In case you are living under a rock: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.
In all honesty, this is a holiday that I never cared about. Instead, I took a skeptical approach and mocked it for the 'false' importance. You know, because I'm sweet and sentimental like that.
I would often be heard saying things like: "It's a Hallmark holiday and sappy cards make bile rise in my throat." or "Hearts are trite, I sure as hell don't want some shitass piece of jewelry with a heart on it." or "OMG, I'm a grown woman, DO NOT gift me a bear holding a pillow that says "you're beary sweet"." or "Please don't write me a poem. I hate love poems." (I actually just said that the other night and my friend responded, "That's because you are basically a dude.")
Then I met my husband and he softened my ever-so-slightly crusty exterior by presenting me with a lovely, understated pair of diamond stud earrings on our first Valentine's Day. Ever since then I have been a little less pissy and a little more...um.... accepting of the holiday. Have I mentioned before that I like shiny things?
This is were I start a bipolar conversation with myself. Jaded, coolcat, angry Johi is in red. The softened lump of dough that is left of me is in purple.
Hearts still annoy me. I reject them because I think of them as something a sixth grade girl would doodle in her Trapper Keeper.
Yet today, I sit here wearing a pair of red heart earrings that I purchased for myself just the other day for $6. They were made locally by a jewelry maker, I found them in a vintage shop. They are the prettiest shade of red glass and are a slightly elongated shape. Also, I'm wearing a charm bracelet with a giant heart on it, which I adore because it was given to me by my childhood bestie. It is funky and sassy, just like her.
Fuck the stuffed trinkets and overpriced cards. Don't even get me started on the cards!
But wait.... isn't Hallmark an American company that employs thousands of people? Yes. In fact, it is based in the heartland of America- right in my husband's hometown of Kansas City. It also employs people around the world with offices in England, Australia and Hong Kong. Hallmark also has 2,800 independently owned US retail stores, not to mention a channel on American television. So, maybe the fact that a holiday that started with a saint and burgeoned into something somewhat commercial, thus supporting thousands, maybe millions of people's jobs, isn't such a bad thing.
But still, don't get a grown-up woman a stuffed animal. It's just wrong and worthy of heaving over a public toilet. Save those cute little suckers for the children, so that they can turn them into weapons when in a battle with their siblings.
But the worst is the 'sweetheart specials' for dinner- you know what I mean. The same food that you could make at home for $20 will cost you $250 (with babysitter) at your local eatery. What a sham! Profit hungry a-holes!
But then again, don't we want to see a boost in the economy? And aren't those people merely local business owners trying to get by, just like the rest of us?
But it just seems like so much of Valentine's Day is based on some sort of expectation that we are projecting onto someone, or that they are projecting onto us! BULLSHIT! That takes the fun out of everything! I hate having my expectations crushed (besides, that is what my birthday is for!), and I hate disappointing people. It's a lose-lose holiday.
That is true. But what if we WANTED to do something sweet for people that we care about? Then it is.... well.... kind of fun. Especially when we focus on the giving part, and not the receiving. This is reminding me vaguely of another holiday that many people honor.
Then I had kids.
And as much work as those little turds are (and they are A LOT of work), pretty much all of the holidays have been really sweet. It is all something to look forward to... to make decorations.... to send out cards to people we love and let them know that we are thinking of them. And none of it feels like an obligation, it just feels nice. And I'm nothing if not nice. (Stop choking. You'll be fine.)
I know. I don't know what is happening to me either. Maybe it was the diamond earrings.... but I honestly think it happened somewhere between meeting someone who didn't impose expectations on to me, birthing two little dudes, making 22 lovebug Valentine's cards for Thing 1's Preschool party and decorating the windows with the Things and a couple of packages of sticky jelly hearts. I take pleasure in saying "I love you- you are the most special people in my world" to my guys, sending my single friends some special packages and buying some thoughtful gifts for Brock (this year it is The Hunger Games Trilogy, Napoleon Dynamite on DVD and pj pants on sale for $5- because he and I have the taste of a couple of Middle Schoolers). I have lost my crustiness towards the holiday that celebrates caring about people other than yourself. I seriously don't even want anything (especially a stuffed animal). Besides, I totally bought myself a set of my own pj bottoms- and yes, they match Brock's. So gag away. We'll be eating heart shaped strawberry pancakes with our kids and a couple of my single gal pals, and we will probably be doing it in matching elastic-waisted pajama bottoms. Cuz I'm gangsta like that.
Next.... the matching square dancing outfits.
Besides if this is what it feels like to be a giant dork, than I don't want to be anything else.
And if anyone wants to join us for brinner on the evening of Valentine's Day- please stop by. We are having bacon and we would love to share our salted, cured fat with you. Wear your pajamas.
Peace, Love and VD,
Oh, and here is a song for you. It has a banjo in it. Yay! I'll post the lyrics below. xxoo
Mumord and Sons- Sign No More
Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea and one on shore
My heart was never pure
You know me
But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be