I admit that being a romance writer tends to require you to be extra love-filled in February. After all, this is when we celebrate Valentine’s Day–the most commercial love holiday of the year. And it is an unwritten rule that romance writers push their books a lot in February and talk about love in mushy terms, reinforcing that we celebrate love this month more than any other time. I love my husband with all my heart, but we will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special dinner or card or any other gesture. Because we show each other our love every day through small gestures. Being there when one is sick. Cutting back on things we want when money is short. Always saying thank you when one does something for the other–whether something small like opening the door first or something large like being at an event to support the other person even when it’s not something we would choose for ourself.
This year, I’m against the commercial Valentine’s Day push to buy, buy, buy and prove your love. Anyone who knows me, knows that I believe love is a year-round thing. In fact, if we reserve our expressions of love to this one time each year, we are likely in trouble with those we love. Relationships require constant tending throughout the year. Everyday should be an expression of our love–whether for a partner, a friend, a family member, or even a stranger. Unfortunately, most of us have formed pictures of what love is or how to celebrate it from television, movies, and books. I know I certainly did when I was young.
I read Harlequin sweet romances starting around age 12. Also at that time, in the 1960’s popular music was very straightforward about love. It was all googly-eyes and kisses when it was going well, and longing and heartbreak when it wasn’t. There was no in between place. Of course, there were songs about cheaters–those men or women who couldn’t stay true but also didn’t have the guts to let their partner know they were playing the field. I never understood that, even as a teen. Why would you do that to someone? It’s not like telling them the truth is going to kill you. For those who couldn’t find love ,or had lost love, it was a very depressing existence. It seemed the entire world was coupled, and if you were not there was something wrong with you.
I longed to return to the days of elementary school where valentines were given to EVERYONE in the class. Not only to someone you had a romantic connection to. Valentines were given to show that every person in a class was worthy of love. It was part of recognizing the dignity of every individual. Sometimes those cards were funny and silly. At other times, they could be serious. You might save those more serious ones for your best friends. Even in my extended family, we would get together on or near Valentines Day and exchange these cards. Again EVERY person received a note of love. I think that is the way it should be.
So, this month, instead of celebrating a one true love, I would suggest that we celebrate love in general. Love for our fellow human beings. Love for our animals, our gardens, our love of nature. Love for those who do the work we cannot (the military, the firemen and women, the police, the garbage collectors, the handyman, the government employee who keeps on working for the good of us all even when politics makes it difficult).
On Facebook, every Tuesday, I’ll be posting a funny or questioning Valentine meme or quote just to shake up the status quo. For those of you who don’t have a partner and find Valentine’s Day cruel and unusual punishment, I say to you look for love in your life wherever it comes. Let a friend know you love them. Let a family member. Let your cat or dog know. Even better tell yourself you are worthy of love and celebrate your wonderful self.
I hope your February is filled with wonder and lots of love. If you have a special person or group of people you wish to give a shout out, feel free to do it here in the comments. I’ll be seeing you on Facebook and other Social Media venues this month. I have lots of love to share. Happy February!
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