Monday, February 15, 2010

Anti-Valentine's Day 2010

What is Valentine's Day anyways? Upon investigation, I couldn't really find any reason for why we celebrate it the way we do. There were several saints named Valentine who were martyred, but none of them did anything particularly romantic before they were killed...there was no exchanging of chocolates, just chopping off heads. One source said that Chaucer is responsible for turning it into a day for lovers, which, as a Chaucer scholar, I find terribly ironic given the crude nature of "love" that is depicted in Chaucer's writing. Almost all of Chaucer's stories about love were very tongue in cheek; I wonder which one in particular someone couldn't read between the lines of- the result of which is Valentine's Day as we know it.

Anyways, despite the cynical opening of this blog post, I actually like Valentine's Day. Not because my doorstep is always littered with flowers from love-lorn boys, mind you, but rather just the opposite. The only person to send me a Valentine's Day card for as long as I can remember has been my mom. The only Valentine's day I have ever celebrated as part of a couple was four years ago, when a boyfriend cooked me dinner (the one and ONLY time he ever cooked during our entire relationship), and I hope to God he does not read this, but it was a meal that only made me sure that our relationship was doomed. If he knew me at all (we had been dating for almost a year at this point), he would have realized that, health conscious as I am, anything wrapped in bacon and covered in cream sauce would not be my dream make matters worse he got a bottle of white wine to go with it and at that point in my life I only drank red. We were also in an awkward breaking up / getting back together phase, so, needles to say, the whole thing was just awkward. I look back on it and cringe.

The following year, however, I started a holiday with some single friends which we not-creatively dubbed "Anti-Valentine's Day." This day simply included going out to eat and drinking copiously, but more importantly, it included enjoying being single. Sitting in the restaurant, looking around at all the couples struggling to make conversation over dinner (to be fair not all couples looked that bored), while we laughed, said inappropriate but true things, and had a wonderful time.

Now, several years later, I'm still celebrating Anti-Valentines Day with the same friends. We're all still single, except for my brother and his girlfriend who prefer to not celebrate the holiday traditionally so they spend it with us instead.

Apparently though, I'm supposed to be sad over the fact that I didn't have a date(again) for the big day. My mom told me on Valentine's Day morning that "it's time to find a companion." Yikes; "companion?" Sounds more like a death sentence. The idea of finding someone who you want to be with all the time, who fulfills your every desire, who completes you, in a way, sounds great. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-relationship, I just don't see why we NEED to be in one. Why is that the be-all-end-all for human life? Isn't it enough to be happy and surrounded by people who love you and who you love back? There is a time and a place for soul-mating, but in my opinion that should happen much later in life. At this point in time I think that we (we meaning people in my age group) should be meeting and getting to know ourselves- wholly and completely- before we even try and do the same with another person. If you don't really know yourself, know what you want out of life, and have a sense of where you are going then you're just asking for disaster by bringing someone else into your open ended life. Ultimately you'll start making choices based on them, and keeping them in your life, instead of what is best for you. Maybe this makes me sound selfish, and maybe I'm just jaded and lonely, but this is always what has made more sense to me. Especially when I see all these so-called relationships between my peers that are just shrouded in fighting and crying and somewhat pointless drama. It's the result of immaturity and indecision.

I'll get down from my single soapbox now, especially as this was meant to be a short post dedicated to a different thought. What I really meant to say was that I actually like Valentine's Day, because for the past few years I have felt surrounded by love, just not the romantic kind. I'll take cards from my mother and dinner with good friends over awkward meals with boyfriends any day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Too much to laugh about

Some days I really hate my job. Some days I come so close to exploding because of something a thirteen year old does or says that it's a wonder I'm still in one peice. Some days I want to scream and cry and walk out the door of my classroom and never, ever come back.

But then there also days when I can't stop smiling; when one of my students does something so precious that I am overwhelmed with love for him or her. Overwhelmed to the point where I could almost cry- overwhelmed by how beautiful and wonderful they can be. And sometimes they are just sooo funny. Here's an example of one of those wonderful things:

(Background: I had four Wash U med students come into my classroom and bring real human hearts to show my students when we were studying the circulatory system. Their homework that night was to write a paragraph about the experience in general / what they learned. The following is what I received from one of my students.)

"I learned that the heart has like a door that open and close for something. Also I learned that the left lung is bigger because the side that the heart is on (Right side), the left side moves the blood better into the side. Your heart beats like 90 times a minutes. It makes the sound Luv-Dub. It was kinda nasty to see that heart. It smell nasty."