The “Valentines Day” Lesson


“I dislike that Valentines Day makes some people feel lonely. Today is about love. Whether it be spent with lovers, family or friends. So get your mom a rose, or help a neighbor carry in groceries or buy yourself a coffee. Love should be spread to everyone everyday. Today is just a reminder. Happy Valentines Day everyone. You are loved ♥”

—Facebook status

Dear Readers,

As I type this entry, 12:54 a.m. stares at me from the right hand side of my laptop screen, unblinking.  This basically means that Valentines Day is officially over.  Even though this very day was created by the Hallmark Card corporation to grab more of your money (as if creating a horrendous cable channel was not enough), couples around the world celebrate Valentines Day by spending time with one another as if they will never see each other again.  It’s basically the only time of year where people can get away with being co-dependent.

Bad joke.  I know.

Valentines Day was always just another day out of bed for me.  It was nothing special and–because I often connected it to a romantic relationship–something I haven’t been in for about a year–I pretty disregarded it and kept it moving.  In fact, I totally forgot that it was Valentines Day until I walked into Educational Opportunity Center to do volunteer work.  The security guard–a petite young woman with long brown hair–greeted cheerfully:

“Happy Valentimes Day!”

I’m looking at her like “I’m sorry?”

“Happy Valentimes Day!” she said again.

“Oh!  Happy Valentines Day to you too.”

As I signed in, some strange, yet harmless man sporting a long white/gray beard approached the security window.  Without saying a word, he handed the security guard a box of chocolates.

“Awwwww.  Thank you.”  Smiles.

As I walked away, I ruminated on the creepiness of that exchange, considering he may not know her from a can of paint–as least not enough to buy her candy.  At the same time, the gesture itself was generous enough for me to write about it.  The Valentines Day cheer did not stop there:  people at the EOC were saying “Happy Valentines Day” as if they were celebrating Christmas.  I half expected someone in a Cupid costume to step onto the 4th floor with archery and some pink glitter to blow in my face.  At around lunch time, EOC staff fed us a Valentines Day lunch so at least I was able to celebrate with mac and cheese and chocolate cake.

After my shift at the EOC, I logged on to Facebook, only to read Valentines Day status all throughout my News Feed.  All of them had the same message:  Valentines Day is for everyone–not just couples who like to hold hands every day. So why am I telling you this, Reader?  What does this have to do with trauma?  I’ll tell you.  Valentines Day is basically the New Years Day for lovers.  Our society is very relationship oriented and the media spreads the message that–if we do not have that “special someone” to share our existence with–we are sub human. We are told that monogamy will make us happy and that somehow marriage will make every bit of our lives Happy, Joyous and Complete.  Meanwhile, those of us who are single are meant to feel like walking waste dumps due to not having a ring on our finger or a significant other holding our hand!

Now with that being said, imagine what goes on in the mind of someone who has been molested as a child or violated in some other ways.  Unless counseling and inner work helped us realize otherwise,  single trauma victims who labeled themselves damaged goods will only deem February 14th as a reminder of their singlehood.  The Dark Passenger in our heads gives us all kinds of reasons why we are “alone,” none of them making any sense, but still manages to depress the living shit out of us.  For me, Valentines Day was another day simply because I only saw it as a time for couples.  I had no business celebrating such a day, I told myself, because it wasn’t for me but for “Them” and “Them” alone.  Always.

However, all that changed when the security guard wished me a Happy Valentines Day.  In fact, others have wished me the same and I found myself doing this to others.  It took those moments to realize that I can celebrate this day any way I wish to.  Valentines Day is not only for lovers but for those who want to show appreciation to friends and family.  One does NOT have to be in love to express love and no money has to be spent.  But most of all, those who are single and have been traumatized do not have to beat themselves down because that “special someone” did not show up at your job with a bouquet of roses and a smile.  I found that there are other ways to celebrate Valentines Day other than waiting for that partner to share it with.

Today, my eyes were opened.  I hope yours were as well.

Happy Valentines Day.

 

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