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.
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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