointment, the lack of romantic love – it stings, and enlarges.
No I wouldn’t become one of them I said firmly and strongly that morning.
But after a day of feeling like a leper, you sort of get it. You get how year after year of living Janice Ian’s “I Learned the Truth at Seventeen” how it can create a slick on your heart that lets everything slide right off. Your sight isn’t duller, it’s actually sharpened, and you see the Matrix of red and pink hearts for what they really are. Those who are in love have this rosey blindness to them that others don’t.
I woke up in as normal a mood as I could. I had plans for the evening. I would do a Girls Night, and I would do it with gusto and flair! A couple of men I had been conversing with on a dating site sent me Happy Valentine’s Day messages, but was it my imagination, or did they seem to a slightly false ring to them? Are men affected with the reminder of no love on this day? All my social media sites read as though this is an evil holiday planned by women as a set-up to have their men fail. I assumed most men cared for this day as much as they did Arbor Day. Truth be told I think it was just an echo in my heart, for on this day of days my heart temporarily turned to tin.
The day went on, zinging me with red and pink balloons and beautiful flower displays. I still wasn’t going to bend to the whim of negative. I read empowering messages that told me Valentine’s Day was not just a day for lovers, but for anyone you loved. What’s love got to do with it, sang out some sites? I even saw people out there getting cards and candy from their animals. I could do this, I told myself. It was a mere 24 hours, of which a good portion of it I would probably be sleeping anyway.
I went last minute shopping for a card for a friend’s daughter. Everything was I love you. Finally I settled on a card with a puppy and a quip about it being Happy Hearts Day. Even the card industry is over-saturated with themselves. I picked out a small red box of chocolates and made my way past men with last minute bouquets, standing in line to head home.
When I got home, contrary to popular consensus on social media, I found to my dismay that dog had not gotten me anything for Valentine’s Day. In fact, as usual he seemed to make the day about his own needs. I threw the candy and card on the table and took him for a walk, making sure my disappointment didn’t play thru with a slight tug of the leash at the wrong moments.
Later I made dinner for my friends, and gave my friend’s daughter her candy and card. I hadn’t even thought of my friends. I think I figured they were looking at the day as begrudgingly as I would. But then one handed me a cute little chocolate box with a puppy dog on the front that read “Be My Valentine!”. Her daughter gifted me with a homemade friendship bracelet. I realized I still had a lot to learn about being on the side of The Others.
I had steered thru a lot of the landmines the day had plotted in my path. I hadn’t made snarky remarks, or passed on equally mean toned ecards on Facebook. I hadn’t gotten inebriated to drown my self-pitying sorrows. I didn’t bemoan about my still slightly broken heart. I didn’t recant the days of yore, being of one of Them, beaming as I walked my way thru the office carrying my dozen red roses. I decided to break the mold, and show that even as an Other, I could do it with diplomacy. After all, tomorrow my so-in-love friends would just be my friends, undistinguishable from the others.
Instead, I made an unhealthy but delicious dinner for my friends. I smiled and laughed and chatted with them. Later I sent them home with red velvet cookies (store bought) and cleaned the dishes.
And then, right before the day was officially over I sat back in my oversized chair and quietly ate one of those decadent cookies right in front of my dog. My mouth said “These are bad for you and you can’t have any.” But the eyes, the eyes never lie. They reminded him of his failure in the lack of pet bestowed Valentines that I didn’t receive. I made my message loud and clear:
The little Bastard better step up his game next year, especially if I am still single.