Opinion: Valentine’s Day is not the solution

Hannah Libby | Staff Writer

I was a sophomore.

I remember waking up on Valentine’s Day morning. It was a brisk overcast day but I was naively hopeful, allowing my young heart to yet again defeat my head in the matter of love, yet again.

I was hoping for the works: maybe a bouquet of flowers, dinner on the town, a handwritten note — I wanted it all. But maybe the weather should’ve been an omen.

I had been dating the same guy for quite a while at that point, and things were looking bleak. Like most relationships, things started off blissfully romantic and joyful but it was only a matter of time before the situation started to drastically decline.

He became increasingly controlling about who I hung out with, what I wore, what I liked to do. His hateful words were so penetrating that my heart echoed soreness after every tattered part of me was repeatedly attacked. And his attack on my vulnerabilities only widened the gaping wounds from his verbiage.

My days began to feel like a tug of war battle. One second he was berating me to nothing — the next he loved me like I was the only one that mattered. Every day I woke up and attempted to numb myself for whatever fight might occur.

You may be asking yourself, why would you stay with someone who treated you like this?

All I can say is that manipulation in abusive relationships is so incredibly complicated.

I had never been in a relationship and certainly never seen a healthy one modeled to me. All I had ever known of love was my parents impending divorce and a marriage built on its own grotesque
ruins.

I believed that was how love worked. I thought my heart was meant to be at war with my head. I thought he would ruin me if I even tried to get out. I felt trapped in this dark room full of whiplash with so many exits –each full of their untold horrors — and each pulling me in different directions.

So that morning I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to be embraced, I wanted to be swept off my feet by the boy that I thought was my forever.

And I was.

That whole day was like a fairy tale romance. And I thought maybe this was the start of my
happy story.

But on February 15th, it all went away. My fairytale fix was gone. I suddenly realized as I sat on the cold tile floor of my shower, whimpering alone in the water that had long turned cold, how bizarre it was to have a holiday about love — about dating, cards, gifts, romance, and saying thank you. And how bizarre it was to do a total 180 the next day.

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, really I don’t. I just want people (single or taken) to realize that you are worthy of that amount of love and kindness every day. I want people to know if you ever feel like you’re trapped, there are so many ways to get help. And to recognize that if it’s a healthy situation — maybe Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be so important.

Because if February 15th makes you feel empty, maybe you should pick yourself for Valentine’s
Day this year.

hlibby.chronicle@gmail.com