Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and all I can say is, "For the love of God, this shit again?"
It's not that I'm the Grinch of Valentine's Day. I don't hate love or romance or anything like that. On the contrary, I'm a sappy, hopeless romantic that tears up at every romantic comedy. I love giving and getting gifts from my partners, and I'm damn good at all this romance stuff. When I was 16, I asked my first partner out on Valentine's Day. I played her a song I wrote on my guitar and asked her to "be official." Yeah, I'm that guy.
The older I get, the less appealing Valentine's Day becomes, regardless of whether I'm single or not. Like many people, the consumerism of the holiday bothers me. It's not just the commodification of love that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I don't like high-pressure romance and fun. Can any experience live up to the expectations of a holiday dedicated to over the top romantic gestures?
Since coming out as bi, I've found myself rejecting Valentine's Day even more. There's nothing inherent about being bi that affects my attitude towards V-Day. The two are unrelated. Whether you're gay, straight, bi, love is love. Valentine's Day should be the same for all of us.
Here's what I realized my Valentine's hang-up is.
My identity is very much about my bisexuality. I talk about being bi more than most people talk about their sexual orientation. I've also made a career of discussing my bisexuality, identity politics, dating, relationships, and the like. In terms of how I view myself, my bisexuality is one of the most important things about me. So much about my life stems from being bi.
This is not universally true of bisexual folks. It's part of who they are, but they may not view their bisexuality as a critical aspect of their identity, or as huge a part of their identity as I do.
Either way, it's fine. Your sexual identity can play as large or as small a role in your life as you damn well please. Of course, everyone is different. There is no one right way to be bi.
Valentine's Day is about expressing gratitude for the meaningful and loving connection(s) that we have in our lives. In theory, this is beautiful. My romantic nature and my openness to forming these connections with men, women, and genderqueer folks should make this the perfect holiday for me.
Here's the thing: Even though I'm attracted to multiple genders, and that potential attraction is a key part of my identity, and I desire to have and make meaningful romantic connections, I still do not need a single person to make me whole.
I'm a grown-ass human being. Regardless of my orientation, I want to be able to be happy alone. No matter the sheer number of people to whom I could be potentially attracted, I don't need to be dating anyone. I also can and do spend time on myself and my own growth.
So many people think of bi folks as "greedy," as "wanting it all," as always on the hunt for new, more, different partners. They forget that we are also people who can be alone.
Yes, I'm bi. Yes, my attraction isn't limited to one gender. No, simply because I'm attracted to various genders does not mean that I need to spend my entire life consumed by dating. I especially do not need to do so at the cost of my own personal growth.
So yeah, V-Day gets me a little more riled up than it should, and it definitely has to do with my own issues that I'm working on. But this year, I'm going to pass on the roses and chocolates and focus on my own personal growth.