Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shot Through the Heart (and you’re to blame)

Valentine’s Day is near.  Can you feel it?  The supermarket candy aisles pay tribute to candy hearts and oversized boxes of chocolates, floral markets burst with the giant influx of roses, and the diamond industry would have us believe the only way to your loved one’s heart is through sparkly minerals.  Yes, America, St. Valentine’s day approaches - capitalism’s take on love.
The Valentine’s holiday has always amused me to some extent.  In college, there was always a group of students who refused to participate due to the lack of a significant other.  Instead of the celebration of love, these poor individuals focused on their lack of  a partner, mourning their situation through Singles Awareness Day, or SAD.  They wore black, some wouldn’t speak, and they refused to entertain the notion that love was possible.
Samantha and I officially started dating right around Valentine’s Day in 2002.  We had our “coming out” at a joint mixer with Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota in the music building at the University of Houston.  We had both recently emerged from long relationships and planned on taking things slowly.  She made me peanut butter cookies and gave me yellow roses.  I gave her a book I made out of construction paper (elementary school style) detailing the reasons I liked her.  I think it worked, after all, she has kept me around for another ten years.

Since we have been married, we have always agreed not to do the extravagant gift exchange celebrated by Valentine’s Day’s commercial sponsors.  Our decision isn’t a protest of the commercial nature of the Hallmark Holiday, instead we have chosen to spend our money differently, creating memories instead.
Whether or not your buy an expensive gift, make something crafty, or do nothing at all (with your love’s permission), be sure to celebrate the holiday beyond the gift giving - celebrate the love (or pre-love) you share.  It isn’t just about the gift wrap, the floral presentation, the fancy dinner, or the pay-off afterwards.  Valentine’s Day is about the time you have spent together, the experiences you share, the moments you are apart and can’t stop thinking about each other.  Valentine’s Day is about how you feel when your love is around, how you feel when they look at you, and how you still feel ten after you first got together.
Valentine’s Day should still be about love for those people tempted to celebrate SAD.  Whether or not you have found love before, know that love is out there.  Don’t feel saddened by the sappy couples that pop up like wildflowers on Valentine’s Day, feel emboldened by the possibility that love will find you for the first time or the thousandth.  The most important thing to remember when thinking about the future possibility of love is that most people find it impossible to love someone who doesn’t love themselves.  If love is avoiding you, turn introspective, make the decision to love yourself.
No matter what your plans are for Valentine’s Day, treat everyone you encounter with simple human love.  Celebrate every personal encounter with the spirit of Cupid.  Give those who have love a reminder and those who do not a reason to hope.
Happy Valentine’s Day 2012

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