Studies show, incidents of suicide are the highest during the yuletide season. Which kind of makes sense, especially when you're forced to spend extended periods of time with people you've known your whole life yet still have the ability to get on your nerves, or when you're forced to spend it alone, or with practical strangers forced upon you by circumstance or loneliness. Any way you look at it, it makes sense. I hear the crime rate's quite dizzying too.
What I've recently been thinking about though, is that perhaps there's one more celebration involved in making people want to hurt themselves: valentines day. Timed precisely when you were just about to get over your Christmas depression and have just started losing the weight you gained over the holidays.
Don't get me wrong, I think any day celebrating love is great. But why we must assign one single specific day for everyone to celebrate love all at the same time is beyond me. Birthdays, anniversaries, fathers' days and mothers' days and all those other days when we devote some extra time proving how someone is so special to us. Days that actually make sense and mean something - now those days are wonderful. But Valentines day?
Couples scrambling to make plans or get reservations, struggling to fit a date in their busy schedule, stressing over traffic jams and long lines just to say that they were able to celebrate. Then there are those caught between being single and being in a relationship, paying exorbitant prices just to prove they really like someone. Meanwhile, the three categories of single people are merely trying to hold it together. Those who refer to V-day as an economic holiday will roll their eyes and laugh at the silliness of it all, those who say they are perfectly happy being single will be frustrated that their friends don't believe them, and those who are miserably single will likely get drunk or eat until their bellies are just as heavy as their hearts. Really, where's the good supposed to be in all this?
Speaking from a single person's point of view, I see how this particular day could really hurt someone's delicate ego. Somehow, the words of the Desiderata are often forgotten during this time. "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter." But how can you help it? You walk along the street, or watch television, or surf the internet, and it's as if the whole world is telling you, more than at any other time of the year, that you are an outcast because you're a table for one instead of a table for two. Somehow it doesn't matter that statistically there are more single people out there than there are couples. As far as the universe is concerned, you dared to defy its ruling that everyone should be paired up this season, so it punishes you by reminding you of the fact every chance it gets.
The sad thing is, the hidden messages almost always get to you. And as the beautiful prose warned, you do become quite bitter. You can't help but wonder, "Why is she wanted by someone but I'm not? What makes her better than me?" Total idiocy, because you know love is no contest, and love isn't about who is better or more beautiful or slimmer. Love is love, it's complicated and it requires work and either you find it or it finds you.
But somehow, during this time, all your reason eludes you. Only the choking reality that you are again to be alone on this wretched holiday will keep you company in the early hours.
All you can do is wait for this season to pass, as it damn right well should, so that you may return to your otherwise perfectly adjusted self and dismiss your fatalistic thoughts for more productive reflections.