From a recent exchange I had with [name redacted] on Facebook:
Me: Much love to you, [name redacted], for that post. Valentine's Day has been the bane of my existence for the vast majority of my life and I can't communicate how disappointed and heartbroken I was when I was a preteen and teenager and seeing so many of my peers get flowers, chocolate, and stuffed animals from their boyfriends on that day while I couldn't even get a guy to be seen with me in public. This is one of the most sensitive aspects of my childhood and I still carry psychological wounds from it, esp since my birthday is close to Valentine's Day and I grew up with all these constant reminders of my least favorite day right on the day that's supposed to be your special day. I'm even trying not to cry while typing this out, esp since I really haven't had an active love life even as an adult. God, I just need to step away from this now to preserve my sanity....
[Other Person]: *HUGS* Diane xx
Me: Thank you [name redacted]. It may not seem like much to get upset about, but it fed so much into my mindset that I'm ugly and unlovable that it burned those thoughts into my heart and soul, and I want to love and be loved so badly that it's caused me to automatically reject a lot of kindnesses from people in general (e.g. if someone compliments me on my appearance I dismiss it as them just being nice) and I wonder if it's repelled a lot of potential love interests. I also feel like a failure because I'm almost 36 and have only been in three relationships period, have never been married, and have only ever received one thing on Valentine's Day. And I have this one friend who I feel a lot of bitterness and resentment toward because she was the first of my peers to have a boyfriend and she appears to have this happy life, and I feel guilty about it because she's said all these nice things about me from the time she and I were classmates (stuff like how I'm so kind and special and have left an indelible impression on her), so I feel bad that I can't be happy for her, but I just can't. Then there's another friend who seems to jump from marriage to .marriage and I have to stop myself from going off at her because I would give anything and everything to be married, because to me that would mean that man loves me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me, and it breaks my heart thinking that I may never get that chance, and now I'm really crying and hoping no one walks into my office because I just want to sob the rest of my day away.
[Other Person]: Diane, you are so not ugly and unlovable. You have a truly kind heart and you are pretty. Also, take it from me, getting married is not a benchmark of success - I've tied the knot twice, been spectacularly bad at being married and got divorced twice. And the number of relationships anyone's been in isn't a yardstick either. As for your friend, appearances aren't everything - for all you know her home life might be a private hell. People are good at putting on a front on when things are going great. I think it's normal to be envious of friends who seem to have it all - some probably do, but I'll bet the majority are making it look better than the reality.
Don't give up hope. There's someone out there for you. You may need to be proactive to find them, but whoever it is will be VERY lucky to have you in their life xx
Me: Thank you for saying that and you're so very sweet, though there's still that voice inside my head saying that you're only saying that as a kind friend. Though you do give me food for thought with the rest of your message, and I know that FB only shows the good side of most people's lives (I, being stupid or something, present a pretty unedited view of my life), but it's still hard to swallow the posts when I'm faced with something I desperately want in my life that someone else seems to have without much effort at all. The only time I can be happy is when I know the person has gone through at least one terrible thing in their lives so I could be happy for you (because you have to deal with [redacted chronic illness] and lost someone very close to you, so to me you've "gone through tough shit"), but... yeah. And thank you for your confidence there. If I had more time or energy I'd be out there more and I dearly regret not making myself be more socially active in my twenties (I was usually too guilty about leaving my mom by herself at home when she was still in mourning -- I was too but I thought mostly of her), but what can I do? My twenties mostly sucked hard. Anyway, this issue (my lack of romantic success and any reminders of that) and my near-total ostracism in grade school, because I was a freak of nature who talked and acted like a little adult and was able to read a newspaper at the age of four, are the two biggest demons that I've had to deal with in my life and thanks for your patience as this one sensitive spot hit me to the core.
[Other Person]: Diane [last name] go wash your mouth out with soap! Everyone who knows me knows I'm blunt and speak as I find. So if I tell you are awesome it's because you are. I'm not being kind, I'm being honest.
Me: That actually makes me feel better, thanks! Please stay blunt and honest and I will offer you a massive mea culpa. Thank you once more.
[Other Person]: Have another hug xx
Me: *hugs galore*
In This Town, You Need a Bulletproof Heart.
- Romantic/Valentine's Day Angst, Live from Facebook.