It's not long until Valentine's Day - and the stores have long since been awash in a sea of red and pink heart shaped items. It's enough to make you choke on your Ferrero Roche.
Some people get carried away with this idea that love revolves around this one day of the year. Which is, of course, is not the case.
I know I sound bitter, but I've always had a love-hate relationship with V-Day.
Not to say I'm not romantic - because I triple dog dare you to find anyone as romantic as me. Seriously. It's in my DNA. And really, who doesn't love to get flowers, or chocolates, or if you're a millennial, maybe even a dick pic sent to you in a text message. I mean... it all counts for something, right?
When did loving someone become a one day event, marked by too much pressure, too little thought, or massive over compensation - isn't love is about 365 days of gestures? Small daily gestures make a big impact.
For the past few years my eldest child has requested a set of cards to send everyone in his class because "it's Valentine's Day". For 2 years I have done the dutiful thing, but this year, I kinda-sorta-wanna say NO.
As a kid growing up in London, I never bought a multi pack of cartoon themed Valentine's cards and sent them to every person in the class. Where I came from, if you did bother to send someone a card, you wrote it badly with your left hand and awkwardly left it in their bag, or on their desk at break time, hoping that they would not actually guess it was from you. Mostly because it was too bloody embarrassing. It was about the most passive way of telling someone you liked them.
Anonymity + total lack of confidence = winning plan when declaring your love.
Perhaps it's my inner rebel - refusing to fall prey to the marketing of major greeting cards companies. Maybe it's something far less imaginative; but sending cards on Valentine's Day has been a rare event in my 36 years on earth.
I sent my first card to a friend's older brother when I was 10.
This was no simple romantic gesture. This was executed with precise detail. A covert mission if you will. It was practically out of a John le Carré novel.
To keep my identity intact, I enlisted the help of my mother. Without details, I instructed her (asked nicely) to address an envelope. She probably asked me why at the time, but I may possibly have jump rolled out of the room like a slower, fatter 10 year old female version of Jason Bourne. Once it was in the mail, there was nothing to do but pat myself on the back for my expert stealth. Mission objective was complete.
Not satisfied with the actual sending of the card, I now needed to know two vital pieces of intel;
1. Did he get the card? and
2. Did it make him fall madly in love with me?
It might have been the unusual amount of foot shuffling, or the sudden extreme rush of blood to my face, or the way in which I was unable to construct a sentence that made perfect sense.
but on confrontation, my super secret spy stealth went to shit. He got the card, but totally ignored me as usual.
1 out of 2 ain't bad.
Ain't bad at all.
I skipped a few years of card sending and finally started receiving some when I was 14. At first I thought my brother was taking pity on me - but later found out my crush (who I also happened to send a card to) had sent me one. Faith in Valentine's Day restored. Booyah.
Back then we would travel to a different town to send a card just so the post mark was different - and yet he'd still call up to ask if I got his "anonymous" card and I'd hear about the "anonymous" card he got.
Over the years I have always felt that Valentine's day has been a little bit less about love, and more about showing off love - and this is not to say that my future Valentine will not see the full extent of my showyoffyness. If need be, I'd write my love in the stars...
But more and more, I believe that love should be shown everyday. In the little things. There's no need to make a grand gesture one day a year. What's wrong with this Wednesday? Next Thursday? Right now?
I don't believe there is any shame is telling someone you love them anytime of the year.
And for the record, Ferrero Roche taste much better at Christmas, but flowers and dick pics are welcome all year round!
p.s) I'm.. err.. joking about the dick pics.
Mother, creative strategist and health & happiness advocate. These are my personal ramblings..