I have this image in my head of me on Valentine’s Day: I’m on a spin bike in a pretty pink dress. Under my arm is a gallon of chocolate ice-cream and I am shovelling the sweet stuff into my quivering lips as I pedal like a maniac. The instructor screams at me to “feel the burn!” Tears are streaming in mascara trails down my flushed cheeks and I sob back, “It IS burning!!!!”
Heartbreak sucks. Heartbreak really sucks on Valentines Day. It’s not that Valentines Day has ever been a momentous occasion for me whether I have been single or in a couple. I have always seen it as a Hallmark holiday. It isn’t the day that drives me into the land of ice-cream and spin bikes, it is the reminder that while I am still grieving a relationship lost, the world goes on.
People are still in love. Lots of people, actually, and they are all announcing it boldly to the world in the form of gifts, cuddles, and warm-hearted words. And being the selfish human being we all can be, I cringe at the thought that while my heart feels miserable, others are elated. That green-eyed monster my mom always warned me about threatens to erupt forth in a hulking rage. Add that image to my spin class fantasy and we have quite the winning person.
I’d rather not be that person this Valentines Day. Green never looked that good on me anyway. So I got to thinking, what can I make Valentines Day about to make it a good day for me, the recent single? Turns out, I don’t have to make Valentines Day anything.
Every card, balloon, teddy bear, and mug out on display right now has been shouting the answer to me: Appreciate your relationship. Of course, we all think of Valentines Day as the couple’s holiday, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe this Valentines, we should give our moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, dogs, cats, rats, turtles or budgies a big old “thank you for being in a relationship with me. I appreciate you.”
I know damn well that every wonderful person in my life has been challenged tolerating my broken-hearted self. Listening to me cry, buying me the afore-mentioned gallons of chocolate ice-cream, telling me there is something better than what’s been lost. They deserve a little love. And you know something else? So do I.
Because the real relationship we have to maintain is the relationship with ourselves. We have to be there through the ups and downs. We have to tolerate our own vices and weaknesses and still love ourselves at the end of the day. So I challenge any broken-hearted single reader to do what I hope to do this Valentine’s Day: Something for someone you love (or many people you love), and something for you.
Read a book, go out with friends, make your mom dinner, go workout (sans the ice-cream and the crying), send cards like you did when you were 8, give your dog a heart shaped treat. Do something this Valentines Day to remind you that relationships are everywhere, and you are most likely in a lot of them.
Me, I think I’m going to skip the spin class. Maybe I will call my mom and read her this column. Maybe I will give my mice (yes, mice) a sweet treat. Maybe I will go out with some girlfriends for drinks, or some guyfriends for a bad movie and beer. All I know is I am keeping sobbing, ice-cream guzzling, bitter, jealous Freckles under wraps. Because that doesn’t sound like someone I want to be in a relationship with this Valentine’s Day.