I remember being 12, walking up to my locker and nervously opening it, hoping that a heart shaped card would fall out from a secret admirer that had “I love you” scrawled in it, but would actually be from the kid wearing the baby blue velour suit in the class next door that I’d been crushing on all year. Was that what happened? No. Instead on Valentine’s day I was welcomed with some homework I’d forgotten to do, and half empty paper bags from old lunches. The disappoint would have me sighing and dragging my feet until the day was over, and repeated all over again the next year.
I know I’m not the only person who’s found unreciprocated feelings to have more of a sting on this holiday. That’s because we’re bombarded with messages at bus stops, chocolate bars and commercials that depict these beautiful, romantic relationships. Don’t get me wrong. Love is fine. It’s more than fine, it’s amazing! But what these perfect couples that are drinking wine in front of fireplaces, with ridiculous sexual tension in commercials are so unrealistic. Wine spills, hairs are out of place, and people don’t eat ice cream sexy. Relationships are imperfect, and sometimes there’s isn’t one at all. This is sending a message to little girls that being in a relationship will bring them fulfillment and something to strive for in life. I know because I used to be one of those little girls. Thankfully being surrounded up independent, strong women that helped me grow up to have a “I need no man” to complete me attitude. But this is not always the case.
I have watched too many people I love get into toxic relationships that lasts too long and once it finally ends, begins another soon after. It’s like being single is something that must be evaded. And there are so many excuses for the poor treatment they receive from their partners. They spend most of their lives loving someone else or the idea of it, that they forget to show love to the most important person. Themselves.
This idea that we need somebody else to be happy does have a lot to do with the mass media, but it started long before that if you look back on history. Romeo and Juliet is a perfect example. No happiness can be found in love if you can not find it in yourself, especially when you’re alone.
Let me make it clear that I’m not a Valentine’s Day hater. I’m in a long term relationship and we’ve done dates for the occasion, a few gifts have been exchanged and one time my idea of a romantic surprise was a can of fried plantain of my own making that came out more charred that it should of. Fried Plantain are my partner’s favourite so it’s not as weird as it sounds. I just want single to be just as cool! And relationships not to be portrayed as fairy tales.
Do you boo! Give yourself some chocolate on Valentine’s day if you’re single. And still do it if you aren’t! Work on yourself and if romance comes it comes. And if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. Be ok with either. I know self-love isn’t advertised because it’s not as profitable but let’s start passing on the message. Love thy self ladies! Or gents xo