February 14th

Year after year, as I grow a little older– lose a little more hair, notice old scabs turn to scars, get a change in academic scenery, watch political figures come and go, remember the times when winter wasn’t 50° warmer– there’s always one thing that has never failed to strike the same agitation into my inner being: Valentine’s Day. Single Awareness Day is the day when couples take stride in nicer clothes, cradling stuffed animals and long-stemmed roses, and people finally decide to put their phones away during candlelit dinners with their S.O. only to update their Instagram with pictures of their hand-holding and newly acquired jewelry in private. For single people, like myself, today is the day when we watch couples make a spectacle of a holiday that inherently praises individuals for doing/giving something special as a physical token that their relationship has meaning, announcing to everyone that there is proof that their love is present.

Don’t let this perceived bitterness cloud your judgment here. This is not envy speaking. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day because I’m single. I hate Valentine’s Day because of its infrastructure. The holiday is day built to show someone dear to you that you love them. To have you buy expensive chocolates, flowers, and teddy bears so that someone you care about is aware of how much you mean to them. It tells people that sharing meals that are a little pricier and that have a better atmosphere than what you’re used to is the way to say “I love you.” So I am not jealous of this day that celebrates the connection shared by two people. I am upset that this is the only day. I am infuriated that this holiday monopolizes off of people who have someone they can put a “__friend” label to and how its concepts are restricted to synthetic romantic gestures. I hate Valentine’s Day because it’s the day people allow their measurements of love to fall short. You shouldn’t be anticipating Valentine’s Day to be the time you and your S.O. can indulge in thoughtful messages and sugar-coated surprises. You should feel love and show love every day. Yet somehow, it seems like society– especially young, unmarried couples– put so much emphasis on this day.

But you know what I’m jealous of? I’m jealous that two people can be in the same space, conversing freely without fear of being denounced, not having to sway in the dance of “are we friends or are we more?” to the beat of late-night DTRs and questionable intentions. I am jealous that these couples can partake in the festivities of chocolates and expensive cuisines without being called “sad,” “lonely,” or “crazy cat lady in the making.” I’m not jealous of your relationship, and I’m not jealous of your gifts. Let’s make that very clear.

“So, Connie, what does your ideal Valentine’s Day look like then?”

Gee, happy you asked. I hope that the Valentine’s Day that I share with someone is just like every day. Not exceptional. Not superfluous in compliments, flowers, or bling. All I’d ask for is a moment of time to say thank you to my person for sticking with me. At the very most, we could spend time baking a $3 box of brownies and playing video games. I honestly can’t imagine doing or asking for anything more on Valentine’s Day. And that’s what I think every day in a relationship should look like, including Valentine’s Day. There’s no need for dress-ups or red and pink plushies.

So to all of my single brothers and sisters: let us unite and rejoice as February 15th approaches. The season of lacy hearts and wilting roses is soon to pass, and an abundance of discount candy and tear-stained returns are to come.

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Author’s Note:

I had to write about today and make myself look like the Grinch of Valentine’s Day because  I thought it was a good follow-up to my previous post, but I also realize I’ve written something similar in the past before. It was just easy to complete and get some content in with this topic, but I’m going to try and write about something different next time, I promise! 🙂

Fighting with Myself to Find Myself – LOVE

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I wanted to start a series of pieces on the thoughts and feelings I’ve had that contradict each other and how they somehow piece together in my life. I will be writing these thoughts and feelings raw with little to no editing. This is part 3. 

I had an on-and-off crush on this one guy for so long that I was convinced that I was in love with him. It took 5+ years to realize this, and it’s the reason I gave him up. He made me question what it was about a guy that could keep me so drawn for so long. His warmth was so infectious and he had this beaming personality that really stood out to me, but all those things also scared the shit out of me. He was all the things I wasn’t, and there was no real measurable or explicit reason why I had these returning, cyclic feelings for him. It seemed like I had this unfounded, undeveloping love for him that was both impractical and far-fetched. Here’s a little something about me: the 2 phrases I always hesitate to say are “I forgive you” and “I love you.” I can say them whenever prompted to, but it’s hard for me to say “I love you” of my own accord without questioning how much I actually mean it. With that, although I share a lot about my opinion on love and the pursuit of it, I am really scared about confronting love. I don’t even have the particular problem on my hands now and I already know that when the time comes, I won’t be sure how I can tell the person I love that I love them. Saying that you’re in love with someone romantically, to me, solidifies the idea that you have this serious, enveloping feeling for one person alone; that you have decided you are devoted to someone that can make and mold you as you do the same for them. I can say now that I was more in love with the idea of this one person than the actual person, but the old-me was having trouble sorting these feelings and trying to determine what it all meant. Though we were in the same spaces for a very long time, I didn’t really know him well enough or made a deep enough connection with him to validate these emotions I had for him. We just didn’t have that relationship to begin with, and then to think of the idea of falling in love with someone who is both seemingly incompatible, unreachable, and who gave no indication of feeling the same way about you… it’s all so illogical and messy. But then again, so is love I suppose.

I recently watched a video on the science behind the type of people we pursue when we start dating. We want someone who has these traits that we find desirable, but then we also want someone with that edge– that thing that catches us off-guard (whether it’s something opposite of ourselves or something that is uncommonly seen in a person of their genre) and really makes us think about what makes them who they are. The guy in the video said having such a trait makes the person “addicting” because it makes us wonder more about the essence of their being. At first I agreed with this statement because it was something that I saw in the people I have been romantically interested in in the past, but I hate that idea. I hate the idea of some subconscious calculation in the person we want to be with. I think about my feelings a lot, but I’m also someone who doesn’t put distance or technicalities in consideration when I analyze people of interest. I care about how the person makes me feel in the here and now, and then let those other details play out as they come in the future. Sometimes, things just don’t work out along the way, but I wouldn’t have known that unless I gave it a try. At the same time, I also have a fear of wasting my time and having someone believe that I am a waste time. I’m someone who has an understanding that love and relationships are complicated and introduce a lot of compromise and difficulties in life, but I am also someone who believes that love is worth it despite all the other crap it brings. However, fear is a large component that comes into play. I’m already pretty scared of letting people in and allowing them to know all there is about me– which is probably where the fear of romantic-love comes from– so to consider the idea of letting love in and giving someone access to all I am is a lot.

I guess I’m just thinking a lot about these things lately after all the engagement and wedding announcements that have been appearing on Facebook or discussed amongst my friends. Might even be the new shipments of Valentine’s Day stuff at work adding clutter to my mind. But that aside, I’m kind of afraid that I’m behind the curve in terms of adult behavior / development / emotional management because of all these insecurities and fears that I have towards these “adulting” topics. At the same time, I also think that having these introspective thoughts presents some of my maturity as I consider and envision my future, as well as my goals and what is important to me. I don’t know. I might just be rambling on now, but I think this might be some food-for-thought for every other 20-something-year-old to chew at as well. What are we doing, how will we get there, and who do we want to be by our side through it all?
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