cross-posted from my other blog, Chasing the End of My Rainbow
It’s that wonderful, terrifying time of year again, when I walk into Target with a plan of buying cotton balls and conditioner and instead leave with multiple bags of dark chocolate and hot pink socks and an overwhelming sense of confusion. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
It’s Valentine’s Day week.
Not one minute after I tweeted this the other day:
I was snarling at my Facebook feed that was inundated with articles about love and dating while unwrapping my Dove heart-shaped dark chocolate when I saw it. Dove had written me a little love note on the wrapper. It said:
Be your own Valentine.
Goddammit, Dove! Stop writing me notes about how I should sleep under the stars tonight and listen to my heart. I just want to eat some chocolate. Leave me alone!
Valentine’s Day has always annoyed me. Now, before you all start thinking, “oh here we go, another bitter feminist eating dinner with her ten cats and bitching again,” just hear me out.
I’m all for love. I’m all for flowers! I’m all for chocolates! All of these things are awesome. So when I say Valentine’s Day annoys me, I’m not saying I hate the idea of people taking a day to show another person that they’re special. I’m not saying I hate the idea of people thinking February 14th is a great time to get naked together and eat lots of chocolates shaped like hearts. Because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right? Chocolate and nudity?
But seriously, my annoyance simply stems from all the silly pressure and expectations and inevitable disappointment that can come along with that. I’m not mad about it, though. Hell, I might even wear pink tomorrow. (Actually, that’s a lie, I’ll be wearing black, like I do every day.)
So now that we’re all clear on my stance on this oh-so-important holiday, I’m ready to do something I don’t typically do. I want to talk about love.
Recently, I was rejected. (Boo hoo, blah blah, I’m not going to get into details.) For whatever reason, it got me thinking about this time I was rejected by a boy in high school. I was completely enamored with this guy—in spite of the fact that he really wasn’t all that nice to me and constantly flirted with my best friend and very likely still had another girlfriend at his old high school that he pretended not to have. So it shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise to me the day he announced to me while we were sitting in the gym bleachers that he liked hanging out with me and all, but he didn’t want to be my boyfriend. Instead, I felt like he’d just drop-kicked me in the gut and then laughed hysterically as I writhed around in pain. Big, fat tears started falling out of my eyes that I quickly wiped away when I saw some younger girls across the gym smirking at me. Whyyyyy?
I asked myself. Why aren’t I good enough? What’s WRONG with me?
After school, I promptly went home and cried to my mother. Always my cheerleader,
she shook her head during my story and then said: “He’s clearly an idiot.” Then she launched into a tirade about how smart and beautiful and funny I was, ETC. ETC.
On the one hand, fuck yeah, Mom! On the other: Yes, that dude was kind of an idiot, but the thing is, he wasn’t an idiot for not liking me. And I wasn’t an idiot for liking someone who didn’t like me back in quite the same way.
Quite simply, it just is what it is. Sometimes we get rejected. Sometimes we’re the ones doing the rejecting. It’s the nature of love and dating.
But while I’d like to think that now, 10 years later, I’m way too mature and self-assured to immediately launch into the same "Whhyyyyy? Why aren’t I special?"
line of thinking after getting rejected by someone, that same whiny voice still pops in my brain.
It blows. No one likes getting rejected. But what can you do? Absolutely nothing.
You can’t trick someone into thinking you’re the most badass person on the planet and that obviously they could never love another person more than you.
Unfortunately, my 28-year-old self can’t run crying to my mom with tales of my failed romantic endeavors. However, my 28-year-old self can buy wine at the liquor store down the street.
So after my most recent romantic rejection, after allowing myself one night of crying into my wine and contemplating breaking framed photos over my knee, I decided to accept it.
It didn’t work out. But you know what? Something will.
My main boo Aziz Ansari put it best when he told the A.V. Club
AVC: Do you have any basic advice for people who think they’re falling in love?
AA: Does the person love them back? If so, enjoy every single second of it. This is the most fun part. I believe it’s really hard to meet someone you have that much of a deep connection with, so you should cherish it.
If the person doesn’t like them back, oof. I’m sorry. That’s a hard situation and it’s not always easy just to move on. When you meet someone you really like and connect with, I think that’s very special, and not to be taken for granted. They discuss this in Before Sunset, one of my favorite films, in a way that really struck a chord with me. Julie Delpy’s character says when she was younger, she thought she’d meet many people of the opposite sex that she would have a special, deep, personal connection with, but as she got older, she realized that’s not the case, and you realize how rare those kind of connections really are. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found I agree with this sentiment.
Sometimes it can be easy to romanticize our unrequited loves, though, so maybe be wary of that. Again, you want what you can’t have. And if someone’s being shitty to you, just move on. If someone’s being shitty to you, no matter how great they are, that’s shitty, and you don’t want be with someone who treats you shitty. Ultimately, there will be someone you meet that you like as much or more, there always is.
It’s really true! There always is.
So I just want to say to anyone reading this out there on the Interwebs: Don’t let tomorrow bring you down if for some reason it doesn’t work out the way you hoped it was all going to when you were eating pints of ice cream and watching Sleepless in Seattle
for the 20th time while weeping.
Maybe tomorrow will be great! Maybe it will be the most romantic day of ALL OF OUR LIVES! Or maybe, it will just be Thursday.
Whatever! Just remember, as my dear friend Beth put it so perfectly last night as she quoted Love Actually
for some reason while staring into a basket of crawfish: “Love actually is…all around.”
Don’t forget that! And whether you’re single, married, or juggling 15 different admirers right now because you are just that much of a boss, the fact is, somebody out there thinks you’re awesome-sauce. Because you are.
(Unless of course, you are this guy.
In that case, nobody thinks you’re awesome. I hate you.)
But for everyone else:
So let’s do it. Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Alison(composes) [seriously. crawfish.]