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The heart-shaped candies, the abundance of chocolates and ridiculously adorable stuffed bears always signaled the beginning of one of my favorite yet most despised holidays… Valentine’s Day. To understand my conflict with the day of love I need to start at the root of my issue: Hallmark.

From a young age, my grandma and I would have this tradition to turn on the TV every Friday with a box of sushi and watch Hallmark movies. I always found solace with their predictable plots and cheesy one-liners. You can take your pick from the small-town baker to the secret prince, and you can find it in at least one Hallmark movie. To say I was and am obsessed would be an understatement. My friends have called me Hallmark’s No. 1 fan due to the hundreds of hours I have spent watching Hallmark movies in the past decade. (If you ever need a list of good movies or rom-coms, my DMs are always open.)

If I love Hallmark movies, why are they the root of my issues?

The answer is simple. It is because as I grew up, I realized that life is not a Hallmark movie. The guy that was supposed to be standing outside of my door in a middle of a snowstorm professing his love for me never showed up. The sporadic meeting at a coffee shop where I’d accidentally trip and spill my coffee all over his shirt, but he’d smile down on me, never occurred. The big “firsts” that I put on a pedestal like my first kiss became an unmemorable experience, nothing like the Hallmark movies I grew up watching.

The movies many see as cheesy have somehow sculpted me into a hopeless romantic. They made me believe in love at first sight and the idea of having a soulmate, but with each movie, my expectations continued to rise.

You might be asking why that’s a bad thing, and in all honestly, it is not. It is important to have high expectations for a significant other because you should want your “happily ever after.” However, being a hopeless romantic in a generation that seems to have lost that sparkle of romance and chivalry is a feat.

In the world that we live in, meeting someone organically is a needle in a haystack. We turn to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to try and form connections, but oftentimes are left feeling more disconnected than ever. I’ve personally experienced this spending time picking my best pictures and the funniest prompts that really ‘capture my essence’ and within the same weekend end up deleting my profile. It would seem fun at first, but the more I swiped, the more impersonal the concept of meeting someone online seemed. Now, I’ve heard my fair share of successful relationships that have started online and bloomed into something amazing, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them and there’s nothing wrong with that.

My life may not be planned out like a cliche Hallmark movie with a perfect scenario planned where I’d coincidentally run into a perfect suitor, but that’s okay. Every Hallmark movie has a beginning, middle and fairytale ending and I’m only at the beginning of my story. Life is supposed to be messy, out of order and somehow still uniquely beautiful.

So, what will I be doing this Valentine’s day?

I’ll be cuddled up with a pint of half-baked Ben and Jerry’s, in my matching PJ set and watching my favorite Hallmark movies. I’ll keep on dreaming and you should too.

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Hey y'all! My name is Lauren and I'm a freshman majoring in Political Science and hopefully on the track for Pre-Law. I love dogs, reading rom-coms, watching Harry Potter, and would love to backpack around Europe one day. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and then moved to New Jersey. I'm a huge advocate for mental health awareness and Woman Empowerment.
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