Sara Jean

Sara Jean

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How I Changed My Mind About Valentine's Day

The memory is still so vivid in my mind. It's crazy how we grasp onto certain things that sting and let them evolve into a wound that grows with time. I was literally just a fifth grader. It was Valentine's Day. A day every boy-crazy girl dreams about because it could be the day you get that special little pocket-sized card from the classmate three desks down that you've been swooning over since summer ended. Only on this day, the Valentine didn't end up on my desk, but on the desk of my best friend. "You're Babe-Erham Lincoln!" it said in sprawling marker. And she blushed and bragged for the rest of the year about her new claim to fame. My heart, on the other hand, shattered. And for the first time I felt that feeling that is all too familiar to me now - unworthiness.

In seventh grade we had a fundraiser where you could buy your friends a chocolate sucker with a little note and have it delivered to their desk on Valentine's Day. And my little heart, while still wounded from two years prior, held out hope because this year I had a BOYFRIEND. Or whatever you call a boy in seventh grade who holds your hand at recess. I waited with anticipation as the teacher's aid came around with the basket full of goodies...and ultimately walked right past me. Instead, the boy met me in the hallway after class to tell me he had a new girlfriend. And that feeling from fifth grade returned. Only this time with more awareness and more pain.

I don't really remember many Valentine's Days after that...just the time I hid in my dorm room after skipping all my classes with the door locked avoiding the parade of Mylar Balloons and bouquets of flowers and teddy bears invading my college sidewalks and hallways. A tradition that eventually brought me comfort year after year. I'd avoid it. If I didn't see it, then it wouldn't hurt so much. This feeling. This being alone.

Skip forward twenty years. Two divorces later. Still no golden memories of this dreaded holiday. I'm sure I had a date or two at some point, but like that teenager hiding in her dorm room, I've avoided them until they faded into nothing. Memories of hope that eventually turned into pain. Love that resulted in heartbreak. A sting in a wound that was created when I was just a little girl.

But today, at 40 years old, I don't dread February 14th. Because in my lifetime I've been so blessed to have loved a hundred different ways and experienced a hundred different stories on love. Each story ending so another could begin. Each story teaching me that I AM WORTHY. Worthy of more than what the previous chapter had to offer. And in the absence of this love I had been seeking, I found something more. An appreciation for the parents who raised me, still together after all of these years. A love that kept my heart glued together when I was sure it would fall to pieces time and time again. An appreciation for the small circle of friends that have held me up during my darkest times and continue to check in even from thousands of miles away, always cheering me on, always making me feel WORTHY. An appreciation for the kitty who blessed my life and filled it with love for over 20 years before becoming an angel to watch over me when the days become too painful. An appreciation for the pup who shows me true loyalty and that something could, indeed, love me more than it could love itself.

Most importantly though, I've found a love for MYSELF. The woman who has fallen down a million times but continues to rise. Who has glued back the shattered parts of her heart with gold and the beautiful mosaic that she's created. Now I look in the mirror and I see that little fifth grade girl and I LOVE her. I show her the love that she was lacking to find within herself so many years ago. I'm gentle with her. I let her cry. I let her be exactly who she is without hesitation that it's not good enough. Because she IS WORTHY. And I'm never going to let a holiday meant to celebrate LOVE allow her to feel loveless again.


And below, a clip of my dog and my love for added cheese. Today, I hope you celebrate YOU.

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