The Unofficial Official Valentine’s Day Ambassador
I have spent 53 years on this planet and I am still waiting to meet someone who behaves like me around Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I thought by now I might have crossed paths with at least one other human being who celebrates this holiday like I do, which is the way I’m sure you can imagine a person would if that person had a deep and abiding reverence for how deliriously happy Valentine’s Day makes her. That is to say, passionately.
I am very passionate about Valentine’s Day.
The fact that I am barely in control of myself in this regard might cause the (oh so many) people who detest this holiday to use rather different words to describe this phenomenon of mine. Like obsessed. Or aggressive.
I get excited when Valentine’s candy shows up way too early in the grocery store. I read every. single. Valentine’s card wherever they’re sold. At least three times (ok more than that) between mid-January and February 14th, I loudly announce that I need to go to Target because we are having an emergency Qtip shortage. How else can I guarantee I’ll be able to browse the entirety of the Valentine’s Day merch? (There’s a special section devoted to it, but make sure you don’t miss anything because you also need to locate the satellite card/gift areas throughout the store. All of this is best done at a leisurely pace).
A few years ago I wrote a piece about how my deep and abiding love for this holiday had miraculously survived even the loss of my husband. Even though I have always been fully aware of how ridiculed and rejected this holiday is, and even though I wasn’t trying to start a fan club, I still think I did a pretty good job of selling it.
But now I’m starting to wonder if maybe expressing any enthusiasm at all–hang on a sec, the Valentine’s Day playlist on Spotify I follow just finished so I need to go find another one–
What I’m saying is, I’ve never needed anyone to go crazy with me over this holiday. The kind of joy I experience around it is so entirely self-generated that any other gesture or gift I receive is the very definition of icing on a cake I have been lustily plowing through for a long, long time.
But I simply cannot be the only one. I’m not the only one of anything! Maybe one day I will make the acquaintance of someone else who had the same kind of formative experience I did in 1st or 2nd grade, who also sensed not only a kinship with Valentine’s Day, but felt claimed by it, to be forever added to the roster of representatives of the holiday who would do it proud. Who like me had an immediate consolidation of all of their most favorite things-chocolate, candy, hearts, cards, flowers, their favorite colors, all coalesced into a ritual the sole purpose of which was the expression of human love in all its many forms.
Yeah, I know. You’re about to let me have it about commercialization, heteronormativity, romantic folly, heartbreak. And of course, *whispers* the massacre. All problematic, all horrible. I don’t want to be mistaken for an agent or advocate of any of that. But I am absolutely incapable of rejecting the holiday either. It has tightly gripped me-and I it-and trust me at this point no one is letting go. I’ve wondered over the years if it has something to do with me being a channel, that so much love rushes out of my soul into the world on a daily basis that it has to find situations and events and places to land and take root, otherwise the people I love would just get smothered. Maybe that day in elementary school there was a delivery of love leaving from the bottom of my heart right on schedule, but at an inelegant time. Headlong out into the world it went with no warning, no one calling out, “Wait! Stop! They’re going to exchange conversation hearts and tacky store-bought Valentines in class after lunch and as a result she’ll be imprinted by another tool of capitalism at too impressionable an age!!”
You have to admit though, it did make quite an impression.
I think it’s fair to say most people’s participation in Valentine’s Day falls into three main categories: just going through the motions and phoning it in, panicking because of wanting to really get it right with someone, or rejecting the whole business outright.
My fantasy? I’d make it better for everyone. I’m quite confident I’d get one of the first magic wands being passed out, because I would absolutely kill on the application for Valentine’s Day Ambassadorships. (Turns out swimming against the tide of the most hated holiday of the year for most of one’s life has some perks).
Then: as soon as the first Valentine’s Day candy appears in stores (December 23th in case you’re wondering), I’ll know it’s time. Time to start wandering the aisles of Target and the mall. Looking for the anxious, the jaded, and the disgusted. Using my intuitive abilities, I will determine who really wants help, but is stuck. Who wants to break free? I whisper to myself. When I find the first person, I will gently approach them and ask, “Would you like some help? You look like you’re trying to make Valentine’s Day special for someone.”
Then I will ever so slyly tap them on the back of the head with my wand. Which they will promptly forget I did (more magic) while I ask them who they’re shopping for. As I shop with them for a few minutes, it becomes clear to all that I have divined the perfect card, or gift. Sometimes I will need to direct them outside of the retail establishment in which we find ourselves because the perfect gift is in their case, not a material thing.
There’s another reason I want that magic wand. Because I want you to see yourself like I see you. I want you to feel loved. Even if the only chance I get is to catch you while you’re busy trying to help someone else feel loved on Valentine’s Day, on my watch as the Love Ambassador you get to feel loved too (ok that title sounds way dirtier than I meant it to but I think I just got a promotion). I don’t know exactly when or how I began to love people like I do, but it has been essential to doing good intuitive work and it has only gotten stronger the longer I’ve done it. Being a channel for love like that doesn’t mean I’m not human and don’t make mistakes. There are days I get messages for myself that I misinterpret as negative when I’ve known for over 30 years that’s not the way it works. I argue with my guides. I can be incredibly hard on myself. I bruise ridiculously easily both literally and figuratively. And oh yeah, my sons are teenagers now so I’m shorter and stupider and lame all day long and I don’t handle myself like I want to with them most of the time. But that just proves that we can be utterly, uniquely imperfect and still be exquisitely connected to whatever that powerful love juju is. And I am here for it.
I’m saying this to you now for all the people who have sat with me in sessions or taken my classes or who are going to read this and think, “Well that’s very nice Susan, but if you knew what a literal trash can of a human being I am, you wouldn’t say I’m your Valentine”.
Wrong. You are so my Valentine. The only thing that belongs in the trash is the belief that anything at all separates you from the highest version of yourself. Once you shatter that illusion, it’s not just clean up in aisle five. It’s a whole new way of being alive. You get to love all the parts of yourself, even the parts that previously seemed unlovable and unacceptable.
In my fantasy the cops are never called while I’m being banned from Target for freaking out customers. But still. One person at a time, I’d be helping Valentine’s Day win popularity contests. Maybe one day it would even be as beloved as Thanksgiving. Or Fourth of July.
Or….oh my God, it might even make the big leagues. Like Christmas.
I just got chills.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Friends. This year and every year, you’re all my Valentines.
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