Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Defending V.D.

My funny valentine, sweet comic valentine, you make me smile with my heart
-Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart

People hate Valentine’s Day. It’s a popular day for hatred, it’s what the cool kids do. Me though, I’m not very cool and I love it, Valentine’s Day I mean; I don’t necessarily love not being very cool, but I accept it. Valentine’s Day, though, with its homemade cards, necco candy hearts with goofy messages, red frosted cupcakes, what’s not to love? I don’t believe people actually hate it, it’s just become very hip to hate Valentine’s Day, even for those who are With Valentine. I am not hip, I’m not “in the know” enough to hate much of anything. Sure, it reflects poorly on my ability to dress fashionably but, if you know me, you know I don’t really care. You should see what I’m wearing now, truly awful . . . but, ya know, whatever.

In my 47 years of this particular life I have spent significantly more years Without Valentine than I have With Valentine, but so what? Being without a significant other doesn’t mean you don’t have loved ones. Valentines from friends and family have significance. I love getting cards and hugs and necco candy hearts with goofy messages and cupcakes from anyone and everyone, who loves me (and I’ll be honest, even if you don’t love me I’ll take a cupcake from you). I love giving cards and hugs and necco candy heart with goofy messages and cupcakes to anyone, everyone I love. It’s not a day of couples and marrieds and significant others, it’s a day of love. I love my friends. I love my cousin (hi Judy!), I love my cats, I love my siblings, and, it’s no secret, I love the Black Dog (to whom I would never give anything as unhealthy for his system as necco candy hearts with goofy messages).

So let’s examine, why hate a day set aside for love? Why has it become so cool, even for those that live in the mighty kingdom of coupledom, to hate Valentine’s Day? If you believe every commercial you ever read, see, or hear you will become convinced Valentine’s Day, like Virginia, is for lovers. I’m sure there are singletons in Virginia that live there happily, and singletons manage to survive Valentine’s Day as well. Movies and love songs, they all makes us feel that we are less somehow WITHOUT VALENTINE. Remember making your Valentine bag in grade school with the cut out construction paper hearts and doilies? How great was that? Really great. Remember buying the box of Valentine’s with just enough for everyone in your class and a special card for your teacher? Admit it, it was fun. If you think you’re too cool to admit it out loud then you can say it privately BUT, I warn you, if you’re think you’re too cool, for pretty much anything, that just shows how truly uncool you are. Sorry, it’s true, pretending to be uber cool is uber transparent, and uber ridiculous, give it up and join the rest of us. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I know this from experience, I’m not cool, I know it now, neither is anyone else, and I’m a lot happier just being uncool me. True cool lies in admitting to being human . . . and humans love to be loved. We were made to be loved. Adam and Eve were a pair, the animals went on the ark in pairs, and it takes two to tango. We love attention, and cards, and necco candy hearts with goofy messages.


So, that’s easy. Think about others, give them a card. What if you give and then you end up not receiving? If you’re nice and there is no quid pro quo, that’s ok, you did your best and you have much for which to be proud, and that’s enough. You don’t need a kind response, though it is nice, but you still did the right thing. And, let’s say you did the right thing, big deal, what’s even better is HOW YOU WILL FEEL. I mean it. Let’s say you’re kind to someone and that someone does you dirt. Screw it, you can still feel good about being nice. Being giving, being kind, being loving, is its own reward. Before you decide to paint me as a pansy, hippie, fairy winged, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony” gospel spreadin’ weirdo here, just try it. Be nice to someone just because you want to be nice. Not because you may get some reward, not because you may get a compliment, or even a thank you. Do not attach any outcome to the random act of being kind
. . . just be kind. It does feel good. It is its own reward. If you can’t bring yourself to be kind to someone in person (I’ve felt this way, I understand) wish them well as a prayer, or an intention set out in the universe, or whatever it is you do to bestow good tidings. Someone I am aware of, but never met, is out of a job and scared. I have prayed repeatedly for her to get a job, or find her way, or at least be comforted. It feels good and I believe good things will come her way. Not just because of me, of course, but I’d like to believe when she receives the good in her life, I will have at least helped and not hindered. She will never know I prayed for her, but that doesn't matter, the end is still the same.

Lest you think I’m getting off the track of Valentine’s, I’m not. I want to reiterate, it’s a day of love, and love takes on many varied forms. My parents have moved on to the next life but if you think I wouldn’t send them Valentine if I could, you are horribly mistaken. Send your parents Valentine’s. I have a brother who is estranged from our family; many years ago, prior to his departure from our clan, I mailed him a Valentine; he called me and said, in a trying to hold back the tears sort of voice, “this is the only valentine I got this year . . . from anyone, thank you”. Now that I’ve not heard his voice in many years I’m grateful I can still hear that thank you phone call in my head. TELL PEOPLE THEY ARE IMPORTANT, MAIL THEM A STUPID CARD WITH HEARTS, you may never hear their voice again. Maudlin? Perhaps, but I’m happy I sent that card all those years ago. Send cards to your grandparents, your children, your friends, your bartender, barista, hair dresser, assistant, mentor, whomever. Take cookies to a senior housing facility in your neighborhood. Someday we’ll all be old and hope not to be cast aside. Don’t cast people aside. I know I pontificate a lot in this blog (and in person) but imagine you’re sitting in a senior housing facility surrounded by nothing but other seniors in lock down with crappy day time television. Bleak. Now, imagine someone . . . someone you don’t even know, brought in cookies. How happy would that make you? Now that is what valentine’s day is all about.

I always start these stories with good will and good intentions and I always end up getting preachy and telling people what to do. I mean well, it doesn’t always come out so well. Then, I always end up here, feeling bad that I got up on my soap box and told people what to do and how to act. You don’t have to listen to a word I say (or read a word I write), but if you get nothing else from this writing, please, remember to let those who are important to you know they are important . . . unabashedly.

Be Mine, U R 2 Cute 2 B 4 Gotten, Love U, Cutie Pie

Thank you for reading my blog, thank you for all the comments I receive from all of you (both public and private), you’re all important to me.



  1. I like it. It made me remember the valentine boxes I used to make and set on my desk in grade school and the anticipation of opening those tiny cards and reading the scribble inside. A lot like Christmas (and pretty much every holiday), we lose the purpose/meaning of this holiday. It IS about love! And love is beautiful. Thank you for the reminder, Laura Ellen. You are loved! And so are those candy hearts, mmmmmmm...

  2. Hey Laura Ellen! I have to say that your post made me rethink Valentine's Day a little bit. I am, and I will admit it, a hater of Valentine's Day. I never really enjoyed it because I always had issues accepting affection and elementary school I was even known to rip up vday cards...but that's a different story :) You made me realize that maybe I do need some more love in my heart, and to stop holding on to a lot of pain and anger that I have. Thanks for the wonderful post and sharing your thoughts with us all!

  3. Ah my beautiful ladies, thank you so much for your comments! Alex, thank you for being so open and brave in your comment. Letting go of anger and pain is scary because it's what you're used to. Change is hard, but I believe in you.