There was a time when I used to hate Valentine’s Day, and it took me years to come to terms with this day as a beautiful occasion to celebrate love in all its forms – and especially between two people.
My very first Valentine’s date was a total disaster – at the tender age of 16, I was in love with a boy living down the street.
Make up by Phoinatosha
He was my first love. And on this Valentine’s Day he had invited me for a soda and ice cream at 4 pm at a small cafe where young people used to meet regularly. I was excited to finally be going to my very first valentines date. I spent so much time getting myself ready and went there feeling beautiful and full of anticipation. I waited and waited and waited, until I finally realized that I had been dumped, paid for my Fanta with my own small money and walked home – heartbroken and inconsolable.
I knew that this was not the way it was supposed to be, but for the next several years I held on to this pain that turned into anger because I really didn’t have anybody who would offer me the caring company and comfort of a Valentine’s Day or evening together. And having spent that rather special day alone as a single woman prompted me to think very seriously about what it means to celebrate love on only one specific day of the year because love as we know it is an all-encompassing feeling, which makes every day of our lives a true blessing.
More than a decade later and many more beautiful valentines dates after, I have come to love and appreciate this day because, when all is said and done, I am a romantic at heart. In fact my dream of a perfect Valentine’s evening would be with my significant other in a truly romantic and luxurious setting at a beautiful restaurant like the The Wet Lounge and Grill at the Royal Orchid Hotel in Nairobi, where these images were shot. I am talking about a 9 course exquisite candle lit dinner with beautiful background music, toasting to each other’s continued love and happiness over a few glasses of bubbly.
My thoughts today are however with those many single women (and men for that matter) who are approaching this day with mixed feelings or even feelings of sadness and denial, because they feel that love has passed their door without knocking. But the best message I could imagine Valentine’s Day bringing each and every one of us is the fact that love is all around us, just waiting to be embraced. And the perfect place to look for love is in your own heart. Tell an old relative you haven’t been in touch with for months how much you have loved your time together over the years, smile to the person you pass at uni or in the office, and I bet you will see their eyes light up in a big smile. One of the most beautiful things about love is that it always bounces back.
If you are in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate the gifts in all their very different forms, which your partner has brought into your life. It’s the day when in spite of the little dents in your relationship, the regrets over this and that in your partner’s behavior, your love is given the opportunity to shine. Celebrating the love you and your spouse/partner share is a wonderful thing—relationships are nourished and emotional bonds are fed and renewed. Couples need this – we all need this.
Happy Valentine’s Day !