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Can't Talk | October 21, 2020

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Valentine’s Day: The Human Experience

Valentine’s Day: The Human Experience

February 14th is almost here and all I can think about is how completely subjective the experience can be.

When I was a kid I moved at least 12 times. Over the course of my mandatory public education I went to 9 different schools, 3 of which were high schools. Valentine’s Day transitioned from a fun craft day full of cards and candy exchanges in elementary school to something totally different in high school. What it was in high school is sort of what it’s like in adult life.

Outwardly, people fell into different groups. There were those who claimed indifference. There were those who worried about having dates. There were couples who exchanged gifts and romantic gestures. There were girls who reclaimed the day for themselves, Galentine’s Day, and celebrated with their friends. There were those who were anti-Valentine’s, either claiming it to be a commercialized holiday or just plain dumb.

Does this sound familiar to this day?

What gets my head spinning is thinking about the people who loudly project where they stand. Those who make a point to declare their indifference, or how dumb the holiday is, or that they are having anti-love or monster movie marathons, you get me thinking really hard. Do you actually feel that way? If you do, that’s totally fine. As a person who enjoys cute pink and red heart aesthetics, I’m not even bothered that you do.

I just wonder, are you projecting these opinions out there because you actually feel that way? Or because you don’t?

If you don’t, that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s easier to feign indifference or disdain to hide something incredibly awful: loneliness. It doesn’t even have to be on a romantic level.

When I was in the 10th grade, at another new school, the faculty had this Valentine’s Day service. You could purchase individual carnations to be delivered during class hours to students on the actual day. Proceeds went towards a good cause. I remember sitting in class during the delivery time wondering if I was going to get one from someone. I figured I wouldn’t but couldn’t help hoping. Lots of students were getting them. Some girls were getting several. People weren’t just sending them to their crushes, they were also sending them to their friends. I didn’t receive any flowers.

Nevermind crushes. Always being the new girl, I’d never really had close friends. I didn’t even get Galentine’s Day! I remember that twist in the stomach feeling. I remember telling myself Valentine’s Day was stupid. I was really sad.

Later on I was also privy to romantics, as well as a broken heart. Such things can easily convert into a  “fuck Valentine’s Day” attitude.

This year I have no plans and I’m not even fazed by it. Valentine’s Day got me thinking really hard about love. All sorts of love. I’m currently privileged with a lot of love in my life. It didn’t use to be this way, but I have some of the best friends in the world. I’m now the girl with a handful of carnations (which is so cheesy I’m making myself gag).

I’m allowed to feel how I want to feel and so are you. Don’t be afraid to show it. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Talk about it. Just as important, really listen to people when they talk. Try a little empathy. Loneliness is something we can all relate to in one way or another. When people share their real feelings, listen. Be kind to each other.

What I’m getting at, I suppose, is that Valentine’s Day can be pretty great. For some of us, though, it can be really terrible. It’s completely subjective and it’s important to keep that in mind.


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  1. On this holiday and on some other opinions, I often feel like those who speak the loudest about how they feel are possibly doing it to convince themselves of their stance. I get it if someone feels lonely and it makes them bummed/angry/indifferent, but I don’t like the idea of adopting a certain opinion in order to avoid addressing that emotion. Like you, I believe in wearing those emotions on your sleeve. Masking it will accomplish very little in terms of relief.

    Where I also get mad on this holiday is when people try to tell others “You should show appreciation/love for your partner EVERY day,” as if to say that I don’t on any other day besides February 14.

    Of course, most of those types are often single, which says something…

    But I digress. I just want to be able to experience the day however I see fit and not have others bearing down on me for it, and I will allow the same for all, as well. I may not have a Valentine this year, but I love love, and I want people to have it. It’s a good feeling, and the world needs those.

    PS – Hi, Mel. I like this piece. This for you, from your friend. 🙂

    • Melissa Kay

      Dear Tony,

      Thanks for reading! This is a highly disorganized piece and I did a lot of huffing and sighing as I tried to convey my feelings and ideas.

      The message I was trying to get through is that people can feel what they want to feel about Valentine’s Day, but in the end it’s just a day where people seem to reflect more in-depth on their love life and friendships. Nobody should get mad at people for disliking the day and nobody should get mad at people for liking it.

      I’ve experienced the bad and the good when it comes to all sorts of love, and from these experiences I feel like it makes me pause and think about those around me. About how they are feeling right now.

      It’s like a weird relate-able thing. Celebrate the good while having empathy for others and try to trust in others when you’re going through the bad?

      I could go in multiple directions. Again. SIGHING at my lack of singular focus. It’s like a diary rather than an editorial.

      • Well, focused or not, I enjoyed getting a look into your brain. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. 🙂

  2. Josh

    I love Valentines day, or at least I want to. I was like you in high school, always left out of everything Valentines related, I guess I always have been. Except once.

    I was dating a girl in late 2004/early 2005. She was also dating someone else…we weren’t serious, obviously…but I asked her out for Valentines. She said yes. I was ecstatic. However, in the intervening time she had the epiphany that she was in love with the other guy.. But she didn’t want to break our date, and her new full fledged boyfriend didn’t mind. So I made the best of it…I bought cheesy Hello Kitty Valentines that you exchange in elementary school, a chocolate covered cherry, and a little stuffed bear from 7Eleven. We went out to eat, played mini-golf, just had an overall fun night. We both knew that we were just friends at that point, and that I had wanted more, but we didn’t let tat ruin anything. Today she’s married to the other guy, and she’s one of my best friends. If every Valentines day could be as good as that, I’d take it.

    It is hard for me this year, though. 8 months ago I had a fiancee…now everything is up in the air. I was hoping to have my first ever romantically involved Valentines this year, but now I’ll just take being romantically involved on any day again.

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