This week marked the occurrence of one of the most controversial days of the year. I’m not talking about the State of the Union, although that does indeed create partisan fury. No, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. Though it’s certainly ironic that a day about love and togetherness can inspire such cynicism and scorn towards romance in general, I completely understand the general frustration at the blatant commercialization of a day meant to be devoted to one of the most beautiful emotions (says the hopeless romantic), but spent wallowing in bitterness and despair over the status of single, or complaining about the money you have to spend for your significant other, neither of these pessimistic minsets are the most constructive and healthy ways to react to Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong—as a perpetual bachelorette, I myself have thrown quite a few pity parties in my lifetime. “Fun” in the loosest sense of the word, they involve lots of chocolate, romantic comedies, and moping while I squirt lemon juice into my eyes. However tempting such celebrations may seem, they are not conducive to a positive mental and emotional state. On the contrary, these “woe-is-me”-inspired acts can really bog down your already fragile psyche.
To provide you with a personal example, a couple of years ago—unwilling to spend yet another year in the accursed state of singledom—I decided to take bold action and ask my crush to be my Valentine. Not only did he reject me, he did so for a girl who I can only describe as a Barbie doll. I returned home absolutely devastated and indulged in a good long cry. When I emerged from my room, my mom forced me to explain my blotchy face and the house’s sudden tissue shortage. She comforted me and shared some very valuable advice: Love is not a race. One day, the right person will come along and recognize my true beauty—beauty much more human than that of a Barbie doll. I just have to have patience; after all, it is a virtue.
Heeding this advice does not prove easy, especially in a society that emphasizes the importance of both romantic love, and of emptying your wallet in order to prove to the world just how much you’re in love. Feeling inadequate as I watch couples receiving serenades and bouquets of roses, I still fall victim to Valentine’s Day’s clever marketing schemes. This year the holiday hit me especially hard, as I held the preconceived notion that commencing college would mean automatically meeting the love of my life. This scenario played out all the time in the movies, so naturally, it would happen to me, right? How unfair, then, that I’ve been single during my entire first six months at Vassar.
Strangely enough, the Brewer House Cup ultimately crashed my pity party and helped me rearrange my priorities this Valentine’s Day. Though I’m confident that the vast majority of campus neither cares nor even knows about the Brewer House Cup, Strong House, where I proudly reside, has nursed a competitive fever from day one. We have unified into an impressive force, remained in the lead since the competition’s onset, and proven that, although we are the smallest dorm on campus, we are by every right Strong Women. Seeing my dormmates rally together and experiencing the unity as we tackle the Cup’s challenges with competitive fervor has led me to appreciate the Strong community and our shared love of
winning friendship (though the winning sure is an added bonus).
Whether you feel this friendship-induced love when hosting a group movie-viewing party, or when your roommate patiently tolerates your antics, or when your parents send you a particularly wonderful care package, I’d encourage you to take the time to appreciate all the wonderful people in your life, and to thank them for making you feel beautiful inside and out, quirks and all.
Despite my current residence in the town of Singledom, I still love Valentine’s Day; it devotes a specific time to showing the people in my life how much I care. When you focus on the people who are present in your life instead of the people who aren’t—giving thanks for the connections you have instead of the ones that you supposedly lack—you gain a deeper level of appreciation for the bounty of love already in your life. This mindset proves much healthier than one in which I lament the fact that Darren Criss has yet to realize that I am his one true love.
Yes, I will still wait for the right person to come along (don’t worry, Darren—I’m patient). But until that fateful day comes, I will continue to cultivate loving relationships with my friends and dormmates, and to appreciate the community around me…and perhaps win the Brewer House Cup, in the meantime.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”