You know what? Don’t be my Valentine. I’ve considered it and decided I really don’t want one. I have no interest in a sudden burst of affection or obligated expression of devotion associated with the short term craze of a single day in the year. Don’t buy me a card because you feel it’s a necessary convention, or drive yourself mad trying to think up an elaborate gift. It’s not that I’d lack the gratitude for such things, but there’s something false about waiting to be a valentine to do it, something allocated by society that appears to make it easier to make excuses for not being attentive the rest of the year. So don’t be my Valentine. Why just be a Valentine when you can be so many more amazing things?
Instead, be my friend. Be a real, unwavering, friend in anyway you can. If you know I’m worried about doing something, call and ask how I am, and be proud of me if I can do it. Talk to me about your fears and let me be there for you. Pop over just because you were in the area and had some time to kill. Leave me silly pictures on Facebook and Whatsapp because you know making me laugh is easy and you wanted to share the funny. Take advantage of any crazy dares or challenges and use them to create marvelous in jokes. Arrange meet ups in families coffee places when you feel a little worn down by life and let me try to raise your spirits. When things get tough my side, do the same thing, but try to raise my spirits Offer to pay for a drink or a meal once in a while, just because you know things have been hard and you want ease the burden of living in any way you can, even if only financially. Be loyal and dedicated and do what you can when you can. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be part of my adventure. Come out of nowhere and into my world. Bring a thousand experiences and loves and joys; share your energy for the world with me. Encourage me to try crazy things, even when you know I’m a little scared. Revel in my enjoyments as well, as sedate or careful as they may be. Listen when I rave, as I will listen you you when you speak passionately about something you once did, or what you want to do. Call me up and announce we’re going to the woods… in the rain, and you know I’m the best person to do it with. Be quiet for a few minutes and suddenly say “remember when we-” and talk about how we walked in the woods in wet socks, with soggy hair, and we laughed the whole time. Store away in your mind, something you heard me say once about wanted to try something, and then, sometime later, surprise me by proclaiming that is the day we do it…. together. Try new things with me, things you didn’t know existed until we came upon them. Make “I will if you will” an unbroken promise of eating gross sounding or looking foods, weird sports and mad-cap ideas. Travel the world with me, and if circumstances like money prevent us, make the world we’re in as exciting as you can. Live my adventure with me. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be a decent human being. Reach out into the hearts of those around you and act with kindness and grace. Not just towards me, but to everyone you can. Don’t look for reasons to extend a helping hand, but do it because you believe the good of the world is partly your responsibility. When you see someone hurting, listen to them, or when someone looks overwhelmed by the situation their in, remind them how strong they can be. Don’t let anyone stand alone, ever. If you believe in something, take any opportunity to make it count. Fight prejudice and intolerance even when you’re not in the firing line; stick up for those who need your voice. Get it wrong. Lose your cool sometimes, say hurtful things you didn’t mean to, because that’s part of being human too. However, admit your errors, apologize, learn and accept. Treat angry or misguided people with consideration and sympathy. Feel loneliness and call me. Let me come get you. Let me be human with you. Let me cry with you when you hurt and be a rock when you feel unsteady. Let me tell you how strong you are even when you can’t feel it. Inspire me with how kind and giving you are to others, even when entrenched in your own pain and uncertainty. Know that no matter how hard it gets, as long as you keep trying, I’ve got your back, and extend the same offer when the situations are reversed. Understand when I get crazy and sad and lost, and even when it’s frustrating, be there to help me through it. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be on my team. Listen when I talk, debate the universe with me, with a mutual respect when our opinions differ. Keep an open mind about ideas I want to try and even when you know they’re a little far-fetched, and even when I fail, be proud of my efforts and tell me so. Be honest when you think I’ve gone too far. Don’t hide it because you want to spare my feelings; just sit me down and go through your reasons, and even if I get upset stick to your guns. If I try, and if you were right (which you probably will be), don’t say “I told you so”. Share in the failure with grace and encouragement. Know that I already learned the lesson the hard way, and I’ll listen to you better in the future. When someone goes too far, is overly harsh or judgmental towards me in your presence, tell them so. Don’t be pushy or violent or mean, but be firm and help stand up for me. Let me do the same for you. Take my side sometimes, even when you don’t have to. Be the person I go to for support and advice, when I don’t know what to do. Remind me that we stand in all fights together. If I falter take the helm, if you falter and somehow I am unable to see, ask me to take the helm. When we argue or disagree, don’t shout or walk away. Whoever is wrong, let’s sit down and talk, respect the other person’s feelings on the matter and never assign blame. Let’s come to a negotiation on all matters and never look back. One day at a time, let’s build a strong side which benefits us always as a team. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be my lover. Wrap your arms around me on cold nights, or when you find me crying over silly things that won’t matter in an hour. Cuddle me spontaneously; sneak up from behind, extend your arms for me to run into, shuffle closer and place and arm around me when I’m reading. Kiss me in many ways and many times. Place a gentle kiss on my head, or on my knee or my shoulder. Give me wild kisses in the middle of a thunderstorm, or after you return from a long trip and you just can’t help yourself. Kiss my lips tenderly for no other reason than you just wanted to. Take any opportunity to put your skin on mine. Brush your pinkie against my hand when leaning in for the salt at the table. Place a hand on my knee when we’re watching a stupid movie. Rub my shoulder, push my hair back behind my ears, carefully remove an eyelash from my cheek. Arrive home one day with a little gift, not because a certain day has arisen on the calender, but because you thought I needed a lift, or because you saw it and thought of me, or because you just wanted to. Hand me a daisy you pulled from the lawn on your way to the door. Read me a two line poem you wrote while on lunch at work. Make me a thing which doesn’t exist, because actually you were trying for an origami swan, but it went wrong and now it’s a “gibberwick”. Explain what a “gibberwick” is. Love me physically as a woman. Listen to my needs in that department and trust me enough to express yours. Always respect me and my body. Find the areas that move me into passion and enjoy them, and let me enjoy you. If I put up a physical boundary, respect it instantly. Understand their are always reasons for such things and even if I don’t tell you why it’s there, never cross it. Leave me notes on the bathroom mirror, or on the fridge, or on the page of a book I’m reading. Write random things only I’ll get, or riddles I have to contemplate, or just a musing about what you had for breakfast. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be my home. Be the place I come back to, the light at the end of a dark day, and let me be yours. Be the solid root of stability in an ever changing world, be loyal and close and yourself. Wherever we stand we stand together. Be the logic in my chaos and the sunlight through the clouds. Let me warm you on cold days and cheer you on bad ones; let me be the person you can call anytime for any trouble. Let’s watch each other’s back and protect one another. Be brave enough to be honest with me when I’m wrong, and trusting enough when I do the same for you. That’s what I want to be for you.
Be every one of these things and more; be everything you are, but don’t just be my valentine.
I don’t want a Valentine. I have no interest in a sudden burst of affection or obligated expression of devotion associated with the short term craze of a single day in the year. I seek a commitment and a partnership, and a love that weathers all.