This blog is part 1 of a 4-part series I’m calling My Rad Life: Life Changing Moments in Being Rad. It came out of me being very focused right now on the ways in which my life suddenly changed for the better. Very often through challenges that later proved themselves to be blessings. This first part is about my rocky relationship with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day and I did not start off on the right foot.
I was 6 years old and in the 1st grade. Within weeks, I had outed myself (without even knowing what that meant.) I had a weird name. I was easy to pick on and the entire school had decided to do just that. So when my first Valentine’s Day came around, it wasn’t a pretty thing. It was basically just a holiday that would repeat itself every year where kids would say in snide, jeering voices, “Will you be my Valentine?” and then run off and laugh.
Every year we’d receive that plain white bag that we were to decorate for the big day. We’d cut out pink and red hearts out of construction paper and then the teacher would place the bags on a counter or hang them on the wall for kids to place Valentine’s to the other kids in. My bag was always empty, except for the few kids who felt sorry for me or the kids whose parents insisted that they give everyone in class a Valentine. My mom was one of those parents by the way, because I would’ve not given the mean kids a card. But I had to so I did.
I also hated Valentine’s Day because I knew even then that I was gay. Every year people would have girlfriends or boyfriends to take to dances and the prom, but that was not an option for me. Valentine’s Day made me lonely and scared that I would always be lonely. Tough stuff for a kid and teenager to process.
On the other hand, my mother loved Valentine’s Day. She considered the second-best thing my father ever gave her (after her kids) was the name Valentine. And once I was out of school and off to college, I started to not mind the name or the holiday. Curiously, once I was in college, people thought I had the coolest name in the world.
Once my mother passed, I started the ritual of finding a place where I could go visit her. She’s buried in East Tennessee so it’s not very realistic for me to visit her there on a regularly basis. But I needed a place to go be with her on her birthday, Christmas, Mothers’ Day, and Valentine’s Day. I always bring pink roses with me. Lee and I don’t really celebrate the day much because his job requires that he has to work on that day about 99% of the time. But I do still have my mom to visit. I know that when I go into the store to buy pink roses people probably think I’m buying them for my spouse, but it’s always for her.
I’m also aware that a lot of people find Valentine’s Day to be very difficult. People who have lost love in one way or another, or are lonely, or are in relationships that make them feel more alone than if they were single. So I don’t focus on it too much in my work. In fact, the most poorly attended seminar I ever did for Hay House was at an “I Can Do It” that just happened to be on Valentine’s Day. Hay House thought it would be great if I could do an afternoon session on manifesting love in your life. They set up the room for around 400 people because that was how many came to my last “I Can Do It” presentation. Less than 100 people came to this one. And they didn’t seem to me to be a very happy group.
I once knew a guy who’s last name was Baker. Guess what he did for a living? Yup. He was a baker. I commented on the “coincidence” and replied that I had the perfect last name because I was so sweet and kind.
Like a lot of things that I hated about my life as a child, I now love my name. I love it because I think it suits me (and it looks great on book covers.) I also love it because curiously, it reminds me of my mom and not my dad. I’m not sure if he liked the name Valentine. It never occurred to me to ask. But my mom’s love of the name has become a part of who I am and how I see my name.
And also how I see Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of life changing experiences, one of the best things that ever happened to my business was re-meeting Muni Syed. He took my flailing social media game and turned it in to a home run! (See last week’s blog.) Now, I’m teaching a class with him on how you can up your game and launch your spiritual business to the next level. Check it out here!
Wishing all of you love today and always,
P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom!
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