Update 2/11: This post talks about Advice. What is meant by Advice is unsolicited advice, the kind of advice that people give without thinking. If I asked you for advice, even if it sounded like the Advice described below, I don’t consider it the same thing. If I asked for your advice, I wanted it, even if I disagreed. This post is not about any one person in particular, just a compilation of repeated phrases given by many people without having been asked for help. A few key people, notably my roommate Emily Beard and my friend Stephanie O’Connell, have been extremely helpful and I cherish everything they have said to me in regards to my break-up (and anything else). Before I rail on others and their bad Advice, I need to thank those whose advice has helped me tremendously.
Sometimes, when you want a listening ear, all you get is a talking mouth. You’re sitting on the floor, bawling your eyes out, barely able to breathe because of how hurt you feel inside, and all anyone can give you is Advice. I capitalize this for a reason, because Advice is the last thing you want. You just want someone to pick you up, give you a good long hug, and give you a chocolate bar. Yet somehow, though we all know what it’s like to get Advice, we also spend time as the friend giving said Advice. It’s okay, you live with it, you deal.
I can’t even count the number of times people have tried to give me Advice over the past couple of weeks. And then your friends start to get indignant on your behalf. They say things like, “He was never good enough for you anyway,” or “I don’t want to be friends with a person who’ll do something like that to you.” Thank you for your jealous dedication, but after a couple of days, all I want is for you to treat us both like human beings instead of me like Bambi’s mother and him like the villainous Man. I don’t want your Advice.
Breaking up before Valentine’s Day makes it even harder. I guess I should just be thankful that it wasn’t on Valentine’s Day. No matter how hard we try, there is no way to soften getting dumped like a sack of potatoes by somebody we love. He did this to you, Advice would say. You have every right to throw it back in his face now, especially on Valentine’s Day. Make him suffer. After all, they say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
But for me, what I get out of that statement is the only appropriate use of the word ‘hath’ in the modern English language. Yes, it is hard to be dumped, and yes, it is harder when it happens right before Valentine’s Day. It is especially hard when everything around you is pushing you to be in a relationship because if you’re not, then you’ve failed. But do I really want to focus on all of the negativity, as my Advice would suggest?
As the media pushes us to be in relationships for the spirit of the holiday, and as the Christian college culture pushes us to get a famous ‘ring by spring’ or ‘MRS degree,’ I can’t help but wonder if it is really a blessing to be alone on Valentine’s Day. There is no pressure to perform, no fear of not impressing your date. This year, as I have done every year, I will be focusing on Me for Valentine’s Day. I’m going to go to my classes, eat vanilla ice cream, and read Geoffrey Chaucer all night long. I’m going to take myself on a date, alone, downtown, and order something really fancy that I can’t pronounce. I’m going to read Jane Austen and Marie de France and enjoy every sappy minute of it. After all, if I can’t find a way to be happy alone, how will I ever find a way to be happy with someone in the future?
And I’m going to keep loving him. It’s not a clinging, romantic, “Dear God, please give him back!” kind of love. Just a somewhat distant, “You are a human being, and I see you quite often, and so I respect you,” sort of love. I figure, if God can actively choose to love people who spit on His face every day, how dare I do any less? Yes, it sucks to be dumped near Valentine’s Day. Yes, it sucks to be alone when it seems like everybody else you know is completely enamored by their partner, but sometimes it’s essential to be alone. Sometimes it’s essential to learn how to love yourself before you try to love another person. So yes, I’d rather be single this Valentine’s Day, and you can keep all your Advice to yourself.