My jester hat has been put away, and it is time to grab your violin. This shizzle is about to get serious.
I’d like to share with you a story from my childhood which helped me to see the true meaning of love.
I was never one of the pretty girls. It would be disrespectful to call my younger self ugly (I wouldn’t call anyone else it, so why should I insult myself) but it was always clear that my looks gave me a lack of confidence and I was never the girl that got the boys – on a plus note, this did always make kiss chase really easy because I could just stand there and eat my pickled Monster Munch, joking with the other low confidence girls.
Valentine’s Day was never a day for me. I would watch others celebrate and to a kid that means teddies and chocolates were the must have from a boy. It didn’t get me down, until one year jealousy really struck when seeing other girls my age getting boyfriends. I remember for months I kept thinking ‘what makes them prettier than me?, life will be better if I get a boyfriend, what can I do to make them like me?’. All this, because I wanted a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.
Well Valentine’s Day finally came around, and I had no one so was feeling particularly alone. I still remember spending that day in my room by myself, because it was an unwritten rule that being with anyone other than a boyfriend would be a loser thing to do on ‘boyfriend day’. I can’t even remember having any boy in mind, which I now find amusing that I was longing for the title, rather than the person!
From up in my room, I then get called down stairs because someone in my house had seen a card at the front door, freshly posted…for me…on Valentine’s Day. WOO!
Although OMG wasn’t a thing in those days, it was definitely how I felt – Those days I was probably thinking: ‘wow this is pucker. Proper wicked!’
So I opened up this little understated card which read something along the lines of: “To Gemma, I really like you, will you be my Valentine? From the boy at the park”. I think I reread this card thousands of times that day, and kept looking out the window to see if he was still there.
This changed my mood completely, and I felt wanted in the world. I remember over the next couple of days going to the park, and oddly the park had become very empty. Despite this, I was feeling brilliant. My parents told me to play it cool. He could be anyone, so be happy and confident everywhere because he might be there when you least expect it. They also said to remember that he might be shy, so it could take him some time to build the courage to talk to me about how much he likes me. So there I was, walking to the shops like I was Beyoncé with stacks of confidence. I was sticking two fingers up to sadness and was being happy as me. I wasn’t fused with changing to be like any other girl anymore.
A few months later, as my crazy ‘I need a boyfriend’ faze calmed down, I realised that there was never ‘a boy at the park’. I confirmed this by subtly mentioning ‘the boy at the park’ to my dad and it was like he was talking about Santa Clause. It was clear that he had posted the card to cheer me up and it worked. Additionally to being more confident, I also felt supported by my parents. When I could only hunt for commercial love, I was blinded from the true love all around me. This parenting was golden.
The next Valentine’s Day that came up was blissful. It no longer defined me as a person, and hasn’t ever since.
I am now very lucky to have a wonderful fiancé who is beyond the perfect match for me, and far more than ‘a title’ in my life, like the ‘boyfriend’ I was longing for when I was younger. I now see Valentine’s Day as a celebration of all kinds of love, not just the intimate love with a partner.
Although Jamie and I choose to spend the day together, we try to avoid any commercial elements. This year we will be in watching films, and drinking cocktails at home.
I also find it really important to have an eye out, particularly around Valentine’s Day, for people that are lonely. Depression does sadly seem to be high in our society, so if you get a chance to send someone a message, or pop around for 5 minutes then absolutely do. My favourite thing to do is to take around a game and a bottle of wine. Just because you can’t give them a relationship, or a partner back that they’ve lost, doesn’t mean you can’t make them enjoy life and realise that it is OK.
I hope this might inspire you to spread the love?
What are doing for Valentine's Day?