- Posted February 14, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Valentine's Day: Crooked Smiles and Sticky Faces
I always think of Valentine’s Day fondly when I reminisce about those years. We would make these little personalized “mailboxes” and everyone in class would go around and give every other classmate a Valentine. Sure, they were store bought cards with chocolate or candy hearts adhered to them and required pretty little effort, but I always felt special. The fact that someone took even the few seconds to write my name made me feel connected to them.
It was of course expected that those who brought Valentine’s cards were to give them to everyone else. To an outsider and probably most everyone else in the class, it was just another way to get candy and attention. In that way, Valentine’s Day was similar to Halloween, except speaking for the minority who scare easily, it was a lot calmer. Not only that, but it made me feel special in a way that Halloween didn’t. Halloween oftentimes involved concealing your identity as you went door to door for sugar. None of the people (aside from immediate neighbors) knew who the child was, nor did they really care.
Valentine’s Day was special because each card I received had my (or at least somewhat of a resemblance to my) name on them. We greeted each other with “Happy Valentine’s Day!” and even though none of us personally knew what romantic love was on a deeper level, we said the greeting sincerely and with much enthusiasm. It was that day I saw a lighter, nicer side to most people, even individuals in the class who disliked or bullied me.
Then middle school rolled around. Valentine’s cards were no longer considered a common courtesy but a favor bestowed upon a girl from her BFFs (Best Friends Forever) or some lucky girl with flawless skin and flowy hair. Sure I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get my point. I was a shy, somewhat socially awkward pre-teen who waited impatiently as the school “Cupid” went from class to class and presented these lucky individuals with their flowers or candy. Staring intently at the door, I would wait in vain for the Cupid to come back, hoping that he/she had simply overlooked my gift at the bottom of the basket. So caught up in my own delusion that I had not even noticed my classmates ridiculing me for believing such an improbable even would ever occur.
Now we are grown up. I miss the days where everyone got Valentine’s cards. I missed everyone feeling loved, feeling special, even if just for a moment. Being one of the few married individuals in my peer group, my opinion is often not sought out since single friends of mine assume I have no idea what it means to be lonely on Valentine’s Day. To them, and to all of you I say this: Stop looking at the door. (I don’t mean it in a cruel way, I have been there.)
Go back to the way we did it in elementary school. Love and cherish everyone you have in your life. Romantic love is great, but it shouldn’t become its own idol or placed on a pedestal (even in marriage!) Your value as a person is not defined by whether Cupid has something at the bottom of the basket for you. Want chocolate? Buy some! In fact, buy some for everyone and pass them out! Valentine’s Day candy is not reserved for people in relationships. Just stay away from the weird sugar heart candies, those always tasted weird to me.