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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Being Your Own Valentine

Here it is.  Valentine's Day.  A day in which we are supposed to spend as much money as possible in order to make our special sweethearts fall in love with us all over again.  A day in which we're supposed to give enough chocolates to our loved ones so that they may develop diabetes one day.  A day in which we find out that if a man doesn't go to Jared to get a diamond pendant for his sweetheart, she'll dump him for some guy named Jared.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, Valentine's Day is not exactly my favourite holiday.  I don't think I ever really have tell you why.  I mean, yes, sucking on cinnamon hearts and giving out DuckTales cards to your second grade classmates might have been fun when we were kids.  But for anyone who is suffering from a broken heart, a frosty heart, or who can't seem to give their heart to anybody, Valentine's Day is just another reminder of that fact.

But I'm trying to understand why I have such a hard time with Valentine's Day in general.  I certainly don't feel this much passionate hatred over any other holiday.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love Canada Day.  I love Christmas even though the commercialism associated with it now is slightly manic-depressive.  Valentine's Day to me is just another day to me.

I think a large part of it is that I don't agree with the idea of devoting just ONE day out of the 365 per year to show someone how much you love them.  In most marriages that I know, if a person was only putting effort into the romance 1/365th of a year, I have my doubts that relationship would last a second year.  And while "The Simpsons" sort of spoofed that concept with the creation of the fictional holiday known as "Love Day", I still think that you don't need to buy red roses, chocolate covered strawberries, or heart-shaped balloons to demonstrate love towards a person.  It should be a daily thing.

Secondly, if you really stop and think about the day, St. Valentine was locked in a tower, stoned, and beheaded.  If anybody tried spending Valentine's Day the way that St. Valentine did, they'd probably end up in jail!  I'm not sure how that translated to buy your sweetheart a chocolate Cupid...but I guess if they bit off Cupid's head, it might be somewhat historically accurate.

And lastly...the reason I don't have much love for Valentine's Day is sort of a personal one.  And while I don't really like to dwell so much on the bad parts of life, I feel as though I want to do it here so that people who may be in the same boat as me can feel as though they aren't alone.

Valentine's Day is rough enough if you're single.  Trust me, I've been single for what seems like forever.  But if that was the only thing that was bothering me about February 14th, I'd consider that to be a bit of an overreaction.

The truth is - and it's only taken me until a few years ago to realize this about myself - is that the reason I don't have a significant other in my life is because I have a hard time accepting love for myself.

I mean, for people who have struggled with social anxiety and social depression (something that I've openly talked about here in this space), it's not that easy to get to meet new people.  It's even harder to try and present yourself as a confident and successful person when you don't feel that you're either of those things.

Everyone has gone through life wishing that they could change something about themselves.  Throughout my life, the only thing that I want to change about myself is the fact that I wish I could see myself the way that others see me.  And what I mean by that is seeing myself through the eyes of people who like me...not the idiots who didn't. 

I don't exactly consider myself to be much of a catch for a lot of people.  You know that website for single people called "Plenty of Fish"?  I was the guppy that people threw into the ocean.  I think I lasted a few months before I realized how ridiculous the site was.  I feel the same way about eHarmony,, Christian Mingle, OurTime, and Ashley Madison.

(Well, okay, if you're looking for love on Ashley Madison, you're clearly looking in the wrong place.)

But you know, my idea of what love is meant to be is admittedly kind of distorted.  I know that people who fall in love do so with all of their heart, but I don't know if I've ever felt that way on a romantic level.  And I think part of the reason why could be because I've had a hard time finding things about me that I consider attractive.

Believe me...Reggie Mantle I am NOT.

I guess somewhere along the way, I guess I just sort of accepted the fact that I don't really believe in the concept of soulmates, and that I don't believe that there really is somebody for everybody out there.  And, I think somewhere along the way, I sort of made the decision that love isn't meant for everyone.  At least not the romantic, lovey-dovey, kissyface love.

And I mean, I'm just a couple months away from my thirty-sixth birthday.  People always tell me that I'm still young and that it will happen.  But I'm of the frame that if it's meant to happen, it will.  And if it does happen and I am in the right frame of mind, I believe that it can be a beautiful thing.

But at this point in my life, I don't really need it or want it.  And I'm starting to realize that it's okay to feel that way sometimes, no matter what society seems to tell you.  It's perfectly fine to be single, and honestly, the way that I feel about love in general, I think it's probably the best thing for me.  I have to learn to accept who I am first before I can open my heart to anybody else.  And I think that society's version of love doesn't necessarily have to match the way that I see it.

Love is love.  Whether it's for a spouse, a family member, a friend, a pet, or even yourself, love is what matters on this day and every other day.

So you know what?  I'm going to be my own damn Valentine today.  Happy Valentine's Day to me!

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