Towards the end of the school day on Thursday, February 14, another teacher passed by my classroom and commented "Valentine's Day is so hard for some people; there is a girl crying right now in the hallway."
"She needs to get over that."
Weird gut response from me, huh? I recognize that sympathy/empathy are not really my strong suit, so I immediately clarified my comment and said something to the effect of, if you want to have a lovely Valentine's day (or a lovely ANY day!), then you need to go out and make that happen yourself. Don't wait around for someone else to make it happen for you.
For several years now, Valentine's Day has been one of my favorite days to celebrate love, friendship, delicious treats and just an overall reason to wear a fabulous outfit. Even growing up I loved the idea of making yourself a fun, colorful box for all your elementary school classmates to place themed Valentine's and the obligatory candy hearts into. However, after all the fun associated with Valentine's Day as a kid there came a time when I needed to make a decision about what some people still deem a "ridiculous, made-up holiday".
See I was a sophomore in college and got it into my head that it made perfect sense for my boyfriend at the time to drive from his college to mine to celebrate Valentine's Day together. And I fully expected it to happen. The entire day I kept thinking he would show up. Spoiler alert: he didn't. And years later, with hindsight as my friend, my adult self recognizes that it was ridiculous I even expected him too. He never said he was going to and in fact probably had completely legit commitments/reasons why he couldn't. That night however, I remember feeling so let down...like all the sudden all the fun of that day didn't matter because I was disappointed.
I went to bed that night thinking about how I couldn't just sit around and wait for someone to make my day complete, but that I needed to do that for myself. Kind of the same reason why I don't believe in being someone's "better half" because I think a successful relationship involves two wholes, but that's another blog post. ;)
Since that year in college, my Valentine's Days have been about making my own fun. This year that meant spending a cold day in January sprawled on my bedroom floor with construction paper, stickers, glitter, markers, ribbon and a best friend as we crafted Valentine's for our friends near and far. After mailing my Valentine's in time for a February 14 arrival to places like Brazil, Colombia, Wyoming, California, Indiana, Washington, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
On Thursday I dressed in purple pants and hot pink shirt to head off to school, where I received the most delightful Valentine from one of my students, brought in muffins for my co-workers to share, and handed out Valentine's to all my students that involved Hello Kitty temporary tattoos - because why not? From there, it was off an Inversions Workshop at Core Power Yoga where I played around in headstand and handstand with some of my favorite instructors. AND where all the students did cartwheels across the classroom, all in the name of fun.
Fifteen minutes later I arrived home to the sounds of Michael Jackson music blasting. I walked upstairs to both of my roommates cooking Valentine's dinner (Ilse for me and Liz for her boyfriend) and dancing to Michael Jackson on the Wii. I dropped my bags and joined in immediately - because why not? After the dancing ceased, Ilse and I enjoyed our pesto pasta, green smoothies and tea (since February is no alcohol month) before watching our Red Box pick of the night, Flight. Weird movie, by the way...
Another successful Valentine's Day completed, I headed to bed, reflecting on the idea that in today's world of DIY (thanks, Pinterest) we are so quick to try to build ourselves something pretty out of wine corks and chalkboard paint, yet we don't extend that "do it yourself" attitude to our lives and emotions. And in some ways that reliance on others is necessary, human and just are terrifyingly risky as going it alone, but at the end of the day, if you have already created a great DIY "you" then won't everyone else's contributions just add to make it that much better?
That's my plan.