Hoping for Red Roses?
I have been thinking a lot about Valentine’s Day. I think about it every year as soon as the Holiday rush settles down and I start seeing Valentine’s candy and cards at the grocery store.
It’s a stressful time for many women. Our culture puts much emphasis on the notion that you are only truly loved if you are recognized, affirmed and gifted with traditional tokens of romantic love on Valentine’s Day that the media works very hard to sell to us. You know what I am talking about: Valentines addressed “To the One I Love” complete with at least a dozen red roses (two dozen is now considered “standard”), heart shaped boxes of chocolates, scented candles, lingerie, perfume, candlelit dinners, gems or pearls, and romantic romps amidst satin sheets in luxury hotels.
And then there are the matching red sateen his-and-hers pajama sets. Sexy games complete with feathers and risque dice. Heart-shaped lockets. Diamond rings. Cute teddy bears holding watches and earrings, pink phones, pink ipods, and weekend getaways to Vegas. The list is long and wide.
Hmmm. Don’t get me wrong. I think all of these gifts are WONDERFUL and I would love to receive at least a few. But, as hard as the media might try to convince us that these are the gifts that should be purchased for us, and that these are the gifts we want, and despite the subtle and not-so-subtle hints women will offer up, or even the boldest of “What I Want for Valentine’s Day” lists placed on a kitchen counter, the reality is — for millions of reasons — MILLIONS and MILLIONS of women will not receive any recognition at all on this holiday designated for Love…
When I first launched the Pinwheel Girls, I sent a specially designed Pinwheel Girl Valentine to 100 women. The message was simple: “…I know you…you’re an original…” The card featured a joyously dancing Pinwheel Girl holding a heart out to the reader in the palm of her hand. The point, I hope, was clear. “Here it is,” she was saying. “I’m giving you your heart back in case you lost it, forgot about it, gave it away, or had it broken.”
The feedback was astonishing. Since when do you get thank you cards, notes and emails for sending someone a card? I did. I heard from MANY of the 100 women who said “Your Pinwheel Girl Valentine was the only Valentine I received this year…THANK YOU.”
“Here it is…I’m handing it back to you.”
But understanding that the Pinwheel Girl is really a metaphor for YOU, for Every Woman, she was really saying “you have always had your own Heart in your own hands…it’s always been there…and you will always be the keeper of your own Heart…not someone else…so what you thought was once lost or might have been unrecognized is really still available to you…and here it is…”
In case you forgot that, I’m posting her here again. She hanging out again on this Big Holiday of Love to remind you that you still have your Heart, it is there for you for your own taking, and the key to a great and not-so-empty Valentine’s Day is to recognize your very own Heart yourself.
Over the next few years I made a few more Pinwheel Girl Valentines. They are all about self-love; this is the best kind of love of all…not a selfish, self-centered kind of self-love, but a self-love that is about self-care, self-esteem, self-respect, and self-preservation. The Valentines bear a simple message, one that reminds us that without self-love we cannot truly love another, and therefore gifts of flowers, chocolates, cards, lingerie, and the like, eventually feel empty and simply “not enough.”
One image features the Pinwheel Girl holding not one but seven bright red hearts and tossing them into the air (the wind) above her head…seven hearts for seven stages of transformation. The image has an energy that is simple, calm yet exhilarating. The theme is “…Love is in the air…feel the breeze…”
She reminds us that Love is literally everywhere and it comes to us in many forms.
There is more to Love than just the romantic version stereotypically celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, in the wind that animates us and makes us who we are, it is everywhere, all around us, every day, but we must look for it, seek it out, and feel its breeze touching us, often at unexpected times from unexpected sources. If we do so, we will feel love and loved — whether or not we receive red roses, exquisite wine, candlelit dinners, or any of the other traditional Valentine’s gifts.
I know you
You’re an original
Love is in the air
Feel the breeze
Happy Valentine’s Day