I spent a few minutes researching the origin of Valentine’s Day…which I have to say is pretty far from what the day has become. So far in fact that I felt a little like I was reading about a completely different holiday.
Gradually…over the years…the holiday has morphed to be relevant to the time…but I’m not sure how what we celebrate as St. Valentine’s Day has much to do with honoring Saint Valentine. And I’m guessing most people don’t care…or know the story.
Here’s my issue with Valentine’s Day as we celebrate today…actually, I have a couple issues with how it’s celebrated.
My first memories of Valentine’s Day are from grade school. The whole process of buying Valentine Day cards for your classmates…which by the way, eventually became it’s own sort of competition as kids (or rather parents) tried to one up each other with fancy and fancier cards…yah, that whole process started out fun until it wasn’t. You were supposed to get a card to give each classmate…but inevitably that didn’t happen and someone ended up with a whole lot more cards than someone else.
My next memories of Valentine’s Day are from high school. Like many schools, mine did a fundraiser in celebration of the day. Why? Because capitalizing on love should totally begin when we’re young. I mean, if we’re going to buy into the consumerism of the day, we need to start training early. The fundraiser sold cookies, balloons, and carnations as a way to raise money for….what the heck was it raising money for!?!? Doesn’t really matter…
For days in advance and even the morning of, you could purchase these items to be hand delivered to the person of your choosing. Inevitably, the fundraiser turned into a popularity contest with certain girls and boys receiving the bulk of the deliveries. Again, someone ended up with a whole lot more than someone else.
Don’t think this is the rant of someone always on the short end of the card or gift line. In fact, I usually received my fair share…sometimes being the top girl. (And yes I know this because we were all keeping score!)
And that’s the point of why I’m not…nor have I ever been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t matter if I’m single…dating…married…divorced…at any stage, I don’t like the holiday. Not one little bit.
First of all, it’s supposed to be a day celebrating love….and I’m sure for some people it is. But for others…especially in certain settings, like school…it’s a day of keeping score. Of determining who is more popular…how your love measures up to that of your friends. Not necessarily who is loved, but who is worshiped on the alter of school politics. (Need to shower yet?)
Then we hit adulthood where we are bombarded…for WEEKS…about what to BUY our loved ones to show them that we really care. Um, why the hell do we have to BUY something to show we care? What about doing something to show how much we care? What about just being kind? What about saying I love you…or giving an extra long hug…or going for a walk…or telling the person why you think they’re so special?
I know Hallmark does words really well but who the hell cares what Hallmark has to say?!? Why not use your own words to speak from your own heart? It might not rhyme or be as eloquent but I bet it’ll mean a whole lot more. And if it doesn’t, well then, you’re talking to the wrong person….just saying.
Then there’s all the flowers (that are jacked up to nearly double the price.) I’m sorry…did we have a shortage of flowers this week that caused the price to spike? Did the barge importing the flowers sink? Was there some natural disaster? No. No. No. It’s called capitalism, people, and they are capitalizing on your need to purchase love. On your need to keep up with the Jones’ because you…being just you…isn’t enough.
From there, you’ve got all the crazy dinner reservations…jewelry…blah…blah…blah….And why???
Because someone told us this is the one day of the year when we have to show our significant other how much we care about them…because we can’t do it any other day? Or every day?
See that’s really my hang up with the holiday. That for some reason, we feel like we need a day…just one day…to tell people how much we care about them. That we’re so busy or so forgetful or so horrible that without this reminder…well, what would we do?
I think we should forego Valentine’s Day and elect to celebrate love every day. That’s right! Every single day of your life, you should celebrate love. Love of your significant other. Love of family and friends. Love of pets. Love of strangers. Love of the human race. Love of yourself!
I wonder what the world would look like…would feel like…if we celebrated love every.single.day…and not just today because the calendar reminded us too? So to Valentine’s Day, I say not-so-much. But to love, I say yes…every.single.day.
Folks, I love you!