Monday, 13 February 2012

To heart, or not to heart, Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Seriously, is there any worse faux-holiday? It causes me such anxiety whether I am single or not (which I am). But I love it all the same…
When I was a little girl, Dad used to get me a mini version of whatever he got Mum. Mum would normally get a bunch of flowers, a big heart shaped chocolate and a diamante encrusted heart shaped pin with her name engraved on it. I would get a little flower, a small heart shaped chocolate (or heart shaped lollipop) and a plain heart shaped pin with my name engraved on it. As much as I loved it, I felt I was intruding on their Valentine's Day.
When I was a little bit older, Mum left Dad. In the first week of February. Valentine's Day just made me so sad. Dad kept my brother and I. Just days after Mum left, Dad took us to a florist. He ordered a huge bunch of beautiful red roses to be delivered to Mum at her mother’s place. The florist asked my dad what he would like written in the card. He proceeded to recite one of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever heard. I asked where he got it. He told me he wrote it in his head a few nights prior and memorised it. I am certain that, collectively, all three of us held our breaths to see if this gesture, this last chance to be a family again, would work. It did not.
Years later I found the card she received from “the other man” that same Valentine's Day. It went with a bear that once replaced Puppy that time I forgot to bring him with me to Mum’s house. I threw that horrid bear out of my room and refused to let him ever come back in. No one ever asked why and I never found the card my dad sent her.
When I got to high school, there was a shame-inducing tradition of selling flowers to be delivered throughout the school. $2.50 got you a dying carnation with a small badly cut up tag tied on with cheap ribbon and your chosen sentiment hand-scrawled by a grade 12 girl who couldn’t care less. My first year there, my friend and I panicked at the horror of being the only girls not receiving flowers come Valentine's Day. Luckily we both received ‘From your secret admirer’ flowers. Turns out $2.50 can also buy insurance against being one of those girls who didn’t receive a flower.
I didn’t receive another flower until grade 12. That year I received one from a dear friend telling me “blonde becomes me” and another was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever received. My best guy friend (and technically ex-boyfriend) had a rose delivered to me asking me to be his date for the formal. Everyone in the grade knew I was getting this flower and when I looked up from reading it, every girl in the class was looking at me before one brave girl (funnily enough, the ex-friend who was in on the secret admirer scam from years prior) blurted out “Well, what are you going to say?” For the girl who was picked on mercilessly, the fact that I was the only girl to be asked to the formal through a flower and the first of all the girls (save the ones with boyfriends, I expect) to be asked to the formal meant the world to me. I had been dreading the formal for years, fully believing no one would ask me, purely thanks to the social stigma of being “the milk girl” (I worked on a milk run after school) but instead, I was the first girl to be snapped up!
That special moment was only a counter-balance for the fact that I had no way of stopping the crappy carnation that was winging its way to my ex-boyfriend who’d broken up with me on the 12th. That was just awkward for all involved. But my dad made it better by having big ugly plastic roses in the car for me ad my best friend when he picked us up that afternoon to drop us into the Brisbane Motor Show.
I had a boyfriend most Valentine's Days since then. But my heart still always breaks for my dad. I know that every Valentines Day he just remembers the last one he tried to share with my mum. He thinks of that poem, those roses and that desperate clinging to the family we once had before it slipped away forever. I always try to do something special for my dad. Ex-boyfriends of the past know that my dad is my main Valentine. Two years ago I bought him a black rose with a note that said “For the only one who can see the bright side of my dark side”. I don’t remember what I got my boyfriend at the time.
Last year I tried to kill myself just days before Valentine's Day. I say that bluntly, but a fact is a fact. It wasn't anything to do with Valentine's Day. My dad took me to a movie about life-after-life. I just cried and told him I wanted to die. This year, I need to make it up to Dad.
The boyfriends that I’ve had usually spoilt me. I have photos, teddies, cards, jewellery and fake flowers from many years and boys gone by.
This year is the first Valentine's Day I remember for a long time that I will be single (last year was a blur of suicide watch and therapy). I don’t know what to make of it. Obviously Dad will be my main Valentine again. But as a girl, its nice to know someone is thinking of me - thinking that I’m special, thinking that I’m beautiful, thinking that I’m worth something, anything, on Valentine's Day.
I know its a Hallmark holiday that isn’t even worth the cheap paper that all those cheesy, sappy, soon-to-be-thrown-out cards are printed on, but I still want to be part of it. Everyone says it’s just a gimmick and a poor excuse to make couples spend money and that’s totally true. But no one wants to be excluded. I could shout from the rooftops and use my blog as a stand and say “No to Valentine's Day” but I don’t want to. I like the sentiment. I like the feeling of being special, in some way, to somebody. Whatever reason that may be. I don’t want to just feel like the girl who is in the way, the girl who’s future with a live-in mother hangs on a poem, the girl who sends herself a “secret admirer” flower, the girl who feels the shame of giving an unwanted Valentine's day gift, the girl who spends Valentine's Day making sure her dad is ok… but I don’t need to be the girl who received an $80 dozen roses, the girl who wakes up to a serenade outside her window, the girl who sees a proposal hanging on the overpass on the way to work, the girl who is whisked away for a romantic dinner for two… I just want to be the girl who knows she is special… to somebody…
Miss SAMawdsley xx
  • Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
  • What does the holiday mean to you?
I'd like to wish a very happy Valentine's Day to some wonderful people who may be reading this.
Lori - who deserves all the love in the world
My best friend - who has been there for me every day for 21 years
Adam's mummy - who is spending her first Valentine's Day in 10 years as a fabulous single girl
Player - who sent me love purely for the sake of love
Simon - who is the best guy a girl could ever ask for
Someone - who has taken a tiny piece of my heart to a far off world. You damn well better bring it back one day! "I like you!" xx


  1. Love for the sake of love... But is it love in general, or love of stalking...?

    BTW, you are out of milk... xoxo

  2. Never going down. Never giving up. Never gonna leave. So put your hands up. If you like me... then say you like me.

  3. Dear Anonymous, I googled your comment & it turns out your words are lyrics from a song by someone called "We the Kings". This does not help me in the slightest. Is there some sort of cryptic message in there? Who are you?
    Miss SAMawdsley xx