February 14th has an emotional component which strikes the hearts of everyone at some time or another. Why is it such a painful topic for those who want some sort of affirmation that they are loved?  It is no wonder we are bombarded with advertisements for chocolates, strawberries, flowers and images of Cupid everywhere. When did it become a day of feeling that you are not worthy to receive these tokens of affection? Look at all the magazines in the grocery aisle. Cosmopolitan, a magazine for a real woman and men like it too. The titles alone will make you feel inadequate. How to be thin in 14 days;  how to organize your life; how to keep your man interested in you after the first year of marriage; how to dress like a million bucks on a ten dollar per week allowance;  how to work full time and raise your kids and attend every soccer game they will ever play. Don’t you realize you are being told how inadequate you every day? We have to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Oz to realize how miserable we are until we watch the show. Then we are miraculously cured. How preposterous that we should fall into this gerbil wheel of misery. What happened to us?

         I often think we have not come that far from the forties when women were trapped at home waiting on their men. Today we do that AND we work full time. We are not trapped but with the fast pace of life, we can feel trapped. Life is better in many ways however slow down, take a breath. We are special all right, and we don’t need flowers and chocolates to prove that. Did you ever think how much pressure Cupid’s holiday is for men as well? Appreciate the beauty of just being you.

            I think we should just turn off the television, stop buying the magazines, and stop waiting for a valentine to be delivered to your doorstep. It is romantic to receive tokens of affection, but it does not mean you are less beautiful or loveable if you do not receive a valentine. I should know, because I was one of those girls who never received a valentine either. Yes, I have survived to adulthood and I have received flowers for many occasions.

            So this Valentine’s day, I prefer to think back to simpler times of a Valentine’s party in grammar school. We all made fancy paper and doily envelopes to attach to the sides of our desks. The night before our party, we would hand deliver each handwritten valentine to our schoolmate. Nobody was ever excluded. That was probably one of my very best memories of grammar school. Love you because you are worth it.


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