If you’re still reading this post after that uplifting title, I give you props. I originally wrote most of this piece last year on tumblr (which is the hottest spot for dumping all your emotions on the internet), but would love to share it again with a little more, as my “readership” has changed drastically in the past year. Also, I am currently hopped up on all the chocolate that I melted and didn’t manage to ooze onto my strawberries, so what better way to spread this sugar high than an emotional post?
Ok, time for the feelings.
Once, when I was in fourth grade, I went to a small Quaker school in Delaware, in a class with about 14 other kids. They were all just 9-10 year old students, like myself, just looking for love in this crazy mixed up elementary school of ours (not really… but you get the idea).
It was Valentine’s day, 1996, and being the overzealous, overachieving, and over-emotional girl that I
was am, I didn’t skimp on Valentines. I didn’t just mention to mom that I liked Power Rangers and expect her to pick up a few of these:
Nope. I had a very mature vocabulary and a fantastic grasp of the notion of rhyming, so I decided I needed to go balls deep (though, at 9, I didn’t know that term, I think the concept is timeless.)
I bought real, grown-up sized cards and wrote individual couplets for each of my classmates.
On the scale of one to ten,
you reach the top, again and again!
Roses are red, the ocean is blue,
I’m lucky to have a friend like you!
You get the idea. No big deal, right, there were only 14 of them? I’m fairly certain they had little lions on the front of the card, and I worked really hard to make sure that my 9 year old handwriting looked its best… In the morning, I was so excited to hand them out, and I made sure to put one in every other students’ box.
The saddest moment in the history of my personal Valentine’s Days is when I saw several of those cards, cards that I’d painstakingly planned, written out, sealed, and labeled, crumbled in the trashcan. I always complain that I don’t use the word crestfallen enough. Here’s a primo opportunity to use it: I looked crestfallen. Looking back, a shot of those cards would’ve made perfect instagram fodder.
Maybe they tossed them because I didn’t tack on some giant piece of candy (it was a fairly wealthy school district, the kind where full-size Kit Kat bars might show up on the mandatory classroom Valentines), or perhaps I just wasn’t very cool with the other kids. That was actually more likely the case, as I found out later that I never totally fit in there. Whatever the reason, it broke my tiny little fourth grade heart into a million pieces.
Imagine the dust created from crushing up an entire box of conversation hearts…
Well, it’s 15 years later, and I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day.
Luckily my negative emotions towards Valentine’s day have been replaced, instead, with a love of my friends (who are basically family), a love of my main squeeze, Ryan, and a love of my family (a special shout out to my brother, Somers, who turns 23 today!!)
Just keep in mind that the things you do in your life (not even necessarily on Vday, try EVERY day) resonate in people’s minds, no matter how trivial they seem at the time. We’re not 9 years old anymore, but the human heart never really gets all that tough (in my experience).
Here’s my challenge to you: Try to do something today that someone will remember 15 years from now for how GREAT it made them feel!
And if any skinny little blonde girls stare up at you optimistically, holding out some sort of glitter encrusted construction paper with hope in their eyes and a big, dopey grin on their face, take that Valentine and put it somewhere she can see it. Trust me, it’ll mean the world to her.