love yourself, black background spot light in the middle, white woman squating down with black boots and beigh sweater covering her arms and butt.
February Photofest 2022

Just One Day of Love?

Valentines Day is just annoying to me. Just one day of love? Shouldn’t this be something we focus on year-round? My birthday is February 15. The day after the day of love. When I was a kid, my Dad would always show up on Valentine’s Day with a small stuffed animal and a small candy box for my sister and me. That is my best memory of this day. As I got older, it just got annoying.

Valentines Day became a challenge for men (back in the day, that was the focus, so don’t shoot me with feminism on this one. I’m 57 years old today – it was literally “back in the day” when the responsibility mainly fell to men to make women feel loved) to show their love and appreciation to their women relationships with flowers, dinners out, cards that say mushy things, and whatever else was on-trend. Then, the challenge became a competition. Women would brag about their gifts and Valentine’s Day experiences. If you were not in a relationship or your guy didn’t step up to the plate, you were Valentine shamed.

My now ex-husband was not the most romantic man in my first marriage. I knew this going in. Having a birthday after Valentine’s Day, it all runs together. My store-bought birthday cakes had valentine hearts on them. It was always the thought that mattered to me. I mean that sincerely. It was cute, and now it’s funny, and he and I can still laugh about it. Truthfully, my mom did the same thing when I was younger, so it was more endearing than upsetting or annoying. I was married to a woman for 15 years, and for us, it was weird. There was almost an internal competition on who could do it up better. Same-sex relationships have a whole other issue attached to this day.

I have had 57 years of Valentine’s Day celebrations in one form or another. It is just one day when you get to the root of it. Why are we only celebrating our loved ones in just one day? Do we need one day to go big and show our love for others?

Now, don’t shoot with all the cupid daggers. I know it’s fun. Yes, it is nice to get flowers and dinner and get a pretty shiny thing. Of course, it is! I love it too! Although again, it is usually mixed up with my birthday, so it all runs together, I still like to be treated great, given gifts, have someone else do the dishes, and pick up dog poop. I want those things regardless of the day, to be honest.

We could talk about the monetary aspect of this day, couldn’t we? Should we? Let’s not spoil it with money talk. I will say that the restaurant food prices are higher, candy prices are higher, flower costs are outrageous! Many businesses raise fees and make great money on this day, just because it is Valentine’s Day. That’s ok though, we all need to make money. We need to accept that it is that way and pay the price. Those birthday cakes with the hearts on them and the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” scraped off were 50% off – I get it!

Full discloser, I have been alone on Valentine’s Day a lot. I didn’t have someone bringing flowers, gifts, and picking up the dog poop for me. I don’t have that on a regular day so why should this bother me? I’ll admit it does a little bit. I know there are people that care about me. I’m dating and those guys are great, but they aren’t in the position to make me their priority. They show up on other days so that is ok. The conditioning of the past 57 years has left a small mark on me, whether I like it or not.

I am the type of person who appreciates being appreciated. I remember getting picked up at the airport and being presented with a bouquet when we got to the car. There was no special occasion except that I was returning home. I have come home to a full home-cooked dinner with dessert and everything because I had worked a 60 hour week and was exhausted. Those celebrations of me and for me mean more than anything that is compressed to one day. We all enjoy being appreciated no matter the day or reason.

Celebrate the day! Enjoy it like you want to. Most of all, appreciate yourself, love yourself, and know your worth. For those of us alone on this day, do something nice for yourself. For me, Valentine’s Day will always be between a little girl and her Dad, who showed love every day, and this day brought home a little stuffed animal and a candy box.

Ps – I like nothing about this picture except the sweater and the boots. I look like I am struggling to stay in that position – the truth is, I was! It is the last professional photo, and I am having fun taking my own images now. More natural, more me.


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