Ah, it’s the first blush of spring. Love is in the air and somewhere, someone just felt Cupid’s arrow pierce his heart —
And went after the little bastard with pest repellant.
That someone used to be me.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who grew up in a small town.
She grew up on Disney fairytales, flying reindeer and magic.
She believed it all.
And she was happy.
And when she got to high school, she placed her faith at the starting line of romance, looking left and right at her friends and peers with an equal opportunity chance at love.
She believed she’d find true love soon, maybe even on the very next lap.
When she got to college, she lived in an apartment right behind a fraternity house.
Life was very good indeed.
That’s when she met a blond haired, blue-eyed boy sitting on her stairs, of all places.
He was everything she was not. He was golf’s golden boy and she was more content to study.
He told her the happiest day of his life would be the day he walked down the aisle with her.
She believed him.
And she was happy.
HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER
The day came when he took a job over the mountains, two hours away.
She had secured a summer internship in Portland and the two hours turned into three.
They promised to see each other every other weekend.
When he pulled into her driveway at last, she ran to him. She put her hand in his and they strolled to a park under dappled sunshine until they chanced upon a secluded section with a bench. They sat down and he took her hand in his.
She knew it. He was going to propose.
Looking into her eyes, he said, “I think we need to take a break.”
And her happily ever after slammed against the shore of reality and something broke inside.
That very day, the little girl stopped believing in fairytales and magic and worst of all, she stopped believing in love.
Love hurt and she didn’t care for reasons why.
All she knew is, she was never going to be hurt that badly ever again.
LOVE = SPECIAL
It’s not just adults.
This all starts in elementary school, when you dump out your makeshift Kleenex box pasted with hearts to see how many valentines you received.
Valentines were a status symbol. They showed you were liked and the more you had the more you were liked…
Maybe someone even cared enough to attach a little something extra, like candy.
Which is way better than roses, in elementary school.
As we got older, our focus shifted to that ONE special Valentine decorated with hearts, lace, red hots and rose petals that morphed into a kiss behind the school.
Maybe that special Valentine with a little extra morphed into a walk down the aisle.
Maybe we turned over the Kleenex box and discovered all it contained was… Kleenex. Which we’re just fine with, thank you very much, because we’re going to need it.
Especially on this day when it feels like Freddy’s finger-knives raking across your heart.
And Valentine’s Day just goes about its business, flaunting love in your face like the rich kid with a Maserati.
ORIGIN OF VALENTINE’S DAY
On February 14th in ancient Rome, two men named Valentine were executed. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of the day you know as *drum-roll* St. Valentine’s Day.*
Hmmm… Perhaps Freddy’s knives across the heart are more fitting than we knew.
This is the reason behind February 14th.
Now, who was St. Valentine?
Traditionally, Saint Valentine was one of the saints of spring.
“In Slovania, St. Valentine is the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. Traditionally, the day of love was March 12th. This is the day plants and flowers bloom, work in the vineyards and fields commence… birds propose to each other or marry…”
Wait… Birds propose to each other? Who knew?
Our roots lie with the UK tradition of sending cards, chocolates and flowers on this day. Personally, I prefer the tradition in Norfolk, where a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Even though he left treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.
Sort of like a Krampus Cupid scaring the children.
It sounds way more fun to me than rubbing elbows with all the other high expectations over crowded dinner reservations.
Ok, in case you missed it — Celebrating spring in February? Not likely.
Traditionally, the day of love was March 12th.
And you’ve been all twisted up over a couple of executions. Are you even Catholic?
I’m assuming having a day of love on March 12th interfered with a little thing in our country called Marketing.
The first advertisers on Madison Avenue clustered around a calendar in white wigs and papal robes shaking their heads, “The Leprechauns have a lock on March… But wait! February is wide open. Get Cupid on the line.”
Which makes me wonder if this is the real reason behind pink hearts in our Lucky Charms.
The point is: Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with the calendar. It’s what you make it.
GO WHERE LOVE IS, NOT WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE
Love isn’t found in a Kleenex box full of Hallmark cards, candy, flowers or dinner reservations.
Love is not found in any one place. It’s not found in any one person.
Love is everywhere,
including the one place you’ll never look.
Just try the mirror.
Oh c’mon, don’t act like I let you down.
Our relationships are but a reflection of ourselves.
Are yours fulfilling? A mess? Nonexistent?
Honey, if you don’t love yourself, you ain’t ever gonna be able to truly love OR be loved.
Go read The Velveteen Rabbit again. Get ready to get real. Because love hurts.
Love involves putting your heart out there and risking the pain of rejection, whether it’s with a person or a dream.
Love brings you to your knees but it also picks you back up again.
Instead of waiting for that to happen? Make it happen. Go where Love is.
Call your parents and tell them you love them. Call a friend. Visit a nursing home. Hold preemies at the Hospital. Volunteer at a shelter. Foster a child.
People everywhere need love. Instead of waiting to get it, go out and give it.
And if you’re hurting? I’m sorry. Please realize the person who left did you a favor. They made room for someone else. Someone who loves you, dark side and all.
Remember: Rejection is God’s protection.
And let the door hit the ex-whatever in the ass on the way out.
I promise the magic you lost once upon a time will be yours again like,
When I finally got it, I became one of those annoying happy people I used to avoid.
Get out there and fall in love with your life. That’s when magic happens.
Like it did for USA Olympic skating pair Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca Knierim.
Like it did when a stranger showed up on my doorstep to help me move.
Four years later, I’m married to him. He had to do his own seeking before he found me. Which worked out perfectly because during that time, I was “gone surfing.”
The rest as they say, is history.
And speaking of history, February 14th is the day two men named Valentine were executed in ancient Rome.
Everything else is marketing.