Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I Hate Valentine's Day

i realize how absolutely cliché it is to say you hate valentine’s day because it’s an evil nonholiday created by Hallmark to stimulate consumerism and what about the other days of the year you should show your sweetie you love them? blah, blah. we’ve all heard it.

and while all of it may be true, it’s completely unrelated to my disdain for this evil nonholiday, which will forever be symbolic of a nuclear bomb blowing up in my chest. for several years now, i’ve spent the day feeling like a jew on christmas, minus the chinese food and trip to the movies. but the indifference to all the gifts and seemingly sacred celebrations that are attached to some religious figure whose very existence is questionable is the same. at least we get the day off for christmas.

it started in 2004, which would have gone down as The Worst Valentine’s Day Ever had it not been for valentine’s day 2010. but let’s back up to 2003, probably my last good valentine’s day. i had a boyfriend named Pablo then, whom i was with for four years — good years during which we shared four very romantic valentine’s days that included dinner, gifts and all that schmooptie pooptie stuff you do when you’re a person who doesn’t hate valentine’s day. because back then, i was an enthusiastic advocate for the day, consumerism aside and included. the flowers, chocolates, expensive meals and great wine are enough to get anyone on board.

then came january 2004, the month Pablo cheated on me, effectively ending our relationship, annihilating me emotionally and lighting the candle of what would become my burning hatred for the day. a few weeks after the breakup, my friend Zahra dragged me to a Match.com singles mixer in Hollywood. did i mention that Zahra is a former beauty queen? no joke. (i encourage you to read more about that here.) in short, it was not a fun night, only adding to my heartache and filling me with an overwhelming desire to call Pablo and ask him to ask me for another chance. thankfully, i resisted.

after that, i spent a couple years living the single vida loca before beginning another serious relationship, the one that would come to define my life in ways no other relationship has — and i mean that in the most positive way imaginable. fast forward to valentine’s day 2006, a time when my then-boyfriend Mo and i were very much in love and living together.

in an effort to reclaim valentine’s day as something i could get behind again, i got Mo a small gift for the occasion and assumed he would reciprocate even though we had never discussed what would happen (or not happen) on that day. he, assuming i was too evolved to care about such a silly little nonholiday, didn’t see what the big deal was. an argument followed, which culminated in me attempting to destroy the gift like a total, mature adult.

after the smoke cleared and tears dried, Mo and i had a very civil discussion about our outlook for valentine’s day and mutually agreed that we would no longer observe it in any way. and, wow, what a HUGE relief. no more agonizing over gifts, trying to plan the perfect evening or piling expectations onto a day that’s too often destined for disappointment. the day had been neutralized and stayed that way for a few years with nary an acknowledgement by either of us. and the truth was that i didn’t miss it one bit.

fast forward to valentine’s day 2010, the day Mo and i broke up. yes, you read that right. because if there’s anything more cliché than hating on valentine’s day, it’s breaking up — or getting engaged — on valentine’s day. and no one does clichés better than i do. being a 35-year-old single, jewish woman who wants kids should be more evidence of my mad skillz. if i had a profile on jdate, i might win the Cliché of the Year Award!

in any case, the fact that Mo and i broke up on valentine’s day had nothing to do with the fact that it was valentine’s day. as unlikely as that statement seems, it’s 100% true. trouble had been brewing for many months and just happened to combust like a powder keg on that day. call it coincidence or irony or bad luck. the eventual end result — as Mo and i kept living together for a few months following the breakup (awful idea, by the way) — was the dissolution of our five-year relationship and the irreversible scarring of a day meant to symbolize joyful love.

now it just symbolizes the worst type of heartbreak for me — the type where you fall apart, certain you’re losing the love of your life. it’s bad enough to feel once, but feeling it twice is a special treat reserved for people who live in the third realm of hell. thankfully, the food isn’t too bad down here. a little on the spicy side.

in the weeks leading up to this day, i could feel the blues setting in, the memories racing back, the regrets bubbling up. i thought i had made peace with most of it and think i’ve done good work since my breakup with Mo, but i’m far from peace. there are still quite a few thoughts that make my blood boil or my lip tremble. you’d think the two years i spent thinking, rethinking and overthinking everything would be enough, but heartache is a scab and valentine’s day is the 7-year-old who can’t stop picking at it.

of course, i realize that i may not always feel this way and there could be a great love coming who will reverse everything once again and blah, blah. i’ve heard those clichés, too. could happen, could not, but at this point it really doesn’t matter to me. the only thing that does matter is getting through this day, so i can file away these feelings and memories for another year.


Courtney said...

Oh how I know your pain. You well remember my five-year relationship that combusted, making me lose my hair and my mind along with it? That one happened on February 18th, four days after he had sent me a huge bouquet of roses. (Talk about cliches -- he was on a business trip that v-day, which I later found out was a ruse so he could spend the day with the woman he was cheating with. That probably explains why there were so many roses in that bunch). Anyway, the flowers sat in the living room mocking me as he moved out and for the next few days, until I disposed of them by hurling the huge glass vase against a dumpster so I could watch the flowers and glass smash to oblivion. Loving you on this day, my sweet friend.

Milla said...

thanks, babe, and ouch to your story. funny that i got a text from another friend who said she went through a bad breakup on VD, too. so easy to get this day wrong, which is why i'm forfeiting it forevermore.

Wade said...

Now I feel weird that I sent flowers!

Anonymous said...

Do you need a hug?

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. My supposed sweetie is away on a business trip and the last I heard from him was a call to say he loved me as he boarded his plane. Have not heard from him since. V day is a joke.