Tag Archives: love

Get Psych’d For Another Hallmark Holiday

It’s finally here. The day we’ve all been dreading. The holiday of love, or lack thereof, for all the lonely singles spending tonight alone, kissing a bottle of booze, in the lifeless arms of an otherwise empty couch. It’s a shitty day for most, and seems to serve no other purpose except to disappoint. Because even if you do have a Valentine that you call mine to share it with, and even if they do it right and give you the perfect, special night you always wanted, your special night will end as sure as it arrived, and tomorrow will resume the not-so-special, ordinary passing of your daily life, that is the rest of the year.

Personally, I’m relieved to be single. Tonight especially. It’s just unnecessary pressure. And ultimately, it’s a joke. It’s like, Honey, I love you so much, I bought you the same box of chocolates millions of other people bought their honeys, too. Or, Boo, you’re so one-of-a-kind, I bought you this mass-produced teddy bear, identical to millions of other ones just like it, bought for millions of other bitches, just like you. Or Baby, you’re so basic I bought you a dozen roses, the most unoriginal Valentine of all.

DriveByValentine DriveByValentine2 DriveByValentine3The worst are those roadside, drive-by Valentine tent-shops selling last minute shit. The gift you give your Valentine is a symbol of the way you feel about them. So unless you want me to think I’m some cheap shit you picked up on the side of the road, on a whim, don’t give me some cheap shit you picked up on the side of the road, on a whim. If you want to show me I’m on your mind, or that I’m worth your precious time, you better put some thought and time into my Valentine.

And this is where we’ve all been led astray. We’ve bred another Hallmark holiday. V-Day isn’t what it used to be. Crafting crappy, homemade Valentines. Cutting paper hearts out of construction paper. Misspelling the names of all my classmates. My parents helping. Exchanging them with everyone, even the kids I didn’t like. Receiving them from everyone, and not just boys trying to get at me. Those were the days.

So what changed?

I grew up. I got cooties. So did you. And just like everything else in life, Valentine’s Day was adulterated by adulthood. Once you find yourself romantically of-age, the Valentine game changes. Paper hearts remain uncut. Construction paper gathers dust. Classmates go unrecognized, unnoticed. Except the sexy ones, who get the works. Chocolates, teddy bears and roses.

But was it I who changed, or Valentine’s? Is V-Day still “what it used to be” when I was young for little ones today? Or has the holiday evolved across the map? One can only speculate and wonder. That is, unless one is, say, a teacher at a preschool, in which case that person knows for sure whether the true, authentic Valentine experience has been preserved in youth today. So we asked Teacher Sarah what she observed at last week’s Valentine festivities.

This just in, Teacher Sarah, reporting from local preschool, Redwood City, Ca:

I have some unfortunate news. There’s a lack of Valentine’s Day spirit at the preschool. However, it isn’t the kids. It’s parent participation that’s been lacking. The preschoolers are excited to exchange Valentines with their classmates. Sadly, actually exchanging said Valentines proves difficult when parents drop their kids off with unopened, unassembled, store-bought Valentines. Cheap boxes that contain 24 of the same impersonal, generic cards and candy. How are kids supposed to get excited for Valentine’s day if parents won’t take the time to learn the names of their classmates, which ones are their friends, and which ones aren’t their favorites, and teaching kids to give valentine’s to ALL their classmates. Cheap, store-bought, Hallmark Valentine’s are costing families experiences and memories that they’ll never get back.

Sad news, indeed. But just because the rest of the world outgrew hand-cut, home-crafted Valentines doesn’t mean I have to. Which is why I hand-crafted a couple dozen coffee-filter flowers (adapted from a DIY by Two Shades of Pink) and handed them out to regulars at work. Why not show some due love and appreciation for the people I see nearly every day? Why not carry on my non-romantic, 90’s-preschool Valentine tradition? If those were the days, why not today? What’s stopping me now? Nothing. So I did it. Fuck it.

Coffee filters drying after dying. Getting in touch with my inner Georgia O'Keefe
Coffee filters drying after dying. Getting in touch with my inner Georgia O’Keefe
CoffeeFilterFlowers
The remaining flowers, after my Valentine’s Day shift at the coffee shop, distributing to customers
My girl, modeling my home-made Valentines. The taking of this picture was totally consensual
My girl, modeling my home-made Valentines. The taking of this picture was totally consensual

And that’s why I actually got psych’d for Valentines this year.

Love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Barista

Bad Romance — Concluded

PC D$
PC D$

Chances are at some point in your life, you’ve been in a shitty relationship. Or you currently are. If you have not, it’s only because a) you currently are and you’re in denial, or b) you haven’t been so far. Just wait. But if you are, or if you have been in the past, you know how bad shitty relationships can be. But a shitty significant other, if it comes down to it, you could abandon and have nothing to do with, or take to court when they’re not ready to be through. If there’s one thing worse than being stuck in a shitty relationship with someone, it’s being stuck in a shitty relationship with yourself, and breaking up isn’t an option.

