There's a good three weeks to go until Valentine's Day, but since it always has a sneaky way of creeping up on me, I've decided to take the confrontational approach. My perception of this day seems to change every year. Last year? I was a willing participant. The year before that? Inconsolably cynical about the whole disgusting, consumerist charade. And now? Well, I'm not quite sure.
Since I was in elementary school, my parents have always made sure I felt loved on this day, gifting me chocolates and a card signed "XOXO, Love Mom and Dad". Though they're divorced now, I still get separate cards and candy from both of them, which even at the more cynical age of nineteen still makes me smile. As I came to know Valentine's Day as just a day to tell someone you love them, no matter what kind of love that may be, that all changed as I grew older. The proverbial "V-Day" soon evolved into a holiday sacred to those who held romantic love between them. As I longed for my first kiss and my first boyfriend, I (as any girl would in my situation) began to feel left out of what now seemed to be an integral part of enjoying this holiday: having a lover, a partner. Chocolates from my parents just added insult to injury.
To rationalize my non-participant status that plagued me year after year, I quickly renounced the practice of Valentine's Day. Created by Hallmark! Fueled by capitalism! Designed to make us feel terrible about single selves! After all, I am a strong feminist woman, and I don't need no man... right? Yeah. That didn't last long. No matter how I tried, it was still in vain. After all, Valentine's Day will probably never go away, which made trying to renounce it somewhat of an exercise in futility. And so what if chocolate-covered strawberries fuel the capitalist machine? I still wanted them- they taste good!
In any case, I don't think we should blame Valentine's Day for all the trouble it may cause us. Like many things originally good, it's simply become misinterpreted and polluted over time. So I've decided to just take it back, and make it my own. A day to eat ice cream in bed alone with my dog, a day to bake cookies for all my friends and watch terrible romantic comedies, a day to be glad I don't need diamonds or a boyfriend---
For what I need, and have, is love. In any way, shape, or form it happens to take.