They Do Exist.

Last Valentine’s Day I Watched Kill Bill & Broke Dishes

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Kelsey Manning. She’s the one who takes care of our Facebook page and is simultaneously obsessed with music, puppies, puns, and Jesus. We love her like something else around here. You can read her full bio here or check out her blog and Twitter! Tomorrow we’ll be doing a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY for Valentine’s Day, so make sure you pay attention! – Lauren

Last year, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, my friends and I watched Kill Bill and broke dishes.

I’m pretty sure that it’s not quite what Hallmark had in mind.

It’s not that I’m against love, but watching gory revengeful movies and getting out all your feelings on one of the dumbest holidays ever is healthy. Because, you know, I’m an expert who needs no entanglements or silly boyfriends or head-over-heels-crushes to stay happy. Or you know, I might just be a cynic of love who is scared to admit that she still is a hopeless romantic who loves musicals under that tough skin and making-fun-of-relationships-facade.

TMI?

Being single on Valentine’s Day is dramatic even if you don’t acknowledge it. Every commercial on television is for chocolate and perfume and K-Y warming liquid. Every store display is disgustingly overdone with teddy bears and roses. But it isn’t the cheap gifts or obnoxious displays that get me – when you’re single on Valentine’s Day you entertain the thought that there may be something wrong with you, because it seems like the rest of the world is coupled up. You hang on to the reason you’ve failed in relationships in the past, unable to let go. And then, at least in my own heart, I pile on guilt from other mistakes I’ve made and suddenly one tiny little holiday makes me feel worthless.

Last year, all these feelings had hit me at once, along with my group of friends – all fantastic people, yet all feeling guilty and left out by being single – and I decided we should take action against these feelings. And when I take action, most often, I do so with a vision.

You see, I’m a visual learner. As much as words can comfort me and I can bask in them, roll them around on my tongue and rewind television shows just to hear the rhythm in the way certain sentences sound, if I really want to drive a point home, I have to see it with my baby blues. I want to open my eyes wide and get to know the colors and shapes and textures and how the light hits something just so.

Luckily, I got to learn this particular way last February 14th, when my friends and I had ourselves a little “Break” party.

What does this entail?

It’s simple, really. We drove to Goodwill and collected a handful of cheap plates, all of different colors but all those that looked extra fragile. We then brought the plates back and attacked them with Sharpies, writing out everything that we wanted to see break into a million little pieces. Fears, shame, bad dreams, regrets, doubts, guilt, experiences that hurt, and, since it was Valentine’s Day, most of our plates had failed relationships, lost loves and the names of soul-crushing boys and heart-stealing girls that we wish we’d never run into in the first place written all over them. We kept our plates to ourselves, mulling over them until we were all ready, then trekked out to the railroad tracks behind my apartment, and huddled together, we said goodbye to our precious regret-stained dishes. One by one, we said goodbye to pain and failures and secrets and feelings that left us worse off. Standing across from each other, we addressed our plates individually, addressing them like they were our own hearts, and, as if in slow motion from our very own Tarantino movie scene, then smashed them down into the tracks, watching them all break away and cheering with each broken dish at the realization that, surely, it was all just words on a plate anyway.

When we’re wrapped up in the past, we’re unable to handle what happens day-to-day, much less think about the future. God says that when we ask for forgiveness from our mistakes, he cleans our slates (or plates!) immediately. Psalms 103:12 says that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” But even believing in this promise, after being forgiven, we still so often hold onto the guilt and shame with a clenched fist. We know we’re forgiven, but the ways in which we’ve failed come up in our conversations like word vomit and hang over our heads like a dark cloud, refusing to let us live. But the truth is, that is no way to live at all!

So this Valentine’s Day, I’m trying to approach it less dramatically. I’m trying to let Hebrews 10:22 wash over me – “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience,” and simply invest in my own Valentine’s Day by remembering that I am fully forgiven, justified just the way I am and loved deeply by Jesus.

But, I’m not promising that I may not invest in another 25 cent plate and a sharpie.

Call it dramatic, call it childish, but I can honestly say that last year, I left a few things on that railroad track that I won’t be needing anymore. Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t meant to be spent wallowing in romantic comedies and cookie dough. Maybe our mistakes in love shouldn’t bring us down, even on a day that can be hard to be alone. Maybe visually smashing the things that we need to let go of costs way less than therapy.

Maybe plates need to break so that we don’t have to.


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18 Responses

  1. Brooke

    I love this! And I think more people should do stuff like that. Sometimes doing something dramatic is exactly what we need to let go.

    I think I'm going to go buy some Goodwill dishes for me and my friends now. ;)

    February 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  2. Ruthie D.

    Great post! Love the breaking plates analogy. Valentine's Day can bring to the surface all kinds of past failures. Praise God we don't have to live under rejection because He has chosen us!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

  3. Laurin

    I was just thinking about our plate party today…what a night! It was just what I needed. I know I don't see you much anymore, but I love you ma'am. And this was wonderful.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

  4. mfayn

    but, some of us might need to break plates and get therapy too – regardless of the cost, we're worth it.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

  5. All too true–loneliness and feelings of failure when single are so hard to shake. BTW, Jessica Harris shares these same sentiments at: http://purityafterpornography.wordpress.com in her "Surviving V-Day" blog post.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

  6. Oh my gosh! I could totally go buy a few plates & grab a sharpie right about now! I think it's a great idea because I also learn visually. Enjoyed reading. God bless!

    February 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  7. simply_sweet

    I LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like I'm in a pretty good place right now when it comes to accepting things and being okay with being single; but this sounds like soo much fun and such great "therapy" :D

    February 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

  8. Sarah Gantner

    Thanks for this. I kind of want to go out and buy some plates now and do this with my friends.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:53 am

  9. lindseyreneegrace

    This post is so beautiful! I love those last two lines: "Maybe visually smashing the things that we need to let go of costs way less than therapy.
    Maybe plates need to break so that we don’t have to."

    Personally, I think God understands our needs for ceremonies. For tangible experiences that help us to let go. That help us to forgive ourselves and feel forgive. I think that's among the reasons He had the Israelites make sacrifices and why He had them set aside different times of the year for different ceremonies like Passover. Those ceremonies were about remembering their history as a people, but they were also personal. They we're also about letting God into their lives now. I think that your ceremony has a similar quality. That in the process of breaking those plates, of ridding yourself of those things, you were making more space for God's work in your heart and life.
    http://lindseyreneegrace.com/

    August 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

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