It’s hard to escape some of the more cringe-inducing messages in the lead up to Valentine’s Day in the western world. It’s a day that was created to fete early Christian martyrs (yes, plural – Valentine was a popular name for martyrs!) for things that people forgot about long ago, and for reasons of sacrifice rather than actual kissy-kissy romance. Early Pagans held a fertility celebration called Lupercalia in February and it’s thought that the creation of the Valentine holiday was an attempt to Christianise Pagan celebrations (remind you of Christmas?) As time went on the myths and practices surrounding Valentine’s Day became more romantic and were intended to celebrate the romantic love between a man and a woman. People exchanged cards with ribbon and lace, and eventually some entrepreneurial sort came up with the idea of mass manufacturing these trinkets. And you know the rest.
There’s a lot to disagree with when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It’s a Christian tradition celebrating hetero-normative love bastardised from Pagan celebration, basically. For years I was a single girl wondering about love and Valentine’s was always a day that mocked my inability to find a partner. To find a little joy I would make cards for my friends, drawing and gluing to show my appreciation and love for the people around me. Some years I would take time out to spoil myself, with home-made facials and manicures. When I started going out with Nick it didn’t really seem important that he shower me with gifts, so we never really made a big deal out of the day and preferred to spend it with friends. I really appreciate this new tradition we’ve created and feel like it’s a lot more enriching than selfishly squirreling our love away (though if you’re a parent it’s probably a good time to score some time to yourselves!)
SOME LOVELY THINGS TO DO
For yourself and others
❥ Paint your nails a crazy colour. Or red. Or any colour, really. (Photo by lauren the zebra)
❥ Give yourself a face mask and put used tea bags on your eyes (I have no idea if it reduces puffy eyes effectively, but it feels nice!)
❥ Make cupcakes for your friends.
❥ Have a picnic in the park and nap in the sun (good if you’re Australian, maybe not so good if it’s still frosty in your part of the world!)
❥ Nibble your jam sandwich into the shape of a heart (I used to do this all the time) or you could buy a proper cutter (they don’t sell the above one anymore though!)
❥ Book a date with a new friend.
❥ Doodle sweet things on cards and give them to your family and friends.
❥ Take a grandparent out to the movies.
❥ Stand in front of the mirror and practice cute poses. Do not leave until you have smiled at yourself.
❥ Write yourself a Valentine and put it in a book (so you or someone else can find it years later).
❥ THROW OUT YOUR SCALES.
❥ If you live with someone and their scales are in the bathroom, blu-tac a positive message over the display.
❥ Do absolutely nothing all day.
If you’ve got any body-positive all-inclusive plans for Valentine’s Day let me know in the comments!