The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If there’s a prize for rotten judgment, I guess I’ve already won that. Worry notーI am not going to write out the entire song. I actually have some things to say. The month of February has arrived, and I find myself seeking the comfort of Disney films and romcoms to keep my emotions at bay. You will never catch me expressing them out loud. Don’t get me wrong, I am not actively pining over someone or in love, for that matter; but to some people, that could be a problem. How dare I not have somebody to stress over when I reach the Valentine’s Day aisle in my local Walgreens? How dare I say that I’m feeling quite happy with the idea of celebrating friendship on Valentine’s Day? The first half of this month is spent leading up to the 14th and that’s cute, but the level of scrutiny that single people are subjected to is unreal. Let’s get into it.
I used to think that the most stressful time of the year to be single was Thanksgiving, glorious amounts of food aside. You are expected to be on your best behavior as you mingle with family members that you haven’t seen in a year or even longer than that. They barely get a glimpse of you before they take the liberty to ask you personal questions and boom, you’re at a press junket with no way out. In that moment, everything you say can and will be used against you. The same thing happens when Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the panic is real when you have no one to gush over in a romantic way.
Cue family member #1: “You know, when I was your age, I was married and had 2 kids with my college sweetheart.” Thanks, but with this economy? Then, family member #2 proceeds to chime in on the other line, “Come on, there has to be someone! I saw you when you were in diapers, you can’t lie to me!” I have no recollection of when I was a Rugrat, but nice try! This happens all the time, but people feel less ashamed to ask when stores start stocking up with boxes of Ferrero Rocher and pink or red stuffed animals with heart eyes. Suddenly, everyone and their ancestors need to figure out what’s wrong with you in order to explain your single status. We not only have to beware of our family members, but also watch out for people in relationships who like to put in their (very much unsolicited) two cents.
I have made the mistake more than once to ask someone with a partner what their Valentine’s Day plans are. You’ve dug a hole too deep if you’ve ever been looked in the eyes while being told “don’t worry, you’ll find your match.” That right there makes you eligible for financial compensation. The thing is that no matter how you choose to reply, you’ve already been labeled as lonely for merely being polite. But if you have any form of protest, you can also be seen as ‘bitter.’ As Oprah would say, were you silent or were you silenced?
After a while, these comments begin to play in your head when you’re alone. They start as background noise; elevator music that chases you throughout the day. Before you know it, though, they’ve reached the top 40 on the charts and you are an avid listener. What if they were right to worry? What if something is wrong with you?
You see, these insecurities are natural when you grow up watching romcoms. You watch these fictional situations, where characters that you deeply relate to have a whirlwind romance, no matter how much they resist the idea. They comfort us, but they also create a sense of wonder where we question how our own romantic storyline would go. Will we ever be liked enough to have someone run through an airport hoping we don’t get on that plane? (Please get on it, dream job opportunities don’t get dropped into your lap every day). Will we ever turn thirty, flirty and thriving only to want to go back in time to ensure we marry our childhood best friend (I would understand if it’s Mark Ruffalo)? Will we ever have our own Mr. Darcy telling us, “You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you”? (Pride and Prejudice 2005 stans, I see you!)
I get it, we all want to live inside a Taylor Swift song, but there’s nothing wrong with what we have or who we are. Valentine’s Day has an effect on all of us. I currently have no plans to add a love interest into my storyline, but there’s something about the month of February that makes me second guess myself. It makes me think that there might be someone for everybody, except me.
But then, I realize that I’m wrong and my spiraling thoughts were triggered by the endless Valentine cards that read ‘you rock my world’ or ‘I lava you.’ It’s easy to be influenced by those that think you need pity or consolation. I won’t say it aloud but this is the time of the year where I mourn the romcoms that I’ve written in my head since I was little. It’s what I deserve, to have the space to remember that life doesn’t work out like a movie and that’s okay. We’re not meant to fit into a screenplay that’s already been done. That doesn’t mean it’s not comforting to be bitter about it.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to how you feel about anything and they are not entitled to assume for you either. Stew in your emotions for as long as you need to. Go on a rant of how Valentine’s Day is just capitalism and watch how the world turns on you. Turns out, it can actually be pretty fun sometimes to be the Grinch in Cupid’s parade. Scream to the sky because maybe you want a partner in theory, but not in practice; in fiction, but not in live action. Call your friends to rant and hear their voice over the phone as they laugh, because that’s love too. Nothing is wrong with you and love is already in your life in so many different ways. In the hugs you receive from your family, the friends that scold you for not drinking enough water, the book you can’t wait to read when you get homeーthe list goes on and on. You just have to remember to feel it and acknowledge that you deserve it.