The one inch wide opening in the lid of the shoebox waited to swallow the validation I needed. The foil covered box with the randomly applied homemade hearts and adorned with ric-rac was what my young soul needed to help me know I was someone’s Valentine. The annual gesture of love and appreciation bestowed upon me from my peers finally arrived to where I would get the small folded tokens I desired to feel acknowledged, adored, perhaps even loved. Although the ubiquitous cards were as abundant as ticker tape in a hero’s parade, I cherished them as if “Be Mine” were a personal message from each young lady I had a crush on. Her personally scrawled, yet awkwardly scribed signature in the “from” line was intended for me to know it was from her, to me. Due to my initials: A. A. (Anthony Anders), I often sat in the first chair, first row, and got the first Valentines. I liked to feel, me getting the first cards was intentional. I see now getting them first was coincidental, getting any at all obligatory to each and every classmate. I still felt special. It was my choice.
My bitterness has long since faded as I refuse to substantiate how I am loved, by how many, or to what degree by the receipt of a card, flower, or chocolates, (Although I still love all the above.) I also find it hard to feel that 1/365th of my year is the benchmark to the relationships in my life as well as if I am worthy of love especially in respect to whether or not I get a physical token.
Love does not have to be reciprocated to be validated. Someone does not have to be aware of our love to make it real to us. Sometimes we have to love at a distance. What we send out, we get back. Remember this, don’t forget to love yourself. Show in your own best way to express your love for those who matter in your life. Profess your gratitude to your friends for their presence in your life. And finally, spend more time expressing your love than you do picking out your valentines.
I love you all! Happy Valentine’s Day 24/7/365...