Sunday, February 14, 2010

Camembert & Zach Braff

This is a post about Valentine's Day.
But it's not THAT KIND of post about Valentine's Day.
And you know the one I mean. The one single girls always write on Valentine's Day.
This is not that post. So let's get to it.

Valentine's Day and I have always had an interesting relationship. At the beginning it was fun, you know. Exchanging little cards with the friends at school. Making mailboxes out of empty Kleenex boxes or little heart-shaped envelopes. Getting chocolate and candy and flowers from my parents, and sometimes random gifts.

But it soon occurred to me...around high school, I think...that Valentine's Day had a more sinister side for those who cared to see it. I think it was in high school that I first heard about "Singles Awareness Day" and I started to think about what it meant to be the OTHER contingency on Valentine's Day. And for six or seven years of February 14ths I've wondered when I would ever be able to cross that line into celebrating Valentine's Day instead of that OTHER day that single people say they're PROUD of but then secretly grind their teeth at the cards and the hearts and the pinks and the reds hung like streamers from people's faces everywhere they turn. And there's a lot of watching romantic, sappy movies that represent a life they can't possibly have and blubbering into their popcorn, or their tray of brownies that they're not sharing with anyone else. (The higher the fat content, the higher the level of comfort, I guess.)

To be honest, I've never spent a Valentine's Day WITH someone, if you know what I mean. I've been angry at Valentine's Day, I've ignored it, I've cursed it, I've pretended it wasn't important, I've laughed at it, but it just refuses to go away. And I'm not saying that so you'll, I don't know, ask me out or something, or even so you'll feel sorry for me, but just so you can understand the context for what I'm about to say.

This year, I decided to do the gutsy thing. I decided to embrace Valentine's Day. NOT Singles Awareness Day, because yes...I'm aware that I'm single. I'm aware of that every day. Why devote a day to being aware of it? But for the first time, I'm letting myself embrace the idea of all that singleness is, all that it can be, and realizing that singleness is not the same as loneliness, it just feels like it sometimes. Today, I decided to go into February 14th with eyes and arms wide open. (Stop singing Creed. No seriously, stop.) I wanted to see if the day itself--and the God that I wholeheartedly believe exists--would woo me in lieu of someone more, ahem, earthly.

I started this day sleeping in, which is always a fantastic way to start any day. And I don't mean sleeping in until noon. Nope, for me, sleeping in until about nine is perfect. That leaves plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day, but you still feel rested and rebellious for ignoring your alarm.

The day started out fantastic: an email from a dear friend put me in an extremely chipper mood, and I thought...okay. Maybe I feel a bit wooed. Keep it coming, V-Day.

I decided to go to church in the evening, so that left the morning and early afternoon free for other things. I spent the first part of it knitting and catching up on old Taxi episodes, and then when I noticed the sun outside I put on my coat, grabbed the overdue library books, and headed into my town.

Listening to a soundtrack of some favorite tunes, I spent three hours walking, thinking, singing to myself, perusing the library, sipping earl grey tea, meeting very sweet dogs, waiting for trains, wave-watching, people-watching, and feeling very, very plugged in, yet also unplugged. As I walked up the hill and homeward at the end of it all it had just started to rain, and I watched the slate grey clouds roll in over the Peninsula and the ferry boats and all. It was...perfection.

Very good, V-Day. You've got my attention.

The only hiccup was church. On the way there I noticed (thanks to a truck I was following with a very shiny rear-end) that my headlights had gone out. Phooey. By the time I got home to switch cars (because driving in the dark sans headlights is not advisable, really) it was too late to get anything but the last few minutes of Richard's sermon. Poo. Minus points for that, V-Day. Minus points.

But I stopped by QFC and decided to make myself an extravagant V-Day feast. I grabbed some white wine, camembert, Italian sausage, and pasta shells, and created an incredible concoction that was inspired by something I made when I was in Galway. The recipe is on its way and will soon be up at my other blog, The Good Hobbit Wife.

Finishing the evening with a red velvet cupcake that my parents brought me back from Claim Jumper yesterday and a viewing of Garden State--one of my all-time favorite films--it was a satisfying dinner, to say the least, and a perfect cap to the evening.

And, overall, a very satisfying Valentine's Day. I think we can be on speaking terms, now.

And you know what? For the time being, I am glad to be single. I think when you spend too much time comparing your life to other people's lives is when you get yourself into trouble worrying about things like singleness. Truth be told, I don't know where a fellow would fit into what I've currently got going. Between school and work I don't have a whole lot of time, and I wouldn't want to shortchange him when I've got him, you know? Someday, yes, I want to be a hobbit wife. But I can wait. It's not going to happen overnight, and patience is a virtue (though one that I often need to practice...regularly).

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Whether married, dating, single, divorced, complicated, bitter, delighted, excited, lonely, confused, or all of the is about you deciding to be content with who you are and what you've got going. Don't let the day end without recognizing a little love in your life, no matter who that person may be.

I shall now dream about Zach Braff in that leafy shirt and sing, "Once...twice...three times a lady" over and over until I can't take it anymore.

-The GLS

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