It is no secret that I am a huge Anti-Valentine’s Day advocate and have been since I was in high school for a variety of reasons. There is nothing wrong with expressing an opinion about something I feel is silly and ridiculous. This can be evidenced by my archive of Anti-V’day Sentiments and is something that will likely never change. Having an opinion and freely expressing it is not what I would consider “hate”, especially since that is a very strong emotion which I generally have no time to waste on. What I feel is contempt for the pressure that society puts on individuals to utilize merchandise in showcasing feelings and emotions towards another. The fact that this invasion happened while discounted Christmas items were still sitting on the shelves and egg-shaped candies that are marketed for another ‘holiday’ are also on display, serves as a shining example of why it is so hard for me to place any sort of value on such things.
The concept of Valentine’s Day as a holiday to celebrate love leaves out all of the people who are not in relationships or might not have ‘that someone special’ in their life. It causes them to feel like they are not loved or cared about; that they do not matter to anyone because they did not receive a card or gift or whatever. This is a group of people I can fully empathize with and are certainly not the same as those who cry because they expected something of someone without communicating such desires and thus got nothing. It is heartbreaking to read confessions of strangers who honestly just want to share in the rituals they see other engaging in, and I want all of them to know that there are plenty of alternatives which are just as fulfilling and do not require much more than a little bit of effort.
Speaking only for myself, the things I did in protest of Valentine’s Day were always in good fun, and I honestly do not care if if those antics or my opinions are seen as obnoxious. That just means I am doing my job, and I find it hilarious when others are too entrenched with ignorance to see how harmless it all is. Certainly being an Anti-V’Day advocate does not mean I am bitter, jealous or swimming in a pool of self-hatred. In fact, I see through the bullshit and refuse to buy into it, which I have always felt makes me an informed consumer who is unwilling to purchase meaningless crap just because a ‘holiday’ encourages me to do so. My relationship status should not make these things any more or less valid, but for the record, I am most certainly not alone. My future husband not only understands my position, he fully supports it, and that just adds to the numerous reasons of why I am in love him. Being knee-deep in wedding planning, an event that will shamelessly celebrate and symbolize many things, I understand why individuals are compelled to make public declarations in order to share intense feelings and I fully endorse that. Of course I still want said wedding to be a representation of our personalities and mostly non-traditional, because I never was one for the big white poofy dress and coordinating cake with tons of people in attendance. That is just not my style, and everyone is certainly entitled to have the wedding of their dreams, no matter what that might consist of.
The same can be said of those who like to buy boxes of chocolate, sparkly cards and goofy-looking animals for a significant other. If that is how someone chooses to express their love, I have no authority to say what they can and cannot do, but I will reserve my right to giggle without being judged for it. Just because I have no desire to embrace the tropes associated with Valentine’s Day does not mean the traditions I have observed since I was half the age I am now have no meaning. Everyone has the freedom to observe the ‘holiday’ in their own way, and to me that is what the original intent of celebrating love had been. While I might find couples who are oozing excessive displays of public affection and girls who make obligatory mention of what their boyfriend bought them incredibly annoying and shallow, it is also noted that taking Anti-V’Day notions to an extreme could be interpreted negatively. However, I would never go out of my way to impose my choices on anyone else, nor would I ever physically attack people in public – though I cannot deny having laughed and pointed when it may not have been entirely appropriate.
It is impossible to write my annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Sentiments™ without mentioning Jon, because he was such a significant part of my life and always deserves credit for imparting his unique brand of wisdom on me. Then again, knowing that someone has strong feelings of love for you without needing them to say so is not exactly something which happens often in life. Love was in the things he did for me and not expecting anything in return; it was evident in his expression every time he looked at me and coursed through his veins every second we spent in each other’s arms. Once I realized just how much our relationship meant to both of us, there was never any question or doubt because everything felt so right. There are many reason that I appreciated having Jon in my life, and there was no need for mass-produced bullshit to let him know this. Our Ant-V’Day celebrations rank among the last moments I saw him alive, and something like that tends to stick with you even six years later. Wearing black took on a whole new meaning and while the obvious symbolism of mourning may seem inappropriate on a day that is supposed to be filled with love, it is not something I feel needs to be justified.
There is no wrong or right way to observe any holiday, and at this age I feel that accepting the fact everyone has a different way of doing things is far more productive than telling them what they should be doing. Tearing others down because you assume they are ‘jealous haters’ is just as ridiculous as me stating everyone who buys into V’Day is a mindless drone – it places real feelings into general categories and makes it seem as though people are not entitled to them. Whether you find joy in coordinating the perfect red outfit for a romantic evening or ignoring the stereotypical behaviors expected on V’Day, no one should be judged for their choices because we all have the right to express love in ways that make us feel happy. Even thought I may not understand why people want to do this with gifts and may think it to be silly, I want the right to observe my own traditions that others could view in a similar way. The point in these Ant-V’Day articles has always been to embrace things because you want to, and not because you feel pressure from society, peers or others who say that you should.