Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Beneath the Surface...

   "Nnnnnngggggggfffffff," I whined as the alarm clock began it's bleating noise. I wasn't thrilled about waking up this morning.

Despite the fact that we'd said we'd sleep in, J had forgotten to change his phone's clock setting and it was JUST. TOO. LOUD.

I groaned as I opened my eyes to a huge, furry, orange body. Obie had sneaked up next to my pillow, and was stretched out like a fuzzy, long, scarf next to my face.

My whole being felt raw, buzzy and unsettled.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Also, J and my anniversary. We had a nice evening; low-key, a little alcohol, chocolate, and a movie. However, we'd stayed up late, and I was tired this morning.

 I have also been feeling emotional. I think it's the New Moon, or some hippie-crunchy-woo-woo-crazy Energy going around. My heart center was supercharged, and not just because of the holiday/anniversary.

Valentine's Day has never been a big deal for me, but it is a holiday I enjoy. I think it's sweet most of the time. I don't hate it when I'm single, I don't dread it and put pressure on my partner. I think of it as it was when I was a kid. It's fun, you get to tell people they're cool (or spread the love) and revel in the fact that people are being sweet and kind to each other, and you have an excuse to eat large amounts of candy.

When I was little, I both loved and disliked what many people call the "Hallmark invented holiday," because when you're young at school, Valentine's Day usually means exchanging little cards with Snoopy on them holding a heart with chocolate taped to the back.

 It was a day of anxiety too, because the person you inevitably would risk "cooties," for, just to sit next to (and maybe hold hands with) almost never liked you back. You'd cheerfully give out Valentines with little notes written on them, and then, at the end of the day, you'd frantically search through all the ones you'd received and read and re-read the pencilled-in writing to see if you could get "I really like you in a more than just friendly sort of way," out of "Happy Valentine's Day," or "You're the coolest! -- Insert Name Here."

I remember taking a shoe box and covering it in construction paper to make my "mailbox," so that we could all have a place to discreetly "deliver," Valentines to each other. It was a happy, red, pink, white and purple free-for-all. I remember making the same construction paper loop-chains that we made for Christmas, only we used 'teacher-approved Valentinesy colors,' and there was lacy-doily-stuff everywhere.

The windows were covered with hearts, clouds, cupids, balloons and all manner of too-cute creatures making goo-goo-eyes at each other. Little boxes of conversation hearts were commonplace. I used to LOVE them. My mom would always have a big vase of flowers and bowls of chocolate and the little hearts on the kitchen table at home.

I also, have always felt inexplicably silly and stupid on Valentine's Day. The tiniest of things embarrass me when this day rolls around, and I think it's due to the fact that deep down, I am a closet hopeless romantic. I don't like getting gifts, I cry when someone surprises me, and I suck at taking compliments--- even though I truly appreciate all of these things!  I've been working on some of these issues  for years, and I can now manage to turn only medium-reddish-pink instead of beet-red when someone tells me something nice, and I can even burble back a sheepish,

    "Gee, thanks."

A lot of people feel pressure on Valentine's Day; it's the day to tell that person you haven't been able to speak a full sentence around, how you really feel about them. The day to proclaim your undying devotion to your significant other. The day to propose something ridiculous or life-long committing all in the name of: L-O-V-E.

Usually, for me, embarrassing things happen on Valentine's Day.

When I was 12, it was on Valentine's Day, that puberty hit and sent me for a loop. How embarrassing. To become officially an "adult," physically. At school. With everything covered in BRIGHT RED HEARTS. Ugh!

Or the time I was 6 and the boy I liked told me that redheads "freaked [him] out!" I'd saved my favorite Sesame Street Snuffleupagus valentine card for him. Ha! Yes, rejection is a frequent thing on this chocolate-covered-cherry holiday, assuming you have the guts (and sheer stupidity) to put yourself out there to begin with.

Ain't love grand...

Then there were the frequent V.D.'s that I spent alone. Not hating the cutesy couples that seemed to pop up all around me, but happy for them in the loneliest, saddest, most mournful of ways... while at the same time playing it "cool," and pretending that I didn't care at all that I was by myself.

Or, the celebrations of this holiday that I had with various partners, where I'd get something (or nothing) that really let me down.

You have to understand, if someone makes me something, even if it's one sock without a match, I will LOVE it because they put in effort and cared enough to try. I don't need a dozen red-roses, a box of chocolates and expensive jewelry-- in fact, those things make me really, really, nervous. I just want to know I'm cared about and that there was effort put into the gift.

Here is a list of crappy things I've gotten on Valentine's Day:

1) A box of his favorite candy (flavors that I didn't like at all).
2) A beanie baby, with no card, no explanation and no tag. (For all I know he stole it from his younger sibling).
3) A Valentine's card with just his name inside. No "Love, ____," just his name. (I also ended up having to pay for dinner because he "forgot [his] wallet."
4) One white carnation. (I hate carnations, they make me think of funerals.)
5) An expired coupon to the movies. (He'd had it for 2 years).
6) Stood Up (He forgot we had a date.)
7) Nothing. (He forgot to even say "Happy Valentine's Day.")

Now, conversely, I've had many WONDERFUL Valentine's Days. One year all my single friends and I all got together, ate candy, watched movies and played games. I have also had some pretty great homemade-let's-cook-together suppers; an incredible giant handmade card covered with foam stickers, hand-drawn hearts and the reasons I'm awesome; a really cool drawing of me; a nify, delicate little necklace and pink roses; and one AMAZING first date (hence, our anniversary yesterday).

All in all, I really like Valentine's Day. No gifts are necessary (unless things are hyped up first, making me anxious, and then a big, fat, NOTHING is delivered).

February 14th is simply a day to celebrate joy among people in a sometimes cutesy, mildly embarrassing way. It's pleasant and reminiscent of youthful fun to spread hugs, love, chocolate and little candy hearts.

I try not to dwell on the depressing feelings that come up, or the let-downs that swing by, or the my-sweetie-has-to-work-and-I'm-all-alone-blues.

I just smile, make my pink, red, white and purple construction-paper daisy chains, cut out my lacy-doily hearts, write my silly, lengthy poems, and spread the love.

Whether I'm alone or not.

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