No, seriously. I wandered my house that whole week like a zombie, wallowing in my loneliness and drowning in thoughts of the tragic life of celibacy I was bound to lead. It was bad.
I mean it was hard to feel good about myself when that whole week all anyone would talk about was flowers and chocolates and dates and love and everything I didn’t have and wanted so badly. The student council was selling roses at lunch, you could send love grams to people in your classes, and of course there was the valentine’s dance that I didn’t get asked to. What was a girl to do?
I remember coming home from school on the 14th literally in tears. I’m sure it had something to do with my teenage hormones, but I really was devastated. For some reason, that day had been so hard for me. And to top it all off, there was a gigantic zit forming right in the middle of my forehead. The universe was conspiring against me; I was sure of it.
Then something happened that I will never forget. I went up to my room, planning to flop on my bed and drown myself in all of the chocolate that I didn’t have. But when I got up the stairs, I saw a vase of roses with a note sitting on my nightstand. Confused, I unfolded the note.
“You are beautiful, Whitney Bug.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
You can imagine what happened next. After I had thoroughly soaked my pillow with tears, I had an important realization that I have carried with me ever since. Love is about so much more than what you see in the chick flicks. In fact, I’m pretty sure that whole crazy whirlwind of steamy romance thing doesn’t even exist. Real love is found in the relationships with the people around you that matter the most, including parents, best friends, siblings, and any combination of the above. That’s what it’s all about, and it is so much more important than any mushy, commercial holiday could ever capture.
I wish I could go back and tell all of this to my mid-teenage self, but that time travel thing is still a work in progress. In the meantime, I’m sharing this wisdom with all of you, in the hopes that it will save someone from the unnecessary heartbreak and drama I was so wrapped up in. This is such an important lesson; shout out to Papa Bear for teaching it to me in a big way.
So this weekend, if you do have a Valentine: congrats, you’re doing better than a lot of us. But for those of you who don’t: don’t be discouraged. In fact, there isn’t even kind of a reason to be sad because there are so many people and things in your life to love. Life is beautiful, and so are the people around you. You’ll find someone someday, but in the meantime, love the people and life you have been given. And please love yourself too. Just spread the love—heaven knows the world needs more of it.
Whitney Eversole is a college freshman at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Whitney was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Utah for 2015. Learn more about Whitney here!