Valentines Day: amo, amas, a ... blah.

Latin: I love, you love, she ... blah.  Why not start off a Valentines Day post with a little Latin?

I try to avoid posting too many personal things here on Swoon.  The closest I have come were my posts about leaving our first family home, the post this Summer where I shared that I have moved out of the house I loved because my husband and I were separating, a post where I waxed poetic about my love of running and my post about my dear friend Maggie.  I view this blog as my creative outlet, and I shy away from getting into feelings or "real" stuff.  It is, I think, quite common practice among a lot of bloggers to share only the good and none of the bad; to take a picture of a perfectly staged room only to have a pile of junk hidden off to the side; to focus on the surface stuff when deeper things linger.  Truthfully, I did it and I still do - and it's OK because this blog is about DIY and projects, not a personal diary of my life.   Today is different though.  It's Valentines Day.  I've watched other bloggers post for weeks about the holiday and hearts and projects for their sweethearts; I've walked the aisles of stores and have seen the red and pink hearts; I've seen the commercials for diamonds and rings and cards (Hallmark: you get me every time).  Yes.  It is all the same stuff as in years past, but this year, it is very different.  It is hard.  Rather than finding myself annoyed or "over" the holiday, I have found myself, well, sad.  And I feel bad.  What, after all, is wrong with celebrating loving someone and being loved?  When you strip away the commercialism and the silly hearts and cupids, what is so bad about Valentines Day?  A day that is devoted to romantic love is really not such a bad day.  This life can be hard and cruel.  It is a battle for every single one of us.  So a day that is focused on true love .... well, there's just nothing wrong with that.

But what does someone going through a divorce do on Valentines Day?  How is one supposed to feel?  Obviously it is hitting me hard, as I've just used a ton of rhetorical questions, and I *hate* rhetorical questions.  

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for your feelings during the pendency of a divorce: going from saying "we" to "I"; the first Christmas alone; when you catch a glimpse of one of your wedding photos; that strange feeling when you catch yourself instinctively rubbing your thumb against your ring finger searching for rings that are no longer there; if children are involved, those first few weekends without them.  It is all hard.  For years, I have scoffed at Valentines Day.  "It's a stupid manufactured holiday," I would say.  It is easy to scoff at a holiday of which you are a part:  you have the liberty to choose whether to celebrate it.  But when you're once again without a Valentine, it is different.  It seems that everyone in the world is out there with a valentine, wearing her heart on her sleeve.  Everyone, it seems, but you.

I have learned, though, that I can pull myself out of the darkness by focusing on the good.  This Valentines Day, rather than be upset and focus on what I do not have, I am breaking out of my comfort zone by doing something completely different and also focusing on what I want.   Tonight I am running in a singles 5K run - a non-competitive jaunt that happens to end at a bar with a happy hour ... with a couple of free drinks and food - hello!  I think it will be fun and, above all else, will get me out of my house for most of the night.  How apropos on the day of love that I am combining two things I love oh-so-much: running and beer.  

But I also want to turn around my thinking and focus on love and the love I want and deserve.  I always think about Carrie Bradshaw's line from the finale of the "Sex and the City" series:

I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.
This is what I want.  I believe it is out there.  I believe in love and all that comes with it -- to love and to be loved; to need and to be needed.  I believe there is someone out there who will love me and get me and who knows that I would rather have one single lily of the valley stem over a roomful of red roses -- someone who knows that despite the fact that I would never ask for them, I actually love receiving flowers.  I am hopeful that this will be the hardest Valentines Day that I ever have.  I feel a lot like Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol, because I promise, when the time is right, I will not take Valentines Day, and more importantly what it means, for granted again.  Because, despite the heartbreak and all of the struggle of life and love, I believe in love.  And I believe in me.  

See you swoon,


  1. Love you, Shan. Beautifully written as always. You are going to have that crazy, take your breath away love, I just know it.