Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Love, Anti-Valentines, and Friends For Life

I couldn't let my least favorite holiday go by without some comment, so on Valentine's Eve, here are some thoughts on this "holiday." Many of you are probably surprised that I don't like Valentine's Day. After all, I've said many times that only love will heal this planet and that the healing must begin inside us first.

I still say that. And I also say I don't believe Valentine's is a day of love. It is a day to get stressed out over love, to give it a financial value, to make one person happy and another one sad when you choose who gets the best valentine. Remember when we gave Valentines at school? There was always one or two of the really cute girls and guys who got the fancy, elaborate valentines. Their bags overflowed with unrequited love.

Meanwhile, the rest of us looked at our mass-produced bits of paper and said screw this, I'm going to hang out with my friends and practice unconditional love to fight against this injustice. And we did. And we grew up hating Valentine's Day, no matter how many cool, elaborate valentines we got from admirers, lovers, partners, husbands, wives, and all the mixture of love, sex and paying for it dearly clubs we belonged to.

I fell in with a bad crowd in high school. We protested against war. We became vegetarians. We listened to music that stirred our blood and bodies to create a sexual revolution that changed forever the roles between men and women in this country. We began to talk about and write about and sing about things that mattered to us like overpopulation, pollution,the strip-malling of our hometowns. And we redefined love to mean something that was genuine and not bought, felt and not enforced, and celebrated instead of feared.

During that time one of us created the first anti-valentine, a work of art on bits of paper and cardboard and even tin foil. We exchanged these little gifts of love with each other on Valentine's Day, no matter what the relationship or gender. We gave each other these gifts as a way to express that we loved each other, we appreciated each other, and that we understand a very basic concept: lovers come and go, but friendship is forever.

Each year since then many of us have continued to exchange these anti-valentines. And truth be told, one of the major reasons I became a Cafepress shopkeeper was because I fell in love with their anti-valentine designs. It was the one place I could go to see how others were reacting to the enforced day of love. I saw at once that not only was my little group far from unique, we also had many friends in the world who thought the same way we did.

This year I made this design. I bought it for myself and wear it a lot. It's a sentiment that always brings a smile to my face and it also pokes fun at the whole idea of dating, valentines, and the ridiculous idea that we should only express our love for each other one day of the year. Enjoy!

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

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