Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where do broken hearts go...?

On my hips. And my thighs. And, apparently now that I'm aging, on my upper arms. Damn the day after Valentine's Day and its 75% off sales! Go away, you practically beating shiny red hearts offering love and deep discounts. Shame on you, mercenary retailers, pushing love in the form of smooth chocolaty centers and creamy truffled affection. And what's my problem that I can't resist the desire of having my own velvety symbol of love filled with rich pillows of confection, each ensconced in their own safe little cradle, and each ready to provide me with the fulfillment of a lover's kiss?

I seriously need some help.

For me, it's probably a combination of things, both historical and societal. As a youngster, after 5th grade, Valentine's Day was excruciating. It was in 5th grade that I reached the pinnacle of Valentine's Day expectations: I got a real Valentine card - in a real envelope - in the brown paper lunch bag decorated with crookedly cut hearts that hung taped to my desk.  The front of the card had an adorable white shaggy dog holding a little red heart in its mouth. And, sadly, I can remember the sentiment inside to this day: "Know what this is? Of course you do! It's a Valentine from me to you!" In my mind it was clear that it was also a thinly veiled marriage proposal.

After that, Valentine's Days went immediately downhill. I watched as all the girls around me received heart-shaped boxes of love year after year. Even into my teens and early twenties, I saw the giving of boxes of chocolates as some unattainable thing that the pretty, popular girls were allowed to have, but not me. Don't I get love? Or candy? I was never sure which one I was lamenting.  

Then, one day, I was in a CVS drug store and it was the day after Valentine's Day. There were dozens of bright, red, shining heart-shaped boxes on the shelves. And they were the good kinds, too. Not the cheaper off brand! The sign practically screamed at me: 75% off!  I looked around, picked the prettiest heart with the best chocolate that I could find and added it to my purchases. When I went home, I carefully opened up the box and just gazed at the tiny mounds of wonderfulness that was all mine. And then I ate most of them right up. I had to eat fast. I might have started to feel guilty.

This may have happened during the years after my divorce. It's hard to say...most of my relevatory epiphanies happened during that time. It was either that or I slipped immediately into a coma afterwards. 

The phenomenon of buying my own Valentine's Day candy didn't happen again until after Annie and her family moved in with us. Women who are constantly trying to drop some weight do not feel good buying large boxes of candy for themselves. But Annie, who is nursing baby Luca, is not concerned about gaining too much weight. She is happily and joyfully eating most of whatever she wants.  However, along with her mainly healthy and nutritious diet, she has also had a craving for chocolates. So, there I was in the drugstore. The day after Valentine's Day. I found myself in the candy aisle, not unlike the defenseless wildebeest that happens to accidentally wander into the clearing where the lions are hunting. I was overtaken,  like the wildebeest, with the signs, the varieties, the sparkly-ness, the prospect of all that love--I mean chocolate--to savor.  I bit....pun intended. I told myself that I was buying it "for Annie". But when I got home, I was a willing participant in "helping" Annie enjoy the chocolates. Fortunately, Annie likes to bite into each piece, to either find out what's inside or lay claim to the piece for later. That helped me limit my consumption. But not by much.

So, thanks Valentine's Day. Thanks for another reason to feel guilty/excited/fat/loved/comatose all in one swoop. And all at 75% off.