Just after New Year’s I was doing my weekly grocery shopping minding my own business when I walked around the corner of the bakery department and there it was. The dreaded shelf stacked with pink heart-shaped cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. I could hear the infomercial announcer in my head saying, “Hey you! Single gal! Did you just spend the last holiday alone? Did it make you feel lonely? Well guess what, there is another much worse corporate holiday right around the corner. And it’s bound to make you feel even worse! So you may as well buy me now and start the pity party early.”
But this year a movement has surfaced which has made me reflect on Valentine’s Day in a different way. If you haven’t discovered the Occupy Valentine’s Day movement yet check it out now. People from all over have submitted photos and short prose about how they are reclaiming Valentine’s Day. How they are celebrating their love for the people in their lives without conforming to the roses-dinner-diamond-blowjob norm.
From couples declaring how they intent to show their love for each other in non-monetary/non-traditional ways to single people declaring their love for their friends or themselves (or beloved pets).
I will confess many of the posts made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. It made me think about the things I love about Valentine’s Day. And believe it or not there are things a single gal who is pushing 30 loves about Valentine’s Day.
I loved it when I was a kid. After everyone brought their class list home my mom would take my sister and I to the local Shoppers Drug Mart and let us pick out a pack of $1.99 cartoon themed Valentines (whatever cartoon we happened to be in to that year). Then we’d truck off to school decked out in red coloured clothing and clutching a Tupperware container of some lovely heart shaped baked good my mother had baked. We’d return sugar high from too many cupcakes and with a sack full of Valentines. What’s not to love about that?
Whether my mother knew it or not she instilled in us a very non-romantic view of Valentine’s Day. A simplistic act of love that has followed me my whole life. She would put together a small gift usually consisting of pens or stickers or hand lotion and a few chocolate hearts and leave them on our dressers during the night. So when we awoke we would find a little surprise wrapped in red cellophane and ribbon in the morning. And every year I have lived away from home (it’s 9 this year) my mom has sent me a little Valentines gift in the mail.
It always reminds me that there is other love in this world beyond romantic love. It was especially important to me years I spent in a relationship when I was feeling disappointed that I did not receive large romantic gestures.
This year I am missing my best friend who is off travelling in New Zealand. I wish I could be spending the day with her but instead I made her a card and small embroidered gift and a message of love. I treated myself to a bottle of nice red wine and a tub of cinnamon hearts over the weekend. I curled up with my cat and watched a terrible romcom.
And you know what? I felt fine about it. I don’t fit the norm (or try to) the rest of year why feel bad about myself on this day? I am not your sad single woman stereotype.
Love yourselves. Love your friends. Love your family. Love your pets. Love you partner.
Happy Valentine’s Day
(photo above from the Occupy Valentine’s Day Tumblr)