After nearly five years of abuse, I finally left him. With a cracked skull, split lips, and bruises on literally every inch of my body, I was left jaded, broken, and untrusting of all men. Each year when Valentine’s Day would come around, I would have nothing nice to say to all those lovebirds out there who felt the need to celebrate it. I thought romantic love was a delusion … and that Valentine’s Day was nothing but commercial exploit of that delusion.
When I met my husband, it wasn’t love at first sight. Yes, we were attracted to one another, but I had no intention of dating him. I didn’t want another relationship—ever. I was too afraid that he too might turn into a monster once I opened my heart to him. Still, I thought it would be okay for us to be friends, as we genuinely enjoyed one another’s company. I didn’t mean to fall in love with him. It just happened. By the time I finally expressed my feelings for him, he just smiled and replied very matter-of-factly, “I’m glad one of us finally said it.”
When the next Valentine’s Day came around, as taken as I was by having someone to love this time, I found that the holiday still held no meaning for me. Why? Because when one has found love—real love—every day is Valentine’s Day. I found that I didn’t want jewelry or chocolates or flowers to mark the occasion. What I had every day was so much more meaningful.
I still feel that way. Not a day goes by in which I don’t thank whatever fates brought my husband and me together. What I have—companionship, partnership, someone who understands me like no one else and treats me like gold—is the best gift I could ever have asked for. We don’t need a holiday to celebrate that. We celebrate it every day.
Just the same, for all you lovebirds out there out buying jewelry, chocolates, and flowers: Happy Valentine’s Day. May your love be true and your happiness year-round.