I’ve been struggling a lot with expectation and comparisons lately. In this society, it’s hard not to. And at this time of year, when romantic love is being thrown at us from all directions from all of the different media outlets, it can make a single lady start to envy those around her.
I’ve never really understood Valentine’s Day, and how commercial it’s become. How is it that Hallmark and the chocolate industry decided February 14th would be the one day we have to show our love to our significant other? I’m sure there’s research on the history, and a quick trip to Wikipedia would give me the answer. But I’m not going to do that. The mass consumerism, of what feels like a made up holiday (such a scrooge, aren’t I?), always drives me nuts. But what got me the most this year was the feeling that society doesn’t value a woman unless she is in a relationship with a man. Unless she is “off the market,” so to speak. The idea that women aren’t good enough on their own is not a new concept, but it just feels more “in your face” this time of year, doesn’t it? And it makes me sad. Because I’m very fortunate to have some really amazing women in my life.
Now I’m not knocking the people who like Vday, nor am I belittling the need or desire to be in a romantic relationship. I want that for myself at some point in my life too. I just wish main stream media would do a better job of honoring the many different kinds of love in our lives. The love between couples we’ve got covered. But what about the love of a parent and a child, or between siblings? And most importantly, especially for me right now, what about the love between friends?
Fortunately, I have a friend who feels the same way, and she started a new tradition for our little group this year. Galentine’s Day, which has become rather popular by the sitcom Parks and Recreation, is exactly what it sounds like. A day for gal pals to get together, have fun (and waffles) and exchange valentines. I was in crafters heaven making silly valentines robots and necklaces for my friends. Oh man, if only there was pinterest when I was in second grade, making valentines for the classroom!
But more importantly, I have never laughed so hard, or had so much fun on Valentine’s Day weekend.
We were a raucous bunch, who I’m sure, ruined/entertained the experience for the rest of the diner. But I hope the other patrons were laughing a long with us. I was disappointed to find out later that a group of girls, maybe 15 or 16 years old, sat at a table behind us, laughing and making fun of us the whole time. Couldn’t believe how foolish we all looked. I had my back to them, and thankfully was completely oblivious. I like to think I wasn’t that snarky or mean when I was 15 (but who knows, maybe I was). But I could really care less what they think. Because I just look at them and I hope that they are as lucky me when they get older. I hope they know how special it is to be surrounded by friends you truly enjoy and have fun with. Because as I get older, I’ve seen just how rare that is.
So this Vday season, remember your partners, but remember your friends too! Remember to tell them you love them, and how much they mean to you. And start a Galentine’s Day tradition of your own. I promise you will not regret the laughter, or the waffles.