Sometimes we fall in love with shitty people, who treat us like and make us feel like shit. The specific terms and particular circumstances of that shittiness manifest differently in all relationships, but in my own experience, I was swift to adopt my ex’s verbal and emotional abuse. The most damaging five words, which he carved deep into my ego were, “There you go thinking again,” as if I’m not entitled to my thoughts, which as you and I both know are golden. But I didn’t know that at the time. These words invalidated my opinion. Every time I spoke, these five words were fast to shut me up. But it was the words that silenced me, not my ex-boyfriend.

I can blame my shitty ex-boyfriend all I want, but the truth is, I’m just as much to blame for believing those words as he is for speaking them. He didn’t create those insecurities and doubts, he only fed and reinforced them. His shitty relationship with me was only a reflection of my shitty perception of myself. I think it’s important to note that distinction, because at least in my own case, my shitty relationship was only a symptom of something much, much worse.

Looking back, maybe I stayed with him because his words, as vicious as they were, were reassuring. They confirmed what I had already suspected early in my writing career: that my opinion wasn’t something worthy to be heard. If it was, I’d have to do something about it. Make a website. Write a book. Books and websites are a lot of work. Putting yourself out there is scary, and saying things is risky, and in a sick twisted way, having nothing of value to say can seem safer, because you don’t risk saying anything. At that point in my life, the self-doubt felt familiar, and there’s security in that.

But there’s no fun in suffocating every thought, emotion and creative impulse. No fucking freedom in that either. It took him leaving me for me to see that. He gave me a face to put to the voices that already whispered inside me, which made it easier for me to disengage from that side of myself, and talk back to those words every time they echo in the back of my mind… “There I go thinking again.” Damn right I do.

Bad Romance

PC D$
PC D$

They say love is a losing game, and they’re not wrong. But that isn’t how I see it. I think of love as a learning game, and it’s okay to love and “lose,” as long as you learn something from your loss, so come next time you toss the dice, you’re that much more equipped to cope with the next shitty relationship you roll, and again with the one after that.

It’s easy to get sucked into and stuck in a shitty relationship. I speak from experience. Bad relationships rewire brains. Good ones do this too, but differently. Bad relationships are liable to do considerable damage, some of which may heal naturally after the relationship has ended, and some of which may linger on for years, if not a life time.

Originally, I planned to write a featured list of warning signs to look for in your partner and avoid. But if the person I am now had warned Past Me not to go forward with my past relationships, Past Me would have gone forward anyway, that stubborn bitch. And she would have been right to do so, because if Past Me hadn’t “made those mistakes” (as some might call them), she would have never had the chance to blossom into the awesome person I am today.

The truth is, most relationships end, and many of the ones that last aren’t necessarily “successful.” So to define a relationship that ends as one that failed is not only unrealistic, but counterproductive. In the game of love, the points are cumulative. Every relationship, you level up. You become stronger and more resistant. More mature and realistic. More compassionate and understanding of your partner. More compassionate and understanding of yourself. More aware of what you need and what you want… and what you definitely don’t. A better communicator. Etcetera.

It can take a few bad relationships just to learn to identify them, let alone get out of them. And that’s why I can’t tell you to end a shitty relationship. You have to learn your own lessons and make your own decisions. But that’s not to say I can’t be a guiding light flickering in the back porch of your mind. There are some things in life we simply have to learn by doing. So do them, if you insist, but let yourself learn and grow, and when it’s time to end it, let it go.

Today goes down in history, because a dear and wild friend of mine is spending this morning (and so am I) in a courtroom opposite her ex-boyfriend, who faces a restraining order for violating her basic rights as a woman. Pardon, as a human* (this is Feminizm Friday, after all). My friend, who’s real name I decline to state—let’s call her MO-Money, sits opposite her ex today to defend her right to be free and feel safe in her own home, and it took enormous strength for her to do it, and a looooong time, let me tell you. So this is just to say, MO-Money: Atta girl.

Most of the women I’m close with have, at some point or another in their romantic careers, encountered the crazy one. The psychopath. Always a real charmer, sense of humor, real fun to be around… at first. And when we meet the crazy ones, to say we fall for them would be an understatement. Try a thousand-foot drop over the edge of a waterfall, plummeting to its rocky bottom. Try hurtling out of an airplane 30,000 feet above the ground just to discover you don’t know how to release the parachute. That’s how hard you’re going to fall for the person who tears you apart. And that’s why it can be so hard to leave them, and so hard to let them go. And that’s why I’m so proud of MO-Money, and of myself, and every person who’s ever had the balls to say that they deserve better than that.

I never found the strength to say that to my ex. The only good thing my psycho ever did for me was leave me, because I never would have left. But since he did, I know I deserve better now, and so now I demand it. But for those of you still stuck—if we made it through, you can too, and best of luck.