Thoughts

LOVING YOURSELF: HERE’S HOW MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME TO LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY

I’m not a huge fan of the color pink, and heart-shaped things make me want to vomit.

You’d think this would mean that I loathe everything about Valentine’s Day. While I’m not too keen on my local grocery store being filled to the brim with massive, helium-filled balloons that sport phrases like, “Kiss me!” and “Be mine!,” I’m not completely opposed to the day itself.

No, it has nothing to do with being a newlywed.

No, it has nothing to do with my love of chocolate and wine (well, maybe a little…)

It has everything to do with my mother.

Because of my mom’s actions during my angsty teen years, I’ve never felt anything less than empowered on the fourteenth day of Feb-ru-ary (there’s an “r” in there, folks. Use it). If there’s one thing we women are good at, it’s finding any excuse to pamper ourselves. Valentine’s Day is mine because of my mom.

The story is pretty cut-and-dry: angry, teen girl with no love prospects doesn’t want to go to dumb school where she’ll be surrounded by dumb boys and dumb girls giving each other dumb candygrams and dumb roses. Mom steps in and says, “Let’s go to the spa instead!”

So, that’s what we did, and I had a fantastic day. It seems small and arbitrary; a blip in one’s life. For me, however, it sparked an annual “treat yo’self” love-fest that is all about me. Fortunately, my husband isn’t a huge fan of the annual, as he dubs it, “Hallmark holiday,” so I can pamper in peace (and then eat takeout on the couch — our V-day tradition — as we watch a movie where things explode and no one says things like, “Kiss me!” and “Be mine!”).

Valentine’s Day, for many, is a sad reminder of all of the things they don’t have.

“I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend!”

No one gave me flowers!”

“I’m going to die alone in my house, and my cat will eat my face!”

Valentine’s Day is only depressing if you want it to be depressing. I know. I sound like the worst kind of person. Hear me out.

Breakups happen and they aren’t pleasant. I’ve been there. If this is your first Valentine’s Day sans a lovah, I’m sorry. That sucks. Do you know what doesn’t suck? Treating yourself. Do you want flowers? Go buy some flowers; and not the shitty roses that they sell at Walgreens. Go to a florist and design your own beautiful bouquet. Splurge! Get the damn peonies! Do you want chocolate? Head to a bakery for some truffles, or, better yet, wait until tomorrow and gorge on all of the half-priced Reese’s. Is there a movie you’ve been dying to see? Bring a friend or go alone! You’re pretty much guaranteed your pick of the action-movie litter while all of the men begrudgingly sit through 50 Shades Freed with their significant others.

OR

You can just go about your life today. Remember, it’s just a day. It’s only significant if you make it significant. If you love the cheese factor and the mush, go be cheesy and mushy with your partner. If you loathe the mush and the cheese, go be bitter with your bestie and drink some good wine. If you don’t get what all of the fuss is about, hit up a Mexican restaurant for a taco (or four). Today is pretty much a win, no matter how you choose to live it.

**Disclaimer: I am sorely aware that being insanely politically correct is the new “it” thing. While I feel like it’s a given that I respect every race, religion, and orientation, I feel like I need to actually write this out: I understand that some people do not subscribe to traditional gender norms and roles. I get that not all women are into pampering themselves. I’m aware that some men may actually enjoy the 50 Shades series. This article is about my mom and the awesome thing she did for me at an early age that made me realize Valentine’s Day is about more than just being in a relationship. Calm yourselves.**

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