How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?
For me, it’s a mixed bag. I mean, it no longer causes the anxiety it once did–I’m married, so no worries about finding a Valentine–but it’s still such a strange holiday. I like the cute cards and hearts and it’s fun to dress up in pink and purple (You should see my outfit today! I’ve got hearts on my leggings). I like having an excuse to eat chocolate with abandon.
Of course, sometimes I’m dieting and wish there were no excuse for chocolate eating because if I succumb to it (which I always do, since my husband insists on buying heart-shaped boxes of it every year), it can set me back a whole weight-loss week. Plus, it can be such a waste of money. I try to make my own greeting cards but when it comes to my husband, I always end up going store-bought. (Analyze that how you will… hmm.) It took me years to convince my husband that flowers were a waste of money, so last year he bought balloons and then the kids fought over them all day.
And speaking of kids: they have to bring Valentines to school. Like, HAVE TO. I don’t know what the repercussions would be if they didn’t but still. And then there are teachers and bus drivers to consider. Gift cards can really add up. This year, I bought a pile of art supplies to give to the teachers. I hope that was a good idea, but I don’t really know. And I might still figure something out for the bus drivers but I don’t know.
I DON’T KNOW!
You might be thinking, It’s just Valentine’s Day. Chill. They don’t need presents.
Well, see, in order to defer some of the stress at Christmastime, we skipped gifts for teachers and bus drivers this year. I thought, I’ll do it at New Year’s. Then that passed in a blur. Now it’s Valentine’s Day and I really want to show them I appreciate them. And for some reason, it’s not super acceptable in our culture to just give someone a gift on a random Tuesday.
But then why do there have to be gifts at all?
In high school, the gifts were like a political statement, emphasizing the division between cliques, the popular and the unpopular. Yes, there were nerds with boyfriends and girlfriends, but they tended to celebrate in different ways. The popular kids, however–oy. Flowers, balloons, giant teddy bears. I mean, maybe it was miserable for those pretty, popular girls to lug around all the material evidence of their desirability, but they seemed pretty cool with it. If you didn’t have a valentine, you had two choices: go all Thora Birch and sneer at everything, going on long rants about commercialism and how stupid everyone is, or cry.
Me? I cried.
Anyhow, I could go on and on about this, and I probably will, but you don’t need to hear all that. Ultimately, I think it’s a good subject for free writing. So that’s what I want you to do, if you’re in need of a writing prompt today. Free write the crap out of Valentine’s Day.