Up until last year, Valentine's Day for me was never anything special. As a chubby, freckle-faced kid, I used to sit by each year in school while the pretty girls got carnations sent to them by the boys I had crushes on. I always hoped that one of those "secret admirer" deliveries to science class would be for me, but they never were. Instead, I got a box of Russel Stover chocolates from my grandmother (not complaining, those things are fucking delicious).
Then, as I got older, I dated, but somehow never wound up with the guys who actually celebrated Valentine's Day. Instead, they'd either hide out or stage a fight with me to avoid the holiday, leaving me to either stay home or hang out with my girl friends at some "lonely hearts club" party at a dive bar.
If someone had told me back then that I'd not only wind up with a Valentine, but that Valentine would be waiting for me at the end of an aisle, ready to marry me, I'd tell you that you were smoking crack. Me? The awkward, nerdy girl who was obsessed with mixed tapes and John Hughes movies that nobody else my age related to because they came out when we were 5? I was not the girl who got the hot guy or the happy ending. But there I was last year, dolled up in a big white dress and feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world, getting married at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. I was living out the ending to a cheesy romance novel, and I was loving every minute of it. The only thing missing was a black stallion. But hey, you can't have it all.
|Photo by Aaron Almendral|
And I know why I found my happy ending. It's because no matter how bad things seemed for me, I always had hope. I never once threw in the towel and expected that my life would be less than amazing. I knew there was something better out there for me, and I knew it was in my hands to make it happen.
My wish for everyone this Valentine's Day is that your day is filled with hope. Hope for love. Hope for a happy ending. No matter if you're in a relationship, teetering on the edge of a break-up, or single, this day is about the hope and excitement of love. Real, honest, genuine, love. Today is about looking at the little old couple that still holds hands after 60 years of marriage, and thinking, that will be me. It's about thinking back to your first date with your significant other and remembering how sweaty your palms were, and how you lost your breath when you first saw them walk into the room. It's about your husband eating like a slob in a stained sweatshirt and still being madly in love with him. It's about believing that love exists, even if right now it's just between you and your pug.
So get out there and take today on with an open heart. And tonight, toast to hope.