Valentine’s blues

Eliza Hagstrom, Guest Columnist

As kids, Valentine’s Day was always a candy-filled, fun holiday with boxes covered in hearts and treats shared between classmates. Some see it as a huge capitalistic cash grab, but for others, it’s the pinnacle of love, and they have high expectations for themselves and their romantic partners. 

The atmosphere surrounding Valentine’s Day always brings along major expectations that the day itself usually never lives up to. For those that are single during this holiday, the dread of loneliness can engulf you. Commercials, TV shows, TikToks and ads are all full of happy couples having a great time together. Overnight, every store explodes with pink and red hearts. Whether you love it, hate it or are somewhere in the middle, Valentine’s Day is impossible to avoid. 

To me, the best thing to do is to make the best of your situation and give yourself a realistic way to celebrate. Galentine’s Day is a way to celebrate the day by focusing on the love for your close friends. Love doesn’t just mean romantic love despite the fact that it’s the message pushed onto the holiday your love for your friends can often be as strong or even stronger than romantic love. 

Maybe the love you need this year is the love for yourself to appreciate what makes you unique. Buy yourself flowers, chocolate and cheesy teddy bears if you want to. Self-love is often overlooked, and commercials and magazines want us to criticize and hate parts of ourselves so that we buy things that they say will instantly fix your issues. 

As someone who’s never been on a fancy dinner date, or gotten chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day, these other options seem way more appealing to me. Being surrounded by couples always reminds me of a yearning feeling that I want that. I am not necessarily lonely or sad about being single, but seeing happy and healthy couples having great times makes me wish that I could have that too. That said, I know that I do not need a romantic partner to feel fulfilled in life, but honestly, it would be nice. It is a constant battle between my hopeless romantic teen self that would read young adult romance novels like “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny H and wanting my own Peter Kavinsky and my independent mindset that ‘I don’t need no man.’

I feel like one of the main issues I have with Valentine’s Day is that it feels very capitalistic and fake a lot of the time. If there is an expectation for you to do something special, does that not make it less special? Youtuber Ryan Higa made a video called “Romantic Valentine’s Day Story” and asked the audience, “If you really love someone, shouldn’t every day be like Valentine’s Day? … Wouldn’t you rather get flowers on a random unexpected day rather than a day you’re supposed to get them?” This video came out eleven years ago, and when it did my twelve-year-old self thought that it was so profound and it has stayed in my mind all this time. 

There should be no shame in how you celebrate or what you do on Valentine’s day.