Saturday, February 16, 2013

Occupy Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day marked 8 out of the last 10 years that I have spent the holiday working at a flower shop. What started as a few days of seasonal help blossomed into a decade of part- and full-time work, driving deliveries, bookkeeping, and learning to design floral arrangements. Even though the flower shop is in Bellingham and I live in Seattle, I can't stop myself from returning for the annual tradition of floral craziness.
(It's also a great excuse to visit old friends and try new restaurants that may have opened recently. I met up with a buddy and had a fantastic bowl of noodles in a konbu-bonito broth the new Dashi Noodle Bar. Besides being able to pick your meat, noodle type, and broth, they have an array of house-made condiments and accouterments for your bowl- kimchi, pickled radish, cilantro, soy water chestnuts, gingered bamboo shoots, etc. Then for lunch I had a real treat of getting to try the recently-opened Ciao Thyme's On.The.Side lunch-time cafe. It was a lovely respite in the middle of a busy day- pulled pork sandwich with spicy mayo, and Tunisian chicken salad with carrot-apple slaw, coriander vinaigrette, and house-made paneer cheese. Soooo good.)
So for most of my adult life, Valentine's Day has been characterized by creative work, good food, long hours, and spending time with dynamic, artistic women. Sure, there has been romance too- casual dates, boyfriends, singleness, dancing, circus shows, champagne picnics, burlesque. But in a way, the romantic side of the holiday seems an afterthought to the flowers. 
While I feel fairly neutral about the holiday, writer Anne Lamott is a little more opinionated. This piece was a Facebook status of hers last week, though I'm not sure if it was originally written for something else. Regardless, I love the sentiment and the reminder of radical self-love for any day of the year.

"We are all so pumped about Valentine's Day. You could cut the excitement around here with a knife.

My first plan was to celebrate by giving the kitty a flea dip, and overeating, but I think I've come up with a better idea.

Now, most of all us have some wonderful Valentine's Days over the years; or at least days that were not SO excruciating that we wanted to die. Which is at least a start. For instance, I had a wonderful man for seven years, who made me the most incredible little cards every year, but because he did not believe in climate science, or that there was any real difference between McCain and Obama, there were tiny tensions off and on the rest of the time.

I would estimate that approximately 17% of people enjoy Valentine's Day. Mostly, women will be given boxes of chocolates that they don't want and can't resist, and will be really mad at themselves for inhaling. Many people will be filled with resentment, anxiety, and guilt at having forgotten, or having shown up late, or having accidentally been having affairs with other people. Many people will feel a sheet-metal sense of loneliness and rejection. They will be comparing their insides with other people's outsides, especially those happy valentines actors in advertisements and commercials.

Most of the day, except for the lucky few, will be a nightmare.

So let's start an Occupy Valentine's Day movement.

Let's begin with the premise that another word for Valentine's Day is Thursday. And on Thursday, as an act of radical self-care, we will celebrate the miracle that a few people love us SO much, that we can go one, and bear up, no matter what; that even though they know the darkest, most human and intimate and disgusting stuff about us, they still love us. In fact, they love us more and more through the years. This is so wild, and is really my only hope. It is what salvation looks like. A handful of friends is the reason my faith in God is so deep. Because they ARE love; they (along with the dogs) are my most obvious connection to divine love in this joint, the looks of love on their faces.

Let's celebrate that all you need is love; and that God is Love and love is God; that Love will heal ALL, although unfortunately, maybe not on our time-- ie by Wednesday, right after lunch. But it will. When all is said and done, Love is sovereign on this earth. So let's go crazy with love on Thursday. If we want to be filled with loving feelings, all it takes is to do a bunch of loving things for others and ourselves. That's all it takes! You take the action, and the insight will follow-- that all you need is love. Crazy. We don't need to buy or be giving a single thing, and we don't need to eat anything we don't really want. We'll just give each other secret love gestures all day. Okay? You in?" (-Anne Lamott)

1 comment:

Katherine Jenkins said...

Love the Anne Lamott quote and how cool to work in a flower shop...looks creative and fun!