February 8, 2012

It's totally cool to be loving and happy (don't sweat the grumps).

I totally used to be one who felt Valentine's was a pointless holiday. It bothered me, a lot. The whole "Hallmark" aspect that many of us have gone on and on about over the many, many, years. And, yes, the marketing 3 months prior (to any holiday), is fairly irritating...but, for now, I won't get into that negative dump truck. 

But yes! The time has come that I have succumbed to loving most everyone;s least favorite holiday...the baby bottomed, heart shaped arrow toting, winged-cherubs', Valentine's Day.

Just to make it clear, I have not chosen to love Valentine's Day in a way that I am expecting my partner to give me flowers, chocolates, or really do anything out of the ordinary, for that matter. It won't be happening either way, and actually, I think that I prefer it that way. Wait, wow, I really just sounded like I was frantically lying about that. Well, I do promise, I am not lying. Maybe I write it for my partner's sake:no worries, I appreciate flowers and will eat enough super dark chocolate to make up for it during the rest of the year. 

I used to love to make homemade Valentine's for my friends while growing up, even throughout high school. I have always loved making mod-podge collages and these pretty little cards were a great excuse to express my heart felt kindness. 

Later, there came a time in life where being thoughtful and loving seemed as if it was not as socially acceptable as is once was. I was a thoughtful person for decades, but, one day it dawned on me that being kind almost seemed to make people feel uncomfortable. It was as if they were waiting for an ulterior motive to pop out or some other negative function to play out in the process. Or, maybe it was just that they were worried about having to give back and not able to just accept an act of kindness as just that.

I realize a little too late that It was my reacting to what I perceived as negative reactions as being the real issue. It only took me about ten years to figure it out.  I write this to encourage anyone else out there who faced a similar experience to get out there and just be as nice as you always wanted to be without worrying about what people think. 

Search: Love is Blind, Animation from film "One Crazy Summer" (1986)

The whole, cliche of choosing between  living out of love  Vs.  acting out of fear kind of has something to it. One difference being that the former is truly us being ourselves no matter the consequence. The latter, being an "act" of who we feel we should be in fear of possible consequences due to false perceptions.

Soon after that age where I was getting a little fearful of being my kinder and more thoughtful self, it seemed that my  life was taken over by work, college and/or both (as many of our lives do). It is as if we are left feeling stuck between feeling things such as: "there's not enough time",  "I should wait for their Birthday" or, again,"Will they wonder what I want or expect in return?"  

This is why, starting this year, I have decided to love the kitschy, cheesy, sticky sweetness that is Valentine's Day. (Hand crafted Valentine's not included, but if I had kids, yes included...sorry friends). I am going to consider it, and take it into practice. I hope.

When I think of Valentine's day, I think of friendship and those that I love around me. It does not have to be a holiday that ostracizes those who are single. My favorite valentine was one made from an art opening postcard. It was a photo of a mummy all wrapped in the middle of a city, I imagine San Francisco, with a red heart somewhere around it. It was given after a recent break up: it was just the perfect amount of dark, funny and kind of creepy to make me not sure if I should laugh at the irony and smile at the gesture that was made to lift my spirits, and, you know what? It did. 

Valentine's day may not be about decorating one single person with all the love and affection that you can possibly fit into one single red, satin, heart shaped day. But, it does seem like a great time to feel open to practicing being more loving--radiate from the center and outward to those you "love" around you. Yes, that includes you, the center has to be full before you can give any of that goodness away. 

Um, yeah, it's that cute.  from: www.catsparella.com/2011_01_01_archive.html

Though, Valentine's Day may or may not be the day for you to profess your love to that special someone,  It may be a good day, however, to surprise a friend with a sickly cute email, or another reason to laugh. I am thinking of sparkly ponies, fuzzy kittens, gluten free cupcakes and Unicorns...they are all still in style, right? (maybe.) 

So... There are a few great ideas that are sure to make everyone cringe with joy! Maybe you can email or use your fav. Social media to message your friend an all time favorite, cheesy love songs from when you were in grade school (My favs are More Than Words, by Extreme and Eternal Flame, by The Bangles, or really, anything by The Bangles for that matter in case you are wondering.). You could pick up or make half a dozen cupcakes from the local cupcake shop, and pair them up with half a dozen folks that made you smile. Not to totally promote major sugar/grain intake or anything. We are all human, and likely all love a good sweet treat every once in a blue moon. Or you can visit "Mark's Daily Apple" blog for a yummy Paleo dessert.

I think it's fun to pretend we are being ironic here simply get past one layer cake of acceptance: maybe it is okay to like happy things and be thoughtful. Ideally, at some point, we can make it to step two, where we can fully embrace our ability to accept feelings of happiness without wondering about ulterior motives. It can seem hard to do in this modern age, but, we have to start somewhere so that we can weed out the garbage and make way for the flowers. For now, let's continue to bring on the kitsch for a Rockin' V-day. You don't have to spend a dime. Just a possibly out dated thought:Go-tee +stache=love forever.

Whether your friends are single, committed, recently separated or whatever, if the though of spending time lifts your spirits as much as your favorite flower or television series, go for it, let them know! Love comes in many different forms. In the English language, the word "Love" can be used in describing our feelings of  "loving my sister", or "loving my dog" all the way to  "loving my new boots" or "loving vanilla ice cream". Interesting, huh? Either we need to get more creative with our language or offer an ode to our sweatshirt, or other favorite piece of clothing this Valentine's Day. (Why not? Um, can't say I haven't.)

If you are not a people person, love yourself and take the time to spend quality time to enjoy some things that lift your spirits. If there is sunshine on Valentine's Day, and you love sunshine, give yourself at least ten minutes to bathe in it. Or, maybe take a nice hot bath. It may inspire you to spend more time doing either more often or on a daily basis.  Hence, more love for you all around. 

As much as many of us have learned to despise this Hallmarky holiday, I propose that we tilt the scales back in the other direction, it won't hurt anyone will it?

Thinking about and being thankful for people, places and things that lift our spirits seems like a good thing, why not take a day to reinforce it. 



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