Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dateless in Manila

This photo taken by endless beauty

Valentine's Day is a day that evokes a lot of strong and conflicting emotions in people, often an off-shoot of their romantic circumstances on February 14.

I'm not going to lie to you. I have, for most of my life, fallen under the "Kill Valentine's Day" category.

For those like me who are unequivocally unattached, without even an "it's complicated" to add to our Facebook profiles, this celebration of hearts, chocolates, flowers, and happy pairs playing kissy face was the same as having our faces rubbed in our aloneness. Valentine's Day is a nightmare for a young girl going through adolescence and young adulthood feeling as wanted as a cast-off rag, completely surrounded by friends who are all sought-after belles of the ball. All this love stuff was happening to everyone else but me, and V-day was a bitter reminder of my status as a social failure.

Many tears, self-recriminations, and much growing up later, after several years of indulging in an annual V-day rage-and-rant funk, I am able to face Valentine's Day with a certain degree of Zen.

No, my circumstances haven't changed. It's one day to Valentine's Day, and I am still dateless in Manila. Again. For the nth time in my thirty years of existence. But while I have yet to get to a point where I can shrug off being single on V-day without a lingering twinge, I'm learning to make peace with it in my own way. With a healthy dose of humor and an even heftier dose of denial.

But, really, there are up-sides to being single and dateless on Valentine's Day. Among them:

1. Since I don't have to spend on a V-Day gift for anyone, I can buy that pair of shoes I've been drooling over for a while.

2. I am not obliged to drive through the crazy, hideous Valentine's Day evening traffic.

3. I can buy myself that sinful box of Belgian chocolates at Valentine promo price and not have to share it with anyone unless I want to

I've come to realize that being resentful of this over-commercialized day devoted to coupledom and romance is a waste of time and energy. Besides that, I'm astonished to find that I've finally begun believing that my single state is not a reflection of my worth as a person - not just as a fact in my head, but in my heart where it really counts.

My being single simply is. Once I fully embrace that reality, I can finally stop taking each Valentine's Day celebration as a personal insult and view it as it is - just another February day. I haven't reached that point just yet, but I am getting there.

So, even if I am dateless in Manila, life goes on. Another V-day will come and go. And while the cynic in me doesn't see how things can possibly ever be any different, the closet romantic continues to hold on to that tiny hope that maybe... just maybe next year it will.

After all, life is all about possibilities.

* * * *

A little something I wanted to share to my fellow singletons:
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning,

And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts,

And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your eyes open and your head held high.
With the grace of a woman,

Not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today,

Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans.

So plant your own garden,
And decorate your own soul,

And stop waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure--

That you really are strong, and you really do have worth.

Author Unknown


Lincoln said...

That's a very healthy attitude to have. :-) Maybe I'll get to that point as well, in spite of myself. ;)

dr_clairebear said...

@linc: i never thought i would, but look where i am now! :) have a great day!

Joey said...

Although I'm married already, hubby and I were never big on Valentine's Day. Although for me, that may be because I was boyfriendless for the first 28 years of my life. :) We think it's way too commercialized. Our date for today consists of watching DVDs after the baby sleeps.

Don't know how I got here, but I'm glad I did. I'm an ophthalmologist married to another ophthalmologist. We met when I was a senior resident and he was first year resident.

Manggy said...

"And you learn that you really can endure--
That you really are strong, and you really do have worth."

Thanks, Ma'am, that does make me feel better :) -- not that I was feeling that bad in the first place, he he ;)

dr_clairebear said...

@joey: i'm so glad you found my blog, too! hope you enjoyed your visit. i am also glad you were able to find your happy ending. :)

@manggy: it's a great line! :)