Personal Stories

Happy Valentine’s Day from OK2BME, By Wash, Tyler and Alicia

 

Dear OK2BMERS,

 

At our youth group this week we made Valentine’s Day cards to celebrate our love, our rage, our friendships, our awkwardness, ourselves, and our community.

We wanted to share a couple of those magical valentines with you (see the pic at the end of the blog) and some thoughts from OK2BME’s practicum students Tyler and Alicia.

Awesome thoughts from Tyler:

For many people, Valentine’s Day is a day to show loved ones how much you care about them and the meaning others bring to your life. It may also be a day where you remember loved ones who have passed away or distant friends and family. Depending on how you spend the holiday, Valentine’s Day may bring some people feelings of happiness and love while others experience emotions of loneliness and despair. As a result, it is essential for people to recognize their self-worth and treat themselves with the same level of kindness and respect they show to the people around them. Self-compassion is a skill that takes a lifetime to learn and involves continual practice.

Although it may be difficult at times, self compassion has been found to increase motivation, boost happiness, enhance feelings of self-worth, foster resilience, and reduce mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

So this Valentine’s Day, after eating chocolate and watching your favourite romantic comedy, make sure to take some time to appreciate yourself and the qualities you bring to the world.

 

Awesome thoughts from Alicia:

For much of my life I have mostly ignored Valentine’s Day. It is easy to see it as a commodified holiday that often promotes narrow, heterocentric, and problematic views of love. However, today I find myself wondering what it would be like if, rather than throwing it away, we could transform it into something better?

What if we reclaimed Valentine’s Day for marginalized love?

What if this was a day for taking pride in the queer love that we were told we had to hide? Or what if, rather than big public displays of affection, we took the time to privately appreciate the little loves in life, the ones we don’t even need to express, or the great loves we keep quiet to keep ourselves safe? What if we celebrated love for our communities, and love for our chosen families?

Like Tyler, I’d like to celebrate the love we hold for ourselves. Popular culture often depicts self-love as selfish but caring for ourselves often gives us what we need to care for others. Moreover, you are a person who deserves love the same as everyone else.

I still think it’s totally valid to be critical of Valentine’s Day, and if you want to criticize or step away from it, I support you in doing that (or if you want to get to have the classic Valentine’s Day, I support that too). But today, if you’re feeling up to it, I’d like to invite you to imagine what it would be like to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a way that honours what you really value and maybe, even in some small way, see if you can make that day happen.

Happy Valentine’s Day from OK2BME!