Oh, Valentine’s Day. The day when I can eat chocolate and not feel bad about it, yet at the same time feel bad about being single and about all of my past and current romantic failures.
I’ve struggled to decide why I hate Valentine’s Day.
Maybe because in fifth grade my “boyfriend” bought me a box of chocolates from Harris Teeter but then the next day “broke up” with me? Nah, the chocolates were worth it.
Maybe because I’m single? Yeah, but that’s way too cliché.
Maybe because it’s such a Hallmark Holiday and I hate cheesy things? Ha, that’s definitely not the reason. I’m all about cheesy.
No, I think the reason I hate Valentine’s Day is because it’s all about ROMANTIC love.
What about all the other kinds of love?
What about familial love, best-friends-until-we-die love, best-guy-friend love, community love, and love for people in general, regardless of whether you have some specific, special connection with them?
What about just a day for LOVE?
The ironic thing there is that we really should be showing each other how much we love each other every day. Not just on Valentine’s Day.
What if we did that?
What if we actually lived every day like it’s Valentine’s Day? And not just for our significant other, but for all the people we love, and for all the people who need love (which, news flash, is everyone)?
What if we lived every day going above and beyond to make sure that people feel loved? To make sure that people feel special, appreciated, empowered, and worthy? What if we lived every day not asking ourselves what we need, but considering what others might need? What if we were so in tune with our surroundings, so in touch with how others are feeling, that we don’t just ask a passing, “how are you?” but grab our friends in huge hugs and ask them, “How are you, really?” What if we lived every day like it was an opportunity for cheesy, over the top celebrations of beautiful emotions, strong connections, and unforgettable memories? What if we always ate all that chocolate without regretting it and sent each other sappy cards and just enjoyed each other’s presence?
I am so concerned by the way we live our ordinary lives in such an ordinary way, and our holidays in such an extravagant way. Because the ordinary becomes unloving, uninterested, and selfish, while the holidays become competitive, compensational, and elaborate to the point of callous.
I am so concerned with how we think February 14th marks the day we should tell people we love them. Guys, people needed love yesterday. People need love tomorrow. People always need love! And not just your boyfriend or your husband or your “kind of a thing but we’re talking”. Everyone. And all the time.
Every Friday night around closing time, I walk through Perkins library and give people treats, usually donuts, chocolate bars, or cookies. Many of you have probably run into me carrying dozens of donuts, or have maybe even accompanied me through the library, or maybe were one of the weirded-out receivers. I am always amazed at the number of people who ask me, “why are you doing this?” To that I answer, “Why not?” Why does there always have to be a reason? Why does there have to be a holiday for us to show that we care?
The best part is when people ask me, “Wait, do I know you?” No, you don’t. Am I not supposed to love you because I don’t know you? Who decided that?
I care about all of you. I love how you all support me, how you all read my blog, how you all make me feel like I am worth something in this crazy world. And maybe it’s taking Valentine’s Day for me to make that love clear, but I want to make that clear every day. Life is short, the ordinary day is just too ordinary, and there are just too many people who need love, all the time.
Happy Valentine’s Day, but more importantly: Happy start to a new normal of extraordinary acts of random love for all people. Now I can eat chocolate EVERY day without feeling bad about it.