It’s February 9th. Exactly five days to go before Valentine’s Day here in my side of the world. And, I’m not at all enthusiastic about this oncoming event that lovers everywhere are hankering to commemorate (once a year), which is never complete without the pomp and glamour inspired only by commercialism.
This year, I choose not to celebrate for reasons only a few folks can understand and happily marrieds will never seem to get.
The mere thought of going out to public places strewn with public displays of affection, flowers, balloons and what-not is sending cold shivers down my spine. And, social media is no better place as people will surely be littering their virtual walls with undying professions of love, proposals, and photos of precious blings their hunny-bunny gave them that day.
So, why do I dread Valentine’s Day so much these days? Let me count the ways.
We can’t afford it.
When times are hard, wining and dining your sweetheart at some fancy restaurant is just out of the question. So why jump into the bandwagon of splurging on luxury items when you can actually spend quality time with your loved one in quiet and simplicity?
Unfortunately, everywhere I go, I see ads screaming “buy me!” in bold white or glaring red italics:
Buy this to put a smile on his face.
Buy that to please her silly.
Book a room at Forever Bliss Hotel for a night to remember.
It’s just disheartening how everything like love and happiness can be bought like that for just one day, knowing that you have very little to spare for even a cheap bar of chocolate. If I don’t give my husband a present, does that mean I love him less? If he doesn’t buy me flowers, should I be upset?
Once upon a time, Valentine’s Day was as a liturgical celebration of one of the earliest Christian saints. But, since Chaucer’s time of courtly love, Valentine’s Day has evolved or devolved to what it is today–a tradition embedded in romantic love strongly defined by commercialism and made special by a culture of materialism.
Keeping up is stressful.
Celebrating love isn’t a competition on who is happier or which couple did it better. It shouldn’t be. But, sometimes it feels like one, especially on Valentine’s Day.
When life was a bit kinder and our marriage full of hope, I anticipated Valentine’s Day like a child looking forward to Christmas. I never got diamonds nor was I ever treated to a luxury cruise at the Caribbean. A stem of red rose and a love letter were enough to make me teary-eyed with happiness, and I was just as contented with chocolate cake topped with a greeting that said “I love you” from the husband and the kids. Like everyone else in this day and age of social media, I took pictures of those simple gifts and posted them on Facebook and Instagram, alongside all other posts from friends that boasted of a vacation at some far-flung place or a lavish gift from their wealthy spouses. Nevertheless, I was happy.
Now, seeing these beautifully curated lives on social media juxtaposed with my less than desirable reality never fails to magnify that growing sense of pain inside me. It just makes me want to turn to the happier past rather than embrace change and move on.
Too Tired To Celebrate
Our marriage has been under a lot of stress in the past year and we have just pushed the restart button on our relationship. But, trying to rebuild our life together in the present isn’t enough to put us in celebratory mood for Valentine’s.
Most of the time, we feel tired and ornery from all the worrying about the future, especially with remnants of the past still weighing heavily on our conscience. We’re now gradually picking up the pieces of our shattered plans and dreams, and every shard is a reminder of how something so little can easily hurt a marriage.
All we want now is to shut society out from our private little world and not let its disapproving voice get in the way of our progress.