I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. It is one of those holidays that is usually only good if you have deluded yourself that you're "in love" as I did about every 4 seconds in high school. Back then, I'd send a gazillion carnations in hopes that maybe ONE would come my way that I wasn't expecting. Or would come my way, PERIOD. So in the early days of emotional delusion and low self esteem, it was a yearly study in shattered hopes.
When I got older, I saw it as a waste of money. Why flowers would suddenly rocket in price for the week before was insane to me. It seemed like a crazy waste. When I worked in a local rock club in Boston, that day saw pretty much the same losers getting drunk and hitting on anything breathing. And the same girls crying in the bathroom. Although, thinking about it, that was really a nightly repeating event. But it was more dramatic on Valentine's day.
When I was happily married, neither of us were big on the holiday. We liked to waste money, don't get me wrong. But not because some holiday told us to. So we usually just bought some extra chocolate to gorge on and treated it as just another day.
The last Valentine's Day as a married person was normally uneventful. Unfortunately, in my post-divorce digging, I found that beaucoup of my own dollars had been spent to send his girl thing flowers from the most expensive florist in Boston. So apparently, Valentine's Day is exciting when you're sneaking around and using someone else's money.
You can see how my history (especially the recent history) has created a perpetual disgusted smirk at the mention of the holiday.
Now, when I get a hold of myself and shake off the cynicism and bitterness, I actually like this holiday. And I'll tell you why. Because of relationships and marriages of people in my life that are truly committed for the long haul. They are amazingly in love. They plow through the hard times. They work hard so that any fractures in their relationship are fixed and the foundation stays whole. None of them are perfect and they don't have delusions that they ever will be. But their commitment is rock solid. A sad rarity in today's world - especially the western world.
This week, many Facebookers are posting a status akin to the following: "To celebrate Valentines Day, change your profile picture to you and your spouse/significant other and make sure to tell how long you've been together! Copy and paste this to your profile. [Significant Other] and I have been together for xx wonderful years!"
The first one I saw was my cousin who has been married 22 years. I loved it and hated it all at once. I thought of all the snarky responses I could put. Like a picture of The Ex and his girl thing saying they'd been together for 4 years. My anger is a nasty little beast.
But as I saw more and more of them, I realized, wow. I should be excited and supportive of all of these people who are working to shatter the statistics.
One that particularly thrilled me is my wonderful aunt Brenda. The picture of her and awesome uncle Larry stated they'd been together for 36 years. What is especially encouraging here is that Brenda lived the heart ache of divorce as a young mom. God sent her Larry. He has been the most wonderful uncle. He has been the best dad to my cousins. He has been the most fabulous husband to my aunt. I forget that this was Brenda's second marriage. Because God sent the perfect man to her and seems to have wiped all the awful memories from the general collective memory.
So when the demise of my marriage began, Brenda was one of the people I turned to. And during some of the most painful heart ache - the kind where you actually start thinking you won't physically survive the pain? I would sit there and tell God, "OK...I can wait. I know you'll see me my 'Larry' some day."
My new office mate was laughing with me yesterday. I was telling her how I wrestle with being happy for everyone on this holiday and being a total snarky bitch about it. She said, you know, some day, you'll have that guy God sent and you'll be sitting right there in that chair going, "I can't believe I actually hated Valentine's Day!" She said she can't wait for that day so she can tease me mercilessly. HA!
So I'm snarky and cynical still. I enjoy small periods of that. But in all honesty, I am very very happy for the real love stories out there. And there are a TON. Happy Valentine's Day to all of my friends who have been blessed with real love.
Oh, and you want to see my current Facebook status picture? The response to the whole "post your wonderful picture" thing? Here it is:Caption: "To celebrate Valentines Day, change your profile picture to you and your spouse/significant other and make sure to tell how long you've been together! Copy and paste this to your profile. Clive and I have secretly been together for YEARS! Here I am crashing his photo shoot for the King Arthur movie back in 2004. Oh those were heady times!"