by: Cody Michael
Facebook is quite possibly the bane of my existence on Valentine’s Day. It is as if all the fears I’m hiding from in my daily existence become neatly packaged in words and pictures and conveniently placed on one webpage for me to see. It is bad enough that one must endure weeks of advertising and hype—being constantly barraged by hearts, unnecessary shades of pink and saccharine devotions plastered across every window—but it is worse still when all of a sudden you’re reminded not only of how single you are, but of what everyone else seems to have: love.
This is the second worst Valentine’s Day I ever plan on surviving. One year ago, the night before Valentine’s Day 2012, my love life came to a crashing halt. The only person whom I had ever traded that word of words with unceremoniously dumped me. I never saw it coming. I asked what our V-Day plans were; his response was a telling “Are you happy?”
The conversation did not go uphill from there. The flowers I had sent to him were sitting on his doorstep as I was in tears downstairs. We had just returned from an amazing European vacation and celebrated my birthday—I can assure you a breakup on the most romantic holiday of the year did not seem to be in the cards I had read for myself.
The only thing worse than the all the memories this time of year now stirs up in me is seemingly the complete lack of sympathy from what appears to be both sides of St. Valentine’s camp: The Singles and The Lovers. The Lovers, of course, are the true winners in this situation, and I can’t say that I can blame them too much for celebrating the holiday that was meant for their enjoyment. My problem actually mostly stems from people who think that they have it worse than everyone: The Singles.
You know them well. They’re all those people that post about “Singles Awareness Day!” and bitch about being alone on Valentine’s Day. They are even more vocal than that cute couple you actually like because they keep to themselves and don’t shove each other’s tongues down each other’s throat. They would like you to think that everyone else in the world should feel guilty because they don’t have someone to hold on Valentine’s Day.
As someone who has lived in both camps—the bitter single and the happy couple—I can tell you that it is far worse when neither of those roles seem to fit. I can tell you that it is far worse when Valentine’s Day becomes a bigger symbol than a papier-mâché heart. The first pink candy display I walked by this year almost sent me into an emotional tailspin of the “We are going to escort you out of the store, sir” variety.
That’s why I’m doing the most mature thing I know how to do. Instead of posting emotionally-charged Facebook statuses or torturing myself by even having to walk by happy couples on the street, I’m going to lock myself inside with copious amounts of wine, ice cream, and my best friends. I’m staying off Facebook that day. I’ll let the happy people enjoy their reign.
All I ask is that you do the same. Don’t sit there and pretend that your life is so terrible just because you’re single. Trust me—it could be worse. Valentine’s Day is just that: a day. Try to remember that being by yourself is a much better outcome than having a calendar date remind you of a broken heart.
I’ve spent a whole year remembering, but more importantly it comes down to what I’ve learned. I will not let a single day define my existence, nor will I quantify myself based on another person or how they view my singledom. I’ve realized that when I was asked “Are you happy?” I misunderstood the question. I now realize that I interpreted the question as “Are you happy with me?” (Which was a resounding yes) when I should have been asking myself “Are you happy with your life?”
Hindsight being 20/20, I was probably not a very happy person last Valentine’s Day. Even with a wonderful, emotionally fulfilling relationship, my life was in a bit of a rut. I was stuck in a dead end job I complained about all the time and I didn’t lose the weight I gained from quitting smoking months earlier. My dreams and ambitions were vague at best.
At the end of the day, I was crushed last Valentine’s Day. But this is not a pity party or guilt trip. All I ask is that you don’t selfishly remind myself and everyone else how awful it is. Everyone, and I mean everyone—the Singles and Lovers alike—are fully aware of what an awfully awesome holiday this is. Unfortunately, we have no chance of defeating it. Give the lovers their day, and the rest of us can celebrate without them. No bitterness, no tears, just wine and ice cream.