OPINION: The turning of a Valentine’s Day hater

Cameron Gorman

Cameron Gorman

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a Valentine’s Day hater. The kind of kid who would throw away her Valentine’s mailbox because it was stupid to compare who was getting the most cards. The kind of person who liked to smugly remind you that Valentine’s Day is really just a commercial holiday.

Valentine’s Day felt saccharine and fake, a holiday centered around foil-wrapped chocolate, overpriced teddy bears, disgusting heart candy and, worst of all, the shoving-in-everyone’s-face of love. Turning the corner and seeing couples goes from mildly annoying to something you feel like you aren’t good enough for. It really hurts at times, and it only gets worse when the entire world seems preoccupied with the idea of pairing off. It becomes pretty tempting to wear all black on Valentine’s Day, tell other people that it’s stupid of them to spend money on cards and gifts, remind people that pink and red really shouldn’t be worn together.

If you truly hate Valentine’s Day, then you will deny that it has anything to do with a broken heart. “No, man, it’s really just because it’s so capitalist.” OK, maybe that’s true. But I, as someone who would have proudly declared my hatred for Valentine’s Day in years past, am telling you this: I did have a broken heart. And yes, that’s partly why I so hated Valentine’s Day.

Now, as someone who is in a relationship, I don’t condone a holiday that does its best to reinforce “normal” relationships any more than the next Valentine’s-hater. It’s not the best feeling, and it’s probably not good for anyone to super-romanticize partnerships all the time. But being in a relationship wasn’t what fixed Valentine’s Day for me.

Anyone who goes directly into the dollar spot upon entering a Target can tell you: It’s not about rejecting love, or even welcoming it with open arms. It’s about finding love in the people around you.

Who’s your Valentine? Why not your best friend? Even if you’re not in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, I seriously doubt there’s no love in your life. Make a cake with your mom. Watch a movie with your sister. Get yourself something!

Shopping for a party I recently hosted, I stopped in the aisle when I saw that the shelves were stocked with those boxes of cheesy grade-school Valentine’s. I couldn’t help myself. I bought some, and later, during the party, I brought them out. It was fun; we all wrote little notes (one of which is on my fridge right now) and threw them at each other.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be serious, deeply romantic or anything you don’t want it to be. It doesn’t have to be all melted chocolate and deep reds. Sometimes, it’s just about remembering the love you do have in your life — and wearing pink and red together.

Cameron Gorman is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected].