FEBRUARY. It's the time of year where you find out if you're truly loved or not. It's the month in which relationships are confirmed or denied. It contains the day in which men better get it right or face the wrath of the woman they do wrong. It's when a relationship makes it or somebody breaks it.
Ok, I'm kidding......kind of.
VALENTINE'S DAY. February 14th. The day most women look forward to and a lot of men wish they could avoid. It's the day true romantics get to shine on and real critics get their whine on. The most hated, love-filled day of the year. Although critics of Valentine's Day do make valid points, it's not so serious that they need to rain on the hearts and candy parade lovers choose to participate in. True, if you're in a relationship, you should show, give and receive love every day. However, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the existence, participating in the fun and indulging the ones you love, just a bit more, for the sake of Valentine's Day. Sure, Hallmark (and other companies like it) makes a killing, some people go overboard, some people miss the mark entirely and others get depressed. However, it's not the (designation of the) day itself that is to blame; it's all about perspective.
As a kid, I loved Valentine's Day because it was a day in which you found out who liked you, how popular you were and who gave the best valentines. It was a day for which you gained permission to interact with boys with no consequence and, most of all, it was about how much candy your stomach could tolerate before nausea set in.
As a teen, Valentine's Day became a tad bit more serious because a competitive component was added. Between the ladies, it was all about whose boyfriend gave them the best gift or whose crush was most bold and creative. If you had a boyfriend but didn't get anything for Valentine's Day, that was grounds for a break-up. If you had a boyfriend who gave you and someone else a Valentine's Day gift, that was grounds for a fight (between you and his other amour). If you didn't have a boyfriend, or at least, a crush, for Valentine's Day, it was simply a bad day.
As a young woman, I learned I should reciprocate the love on Valentine's Day. I expected to get gifts and be treated extra-special; however, I had to find a way to do the same for my valentine. This is when Valentine's Day got better and worse. Better because more thought went into celebrating this special day, therefore more fun was had. Worse if it came around a time when I didn't have a valentine or my relationship was in a bad space. It was during the bad times that I determined Valentine's Day wasn't just for lovers. I could do something special with/for my daughter, my mother, sisters or friends. Not as much fun but still an option.
As a mature woman (ok, older woman), I see, and understand, Valentine's Day from many different perspectives. For some, it can be a love-dipped, soul-stirring, boot-knocking, body-rocking, heart-stopping, irresistible, kissable kind of day; for others, it can be a fun-filled, lighthearted, self-loving, self-indulgent, me-time kind of day; and, unfortunately, there will be those for which Valentine's Day will be heart-breaking, disappointing, disjointing, misunderstood, mistaken or just plain miserable. I have experienced Valentine's Day on all three levels. Currently, I am single....and no, I'm not happy about it. Like most women, I would love to be showered with sweet cards, gifts, candy and experiences by an attentive lover. But just because I don't have one, doesn't mean I have to wallow the day away. I know, I know..... I still have 12 days to be shot by Cupid but that's unlikely. So, I've decided to be my own valentine.
Not only will I treat myself to something beautiful, loving and sweet on February 14th but I am going to do those things every day of this month (and aim to keep it going every day I am blessed to be alive). There are many ways one can show love and, starting today, I will consciously do something, daily, that is loving towards my self. Every day, I will find a way to make myself happy, my life better or my outlook brighter. Each day of the month, I will rise up to the challenge of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, redirecting unfulfilling experiences towards uplifting ones, reshaping unfavorable circumstances into more appealing ones and remembering that happiness, love and joy come from the inside of me.
In addition to treating myself, I will also treat you (my readers) to a reading experience filled with love through stories, poetry, music and more. Throughout the month, I will post about love lost, found, ignited, unrequited, appreciated, underestimated, incomparable, unbelievable, unforgettable and most regrettable. If you'd like to share your love story, please do so by sending to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to put 'Love Story' in the subject line. I will not publish names, unless asked to do so.
In the meantime, keep living, laughing and loving!