by Alysha Blaze
Today I'm writing about something I still reflect on around this time of year as it's one of my most favorite projects I've ever worked on. Now, everybody knows about all the flowery things that are associated with Valentine's Day and the celebration of love, particularly romantic love although I know a few who take the time to celebrate all forms of love including familial love and friendships. We all know though since the media and commercialism tends to shove down our throats that this holiday is particularly directed towards couples. While this is a great day to take the time to appreciate your loved ones, it is particularly hard for those that are not in relationships at the time of the holiday. Whether it is by choice or not, Valentine's Day tends to feel like an unnecessary slap to the face for the single folk out there.
I have never been a major fan of Valentine's Day for this reason. Too many people feel terrible on this holiday as the pressure to be with someone on this specific day is immensely powerful and can make those who are not making the googly eyes at a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/husband/wife/alien but that has to remain a secret due to the authorities etc, that I often grunt and squint at February 14th each year regardless of my current relationship status. One year I got fed up and decided to do something about it. I couldn't fairy godmother the holiday pressure to evaporate or a prince/princess/alien charming out of thin air for anyone, but I could send a reminder the holiday doesn't have to be just about kissy faces and high expectations. I had a lot of online friends I connected with on Tumblr on the regular at the time, and decided to create a project that on what might be a hard day for a friend could give them something that makes their day that much better.
I called it The Love Letter Project. For two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, I started researching and writing. I studied the favorite character a Tumblr friend of mine blogged about and was attracted to (this part was very, very easy in the days of Tumblr as the fixation on gifs of a character was commonplace for a blog). A lot of the characters were ones I was familiar with, but others were from shows I had never watched before. I studied the lore of the show, the character personality, the mannerisms and speech patterns and reviewed direct lines from all characters to create a profile for each, whether I knew the character or not as accuracy was important to me. Then, within the word limits of Tumblr I wrote a personalized love letter to the recipient from the perspective of said character. Have you ever wanted a love letter from Sam Winchester? I got you covered. Some letters had mush if the character tended to be on the romantic side with their love interests. Others were blunt and rough around the edges but ultimately heartfelt. Do you have ANY idea how HARD it is to write a love letter from the perspective of Sherlock Holmes??!!
By Valentine's Day I had a metaphorical stack of love letters addressed to my Tumblr friends. On February 14th, I had no doubt that my single friends would be spending the day trying to hide from the outside world and would indeed dive into the depths of gifs, fandom, bad jokes and aesthetic distractions so I sent them out the morning of Valentine's Day. The feedback I received was plentiful and immediate. Everyone I sent a message to responded, and very positively. The pride I felt that I was able to make what may have been a great day or a terrible day just a little bit better at least was something I considered a victory. I screenshotted the thank you notes and still have them in my files, even though most of the blogs I knew as well as my own have become tumbleweed filled and relatively dormant. I like to reflect on them still and remember this little project I devoted much time into just to make sure everyone I could reach had a good aspect of their day.
Remember whether you are in a relationship or not, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be something you dive into. One year for the day I gathered some single ladies I knew and had a ladies night with snacks and bad humor and small gifts. I exchange small gifts with my Mom each year like a card or flower as this has been something we have done since I was a young kid showing appreciation. Remember when we gave everyone in our class a card on Valentine's Day for friendship and a general love of our fellow humans? Why did that change? Why should it? My mindset did not change once I met my own significant other and I still keep old traditions alive. So screw the idea its a day only for couples. FEEL THE LOVE GUYS, GALS, AND NONBINARY PALS! Aly out.
Alysha Blaze is a masked vigilante who spends her nights defending her city of Winnipeg, Manitoba from the evil villains Captain Misspell and Mr. Incorrect Grammar. With her side-kick Spell Check at her side, no misuse of words will escape justice. She spends her down time writing short stories and poetry. Some of this might not be true.