I had all intentions of writing a blog post today about my strange conversations with taxi drivers lately, stories which I promise are more interesting than they sound. But my mind is on this odd holiday, and more so, all my friends celebrating or protesting it. Similar to other holidays which focus on spending time with loved ones, it is a day that is very good at causing emotional strife instead. Be it the stress in a relationship to do something “special” or the stress that comes along with the reminder of your single-hood, a great storm of self-doubt can accompany February 14th. Though I am very blessed now with Ben in my life, I have been in both boats. And a few years ago I found a way to fight against the woes of Valentine’s Day. So now I share…
There is something I’ve learned from family-centric holidays that I think can be applied to today as well. When home life isn’t so fabulous, which has been pretty frequent over the past several years, I’ve often felt lousy on Christmas and Thanksgiving, especially when hearing of my friends’ wonderful family traditions. When I find myself getting resentful, which just isn’t fair to anyone, I look for a way to contact my friends (or as I consider them: extended family members) as quickly as possible. This isn’t terribly traditional, but it always reminds me of the real meaning of the holiday.
And though I am not trying to compare this Hallmark invented holiday to Thanksgiving, there are ways to make today just as meaningful even if you aren’t surrounded by the “traditional” Valentine company.
Ways to Combat V-Day Blues:
Example A: Anchorman Saves the Day: When I was a Junior in college, I had a Valentine’s Day which was the first in several years that I was single. I felt I had no right to complain since I had been blessed with some great holidays in the past, so just tried to stay peppy and ignore the dancing elephant in the room that I was NOT okay with this obnoxious reminder of a holiday.
Later that day, after running around like a madwoman for classes, I had to go on a Theatre Design adventure to find supplies. After getting hopelessly lost in Morristown, and stopping at a candy store to make myself feel better (I bought myself a candy heart, which didn’t earn many self-esteem points), I ended up in the Madison Staples parking lot bawling like a baby. Clearly I was NOT okay, and my determination all day to stay happy lead to this. Crying at Staples. It sounds like a hipster band album name.
THANK HEAVENS for great friends. As always tends to be the case, you are not alone in feeling the way you do. When I got back to Drew, a group of us decided to drink wine and watch Anchorman, the only movie we could think of that didn’t have a single scene which reminded us of actual love. And it worked like a charm. I happily made them my Valentines.
Examble B: I AM MY OWN VALENTINE!: As corny and Oprah as it sounds, I had one year that I made myself my own Valentine. I was miserable living in Saraota. Mis-er-a-ble. I was touring with a show that brought me very little creative fulfillment, had some nasty coworkers out to get me, and was going through a doozy of a break-up. Though I had some incredible roommates that often saved me from my pity parties of despair, I was dreading Valentines Day. It was especially tough because it fell on a Sunday that year, my day off. Weekends were tough because I didn’t have anything to distract me from my endlessly chattering brain. I also was being paid the wages of an intern so was just squeaking by financially. Valentines Day was the last things I wanted to deal with.
By some miracle of the universe, I woke up that morning with bitter determination to make the day not suck. I happily made myself my own Valentine and went through everything that brought me peace: Baked Goods, Books, and Music. So I went down to the local bakery, filled up on sweets then swung by the somewhat scary Sarasota library. There are many theories on how the universe helps you out when you follow what brings you happiness, and this day reiterated that for me. At the library, my eye instantly fell on a book called “Pilgrim Souls.” The title sparked my interest since I had recently returned from the Camino and was still big on anything with the work hiker or Pilgrim on it. The book is a compilation of autobiographies from famous people through the ages speaking about their breaks in their faith, whatever that faith may be. Writers range from Christian Saints to Tolstoy. It’s incredibly interesting and as life would have it, it was edited by a Drew professor.
I was on a roll!! Before heading back to my apartment to jump into the book, I stopped by the Sarasota Opera house to double check if they had rush tickets, something I didn’t have high hopes for since it was a special Valentine’s day concert. For $10 I got a third row center orchestra seat. I went home, read, fancied up, and took myself to the opera! I got to tell all the little old ladies around me that I was having a marvelous holiday on my own and that I got the seat for 10 bucks. The season ticket holders weren’t terribly thrilled with the second part, but ah well. You’re all rich, stop complaining.
So all in all, if this is day brings up frustration of being on your own, use it as a day to do something wonderful for yourself. Even if it’s grabbing hot chocolate between work and class and whatever else you run around doing. I also still love spending part of the day with a great friend, even if I have a boyfriend. Today Christina and I ate our weight in frozen yogurt, got free hand massages, and bought some fancy frilly things at Forever 21. Success and joy all around.
Today I was also blessed to have Ben to make breakfast for and so I will share my meal!
Honey Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup and Banana hearts!
This does not have a recipe since I bought a mix and the syrup but it was delightful. And if you slice the whole banana long-ways into a heart shape before you cut them all up, it’s super easy.
I hope you all have a wonderful day: with your Valentine, your friends, or yourself:) Take a bath, have some wine, and remember…candy is on sale tomorrow.