Why Demand So Much On Valentine’s Day, But Accept So Little The Other 364 Days?
My first encounter with the dysfunction that Valentine’s Day can bring out of women was in middle school. My friend and classmate, who for the sake of this article we will call “Tracy,” was dating an older guy who attended the high school across the street. Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and all of us middle school girls were totally in love with the fact that the high schoolers had the option of sending each other gifts through this cute little system set up by the Black Student Union—especially Tracy. She was sure to remind her boyfriend over and over that he had better not forget to bring her gift across the street. I must have listened to her remind him about that gift a zillion times. When the day actually arrived, he came through for her and we all marveled with envy, hoping for the day that we’d get a boyfriend mature enough to shower us with sweet gestures on Valentine’s Day. But there was another side to Tracy’s relationship. Not only was this guy running around with multiple girls from our neighborhood, but he disrespected her and violently lashed out at her more times than she would’ve cared to admit.
I’d love to blame Tracy’s unfortunate situation on the fact that we were all young, dumb, inexperienced and slightly oblivious to what love really is. But the sad truth is that not much has changed since middle school. The world is filled with grown women who sell themselves short by remaining in unhealthy relationships with men who consistently disrespect and mistreat them. Ironically, it always seems to be these very same women who place the greatest value on elaborate Valentine’s Day gestures. Sadly, the reason for it all may be that it’s the only day they feel comfortable “demanding” the love that they deserve all year long. Receiving gifts on special days like Valentine’s Day may very well be one of the ways a person shows their love and gratitude, but it certainly should not be the only way. A person who genuinely loves you will show you that love consistently throughout the year, not merely through words, but also through actions. They will demonstrate their love through the things they do (and the things they refrain from doing).
I almost got caught up in the Valentine’s Day whirlwind once. My first Valentine’s Day in a somewhat new relationship was swiftly approaching and it seemed like anticipatory questions from family and friends about our V-Day plans came pouring in before Super Bowl Sunday even concluded. The pressure was on and I all of a sudden felt the need to have this extravagant “Notebook” worthy story to tell on Feb. 15. About one week prior to the actual day, I was having the hardest time. Work was hectic, my home life was crazy and to top it off, I was experiencing what felt like the worst case of PMS. At several points during that week, I was sure I’d reached my breaking point. And all of the Valentine’s Day talk, for some reason, only added to my stress. Then, out of the blue, I received a delivery. It was a beautiful arrangement of flowers from my boyfriend. When I reached out to thank him for such a sweet gesture, he simply replied, “Everything is going to be okay.” He expressed that he realized that I was having such a rough week and that I could use a little pick-me-up. In that very moment, something clicked. This gesture meant so much more than any Valentine’s Day gift or outing ever could because it came from the heart and not because society says that this is the day you’re supposed to go above and beyond to prove your love. When the love is true, maybe any day can be Valentine’s Day.