(This is also cross-posted on the Respectfully Connected blog HERE.)
In the US, Valentine’s Day is one of the most successful commercial endeavors of the year. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day the pressure gradually increases until the big day arrives. Jewelry, roses, chocolate, and stuffed animals are sold in seemingly endless quantities. Dinner reservations book up quickly as do romantic get-aways. Many a marriage proposal is made on Valentine’s Day, and it is also a popular date for weddings and vow renewals As all of the commercials, movies, and TV programs that air Valentine’s Day specials will tell you, love is in the air – and if you’re anybody than obviously you will be spending the evening in heels and a black dress out at a fancy venue with your significant other.
Uh…nope. Not I.
I have never been “big” on Valentine’s Day. I recognize that it is a big day (and a big deal) for many. But it isn’t to me, and it hasn’t been for a long time. Valentine’s often looks very different in neurodivergent families than it does in neurotypical families. And that’s okay. Or at least, it should be okay.
My Valentine’s Day is not going to look very different than my other days. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I don’t really see the “point” of Valentine’s Day. I know its origins and everything, but I don’t really “get” its relevance. It seems like a duplication of my anniversary. While I’m more than happy to accept a gift for Valentine’s 😉 I still don’t understand the fuss, and I definitely don’t like the heavy focus on materialism nor the price gouging that occurs.
- I don’t like crowds of people and Valentine’s Day tends to draw large crowds. Everyone (it seems) has chosen to go out for a night on the town, which means lines, traffic, waiting, and over-stimulation. My favorite ethnic restaurants, ordinarily half-empty during off-peak times, become transformed into hot-spots full of so many people that I feel practically claustrophobic. No thanks.
- Since nearly “everyone” feels the need to celebrate this day of love, securing a suitable babysitter is extremely difficult. I am very protective over my children and very particular about who I will allow to watch them. Because of their differences, children like mine are at risk for being harmed and/or abused, or at the very least misunderstood, and I can’t risk just letting a random babysitter or child care provider look after them.
- Traditional/common Valentine’s Day activities tend to cater more to those who meet the “status quo’ of a “typical” couple: white, middle class, neurotypical, cisgender, heterosexual, etc. And while the activities themselves aren’t “bad” things, they aren’t what I personally would like to spend a lot of time and money doing.