Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Fourteenth: Just Another Day

Valentine's Day was established in 496 A.D. and was then deleted from the Roman calendar in 1969. In my lifetime, it began in grade school as a forced exercise including everyone in the classroom to hand out valentine's, usually with cartoon characters on it or the small boxes of heart candy with little sayings on them like Be Mine.  In my teenage years, when I was single, I loathed the "holiday" with typical teenage disgust.  No longer mandated from teachers to be inclusive of everyone, it became a spectacle of balloons and flowers making the distinction between those who were involved and those who weren't; and also those who had the financial means to spend money on such displays of affection and those who didn't.  When I was in a relationship, which lasted into my early twenties, I embraced it, because it was an excuse to give each other cards which is something I've always loved; (giving and receiving cards or letters is becoming a lost tradition).  It's no surprise that when I was younger I felt sad not having a valentine when I didn't have one, growing up and coming-of-age with continuous messages beginning with Disney images

and having these overtly hetero-biased and Happily-Ever-After ideologies reinforced in school; that and also being a romantic at heart, I fell into the mold of Valentine's Day and at the same time rejected the idea of needing a "holiday" to acknowledge and express these feelings.  And as I continue to get older, now in my late twenties, walking into any store with it's heart-shaped balloons, candy boxes, and chocolate covered strawberries, I can't bring myself to engage in any of it, whether I'm involved with someone or not.  Not only is it another obnoxious overdone display of how capitalism has taken a hold of another holiday--detracting from what it's supposed to be about--but it's also based in Christianity, which is something I struggle with (as an adult) during all of the holidays my family has celebrated since I was born.  Being raised Catholic, but not practicing or having many, if any, positive associations with organized religion in general, it seems more out of familial obligation that I celebrate any of them.  I digress from the topic at hand, and won't turn this into a rant against holidays, because I don't disagree with celebration, I just disagree with the insane display of consumerism as opposed to actual meaningful time spent and love shared.  Honestly, I love giving and receiving cards, and I definitely don't have anything against chocolate, but there's something special and sweet about it being a random act of kindness as opposed to being willed upon us from some outside source.

 (For my vegetarian and vegan friend's I offer you fruit)

 So, February 14th was just another day this year: a Monday.  The beginning of the week and the halfway point of the month of February, which in central New York, seems to be the most difficult month to get through for myself and many others I know.

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