Valentine’s Day, as a general rule, is pretty black and white. You love it or you hate it. For a solid 18 years, I hated it. Who wants to go to school and pass around cards and worry about getting any back?
My roommate’s been in a relationship for five years. Friday morning, she reveled in her ability to spend so much money at Target on red and pink cards, candy, and gourmet chocolate. And maybe a year ago, I might’ve nodded my head and then closed my bedroom door, drowning out the love with some Taylor Swift lyrics.
I’ve only ever celebrated one Valentine’s Day. Complete with a path of rose petals embarrassingly lining my dorm hallway, a dark room lit only by heart-shaped candles, and the sounds of sappy love music in the background.
But this year, for some reason, it’s different. Some of my best friends are in long-term committed relationships. And I’m not.
My emotional well-being today is supposed to be determined by my relationship status on Facebook. And I’m not okay with that. No one should be.
Six months ago, I fell in love. With the Internet. I fell in love with the notion that you don’t have to be ten feet away from someone to know them and interact with them and love them. The notion that you don’t ever have to stand next to them to know that they are a part of your life and they have fundamentally changed you.
In the last 81 days, I have written 27 letters to 53 people. Most of them letters of love. Thank you notes sent to addresses in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey. Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina. Indiana, Wisconsin and Canada.
I am not a love letter champ, though. I am leaving that title for my dear friend Hannah, who wrote 250 love letters this fall and sent them out to people.
I am, however, a product of the love that stems from spreading your heart out on a piece of paper, splattering the words like flecks of paint for the world to take in and digest like a Pollock painting. I cannot describe to you how it feels to meet so many wonderful people in half a year and not feel upset that they’re not next door.
That’s what’s made Valentine’s Day a bearable concept. Knowing that out there, maybe a thousand miles away, someone knows my heart. They know it and they read it every week on a computer screen. The Internet has, quite literally, saved my life.
My hope is that all of you in this vast cyber world find a quick message of love in your e-mail inbox or your text message inbox. I hope that those of you who pray each day for a letter, a reminder that you are a soul who has affected this world, receive that letter today in some form or another. Typed or written. Spoken or recorded.
And if you’re searching for a Valentine, my heart’s open.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.