Valentine’s day, to me, comes with an obligatory roll of the eyes and recollections of many February 14th’s spent single and not willing to mingle.
A ‘Hallmark’ holiday for over a century, with somewhat dubious origins (possibly a Priest, Valentine of Terni, who agreed to marry couples in Ancient Rome despite a ban on Marriage for young Men required by Emperor Claudius to focus on Battlefield endeavors instead, or the ancient festival of ‘Lupercalia’, where naked men clouted women about the head with a dead goat – yes really – to facilitate female fertility), it can cause anxiety for the single and the not-single alike for a multitude of reasons (don’t show your love enough, and you’re unfeeling, too much and you’re over-the-top / creepy).
So what to do. How to avoid this thorny ‘celebration’ when every store window, every social media post at this time bombards you with what the perfect relationship is supposed to look like / feel like?
May we suggest instead, ‘Galentines Day’.
Originally dreamt up by Hollywood screenwriters on an episode of acclaimed ‘dramedy’ ‘Parks & Recreation’, in which the character Leslie throws a pre-valentine’s party for her female friends, both single and attached.
The idea of Galentines Day as an antidote to Valentine’s Day resonated.
Held on February 13th, it celebrates female friendship in all its glorious forms. No gifts, cards or sickly sentiment needed, it simply reminds us to take a moment to be thankful for the friendships in our lives which have helped shape us, encourage us, and make us laugh.
No hard sell, no pressure, and no suggestion that this is the one and only day a year when we can publicly show our love and appreciation for those friendships dearest to us.
It also serves as a reminder that our first, and most loving relationship should be with ourselves.
Too often we are our own worst critic, our own toughest boss, our own private ‘mean girl’, when we should be our own greatest cheerleader.
We should be recognizing that, whatever happened before, we made it through another year, and agree to own the months to come, approaching all of life’s highs and lows with positivity and self-care, front and center, remembering that it is hard to take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves.
In the words of the glorious @morganharpernichols, “Make room for your friends and the stories they need to tell, while knowing you are worthy of being seen and heard as well’.
And so we wish you a very happy Galentines day, today, and on every day this year.