Confessions From a Reluctant Valentine

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmid, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home


When it comes to romantic relationships I’m at a bit of a loss. Since I was a young kid I questioned a lot of the traditions and norms set before me. Especially when it came to heterosexual romance. Sophisticated queries like, “But, like, why?” tumbled from my mouth at an annoying pace. This is the reality of someone who doesn’t get it.

Looking at my upbringing sheds a lot of light. I am a kid of divorce. My parents separated while I was a baby so I haven’t ever known different. Sure there were hiccups bore out of my family situation but I can honestly say I have no idea how they were ever together in the first place. Nor do I want them to be. I am a firm believer that no one should electively choose misery just because. I’m happy that they called it quits and moved on to be with my lovely bonus parents (and their awesome, bonus family). In my case, it truly is the more the merrier, yet messier.

As I matured, I really leaned into the veracity of harsh statistics about break ups and divorces. The odds aren’t great. Ever the sponge-like student, I thought to myself, “Why are people so blind about it all? It’s like they are ignoring all the data?” I was easily frustrated at people – both ones I knew, and the ones in movie and books – for their apparent total disregard of facts and figures as they foolishly, in my opinion, flung themselves ignorantly from one hopeless relationship to another. It looked exhausting. I felt as though no one was prioritizing themselves and what they really wanted out of a mate.

Hard pass.

Fast forward to today and I am in a loving, committed, and equal partnership. Funny, right? One of the things that works between us is that he seems as totally mystified by relationship romance as I am. Perhaps we both don’t have that bit in our, what’s it called again, oh, yeah: heart. With each wedding, divorce, and loved one’s disappointment in their relationship, we’ve come to realize we really are outsiders, together. The saying, “There’s a lid for every pot,” comes fondly to mind.

Backtracking a bit, with my young knowledge of learning that romantic relationships are messy, one easily can lose themselves, and rarely work out; I decided to work on the only one I knew would stand the test of time. That relationship was with me. Sure I dated a bit, but ultimately, I learned more about myself then I ever learned about the lame duds I was dumped by. As egomaniacal as it sounds, after each breakup I always thought I was the better catch. As if I was the one walking away the more interesting, rounded person. Not one to dwell for too long, I moved on and forward ever the wiser.

I understand now that in my past perspective I focused only on the bad stuff. I have since tried to check myself. Though I feel my emotional intelligence for others has grown, the nearest and dearest relationship I still have is with myself. It’s always been, unapologetically, selfishly like this. I’m my own Ride-Or-Die. “But, like, why are you blubbering on about this?” you may ask. I promise I am getting there. Stay with me.

According to a recent article in Global News via AdWeek, Valentine’s Day is the fourth biggest retail holiday behind Christmas, Back-to-School, and Mother’s Day. A news release notes that the average Canadian will spend $92.30 on their special people for Valentine’s Day. Let’s say a quarter of Canada’s 35 million or so spend that on their loved ones. That’s over $700 million every February. Ding dong that is a lot of chocolates, cards, and flowers. Likely some dope jewelry and lingerie, too.

You would think a gal like me, an identified Love Language “Receiving Gifts” person, would love this holiday. Turns out, I do not. It must be all my hang-ups with romance and the lack of genuine appreciation. As I said before, I don’t get it.

However, what I do understand intimately is the desire and joy of treating yourself. I’ll share that the best gifts I receive are from me to myself. Self-gift giving is highly recommended by yours truly. Especially in the gnarly, bleak winter month that is February. Honestly, take that $92.30 and get something for yourself. Tell your loved ones to do the same instead of getting you something. Maybe that’s a new outfit, a frosted hunk of jewelry, saving that cash for later, or donating that money to someone who could really use a pick me up.

Though it’s not my personal jam, I will not deny or shame the indulgence of my clients or others. The ultimate gift – really it’s a privilege – is the gift of choice. Using one’s own agency to choose the life, lifestyle, and all the trinkets that come along with the choice are all ones you sincerely want.

This Valentine’s Day, do you, boo boo. I encourage you all to speak up for what you want (or don’t want), love others how they want to be loved, and delight in the love you receive from your loved ones.

If you’re at a loss for what to get and cutting it last minute, call me.