Article from Cassandra Johnson

It was December 26th when I saw all the Valentine’s Day decorations sitting on the shelves.  I was still breathing in all the holiday spirit so it left me a little annoyed.  It’s the same feeling when the Elf is on the Shelf prior to Halloween. I love holidays though I do prefer to savor each one during its proper time frame.  

Valentine’s Day to many, is considered just a day created by Hallmark when in fact, it has been in existence since 270 A.D.  A Roman festival called Lupercalia was held in Rome in mid-February each year. It was a gathering of love and fertility. The women would put their names into an urn.  The single men could draw one name from the urn and the two would unite for a month long courtship; many times this would turn into a marriage. The Christian church chose this time period to honor St. Valentine to Christianize the festival. There are many stories about St. Valentine so the actual accounts of the person are a little blurry.  As the holiday evolved, it celebrated romance with the first written Valentine to be in the 15th century. Today, 62% of Americans celebrate the holiday and over 1 billion cards are sent worldwide.

While a large percentage of people look forward to this day, many dread it.  A lot of couples feel pressure to exchange gifts and niceties. It’s a time that could make people feel compelled to engage in physical intimacy when they are not interested.  The romance day also reminds those without a significant other of the loneliness they feel every day. The perfectionist is worried about yet another day they have to get everything just right. There is an anti-Valentine movement that is filled with fun and humor (Galentine’s Day Celebrations) though some individuals make the starry eyed romance lover feel guilty over their excitement for the holiday.  Peer pressure, guilt, self doubt, lack of self esteem and loneliness are not expressed by the cards we see on the shelf.

I’m a hopeless romantic.  I love watching people fall in love.  I watch reality TV shows and romantic movies over and over again.  However, my husband and I tend not to exchange gifts during Valentine’s Day.  I would be a lying if I didn’t state that I would love to be swept off my feet for a extravagent Bachelor show one on one date, but I feel confident in what we have together.  Prior to him, Valentine’s Day was one of the most painful days for me. As a teenager, my boyfriend at the time hurt me multiple times over the four years we dated and the worst times were always around that holiday.  It heightened my quest for perfectionism around love and romance that led to disappointments when the fairytale could not happen.  

Today, I walked into our apartment community to see the management team took time to place hints of love and romance in the Clubhouse.  Heart pillows, sweet essential oil smells and lovely artwork on the walls all reminded me how I blessed I am in love. I thought about my husband, cats, family and friends that I am grateful for.  I decided to send some loving thoughts their way.  

Will you be my Valentine?