Valentine’s Day – just an ordinary day in the year or the one chance to show someone you love/care for deeply/are stalking that you like them or really, really like them? If I were to do a straw poll of my friends, I’d probably get an evenish split down the middle with a few hardcore believers and haters to make things interesting. Just a flick through my Facebook feed gives a complete range of opinions about the day of “love” :
- Valentines Day- I don’t care what people say about if being commercialised etc . I love it
- Fuck Valentine’s Day! I love you everyday. (a photo)
- A picture of flowers (Thank you husband. They are gorgeous) – they are gorgeous by the way!
- Happy Hallmark Day Facebookers! – nicely cynical
- Happy Valentines Day to all my friends and family, love each and every one of ya, take care and hope you find someone to buy you a few pressies today !!
- Happy valentines day to all my gorgeous friends
- Can’t take much more poxy Valentines talk at work!!!!!!!!!
A fairly mixed bunch of thoughts about Valentine’s day which reflects the mixed bunch of friends I have – and I like that. I like that we all have different ideas and beliefs about such a universally recognised day. What does interest me though, is why do people feel the need to express their love on one particular day? Is it something that we have had drip fed into our psyche since we were old enough to understand or is it simply an easy way to show someone you love (whether platonic or romantic) exactly how you feel about them?
I remember being at school and the questions would fly on February 14th. How many cards have you got? Who have you sent a card to? Is he your boyfriend? Now, the last question was always the cracker as I went to an all girls secondary school. Opportunities to fraternize with the opposite sex were few and far between and were always outside of the school day. Friends of friends were good hunting grounds – my first “boyfriend” was a boy who was on the same train as a friend in my maths class. We would wave across the platform at each other and one day he waved back. Cue much note writing and snatched innocent hugs and kisses in the 10 minutes before our respective trains arrived. It was before I had a mobile phone so these slow “texts” were the best we got. In truth, I was too scared to admit my truest feelings – that I would rather declare my adoration for one of my classmates. However, in an all girls school in the early to mid nineties, this was not a clever move and I was not brave enough, or self-aware enough to make this known. Love, is not a many splendid thing if it dare not be mentioned.
But do we really need a single day to tell someone we love them? Can those amazing three words not be expressed and said all the other days of the year, without the need for cards, gifts and crowded restaurants with themed menus? I’ve been accused in the past of falling in love too soon, too quickly and too intensely. If I’m honest, I’d agree that this is the case – but why should love have a limit or an appropriate level of time before you can say it out loud? Admittedly if someone tells me they love me on the first time of meeting I’d be a little sceptical but from experience, I know I have fallen in love very quickly with people. Hell, it happened with Tom. I knew I loved him very early on – I just waited until I was ready to tell him…about 4 weeks I think. And since then, I’ve said it every day. When I go to work, when I come home, before we go to sleep, if he goes to the shops to get milk. He says it back and if I forget to tell him when he has said it to me, I get a raised eyebrow. Not because he is annoyed that I haven’t said it, but because that is our thing.
On this Valentine’s Day, we both have the day off work. Not because it is Valentine’s day (although my boss did have a chuckle when I first put my leave request in) but because we were supposed to be heading South to see my parents for mum’s birthday which was yesterday. However, the current weather situation meant that it wasn’t safe to be driving that distance so we are holing up here for the weekend. Neither of us “celebrate” Valentine’s day and I’d find it a little suspicious if we suddenly had to resort to today as our day for expressing love for each other. We show it every day, in lots of ways and I’d rather have 365 days of genuine love than one day of “expected” love.
How do we love? By making a cup of coffee after a long drive. By reading a bedtime story when I’m feeling very low and ill and need some basic comfort. By buying him daffodils when I know they are in season, just because they are his favourites. By supporting him at races, even if it is just holding the bags. By letting me rant and rave about things that annoy me without telling me I’m stupid or wrong. By making sure I’ve taken my meds. By knowing what makes him tick. By never stopping learning about each other.
Tell your friends you love them. Tell them even if you have had a bad day. Tell your parents (if you do that is…there is no rule to say you have to love your parents…ditto with siblings). But even if you aren’t that close to your siblings and you still love them, tell them. Tell your cat/dog/horse/snake you love them. Never be afraid of saying you love someone. It might not be reciprocated but that doesn’t negate your love for them. Love may leave but that doesn’t make love a bad thing. Love isn’t something that should be stored up for one day of the year. Love never ended a relationship. Love never ruined a friendship. Love never didn’t want to go for a walk. In a world where time is passing us by and people are taken from us every day, some too soon and some when the time is “right”, it is never a wrong time to tell someone you love them. Try it. Try loving all the time, on a Tuesday. On a Monday when all you want to do it go back to bed. Send a letter. Write an email. If Valentine’s day is your thing, then great – but don’t make it so for the sake of every other opportunity to say those awesome three words.
I. Love. You.