Happy Valentine’s Day!

I don't need to flirt, I will seduce you with my awkwardness.I’m filling in to teach a class for a sick friend + have a giant pile of work to do, and there’s probably no way we’re topping this as a Valentine’s Day post, so, here you go. [<3]

Consider this an open thread to share stories of ways people (friends, family, partners, teachers, coworkers, anyone!) have shown you that they’re on Team You.

106 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. My two more memorable valentines days were when I was single. One year, I was really sick and in hospital (I have ulcerative colitis which results in anemia after bad flareups) and two of my best guy friends came to visit me in the hospital. One brought me flowers and the other one brought me a giant, nine-inch spike… for my iron deficiency. I laughed so hard.

    Another year, again single, I gathered up a couple of my other single friends and we went for Mani-pedi’s because you should really show some love to yourself as well and then the one friend and I got gussied up and went dancing. We had all manner of adorably awkward barely-legals trying to chat us up and we ended up having a blast!

    Last year was the boy and my first year together and we are both pretty anti-valentines .. preferring to do nice things through out the year. We did end up exchanging little packs of Lindor’s and splitting a bottle of wine.

    1. *giggle* That spike reminds me so much of a scene in one of the Aubrey/Maturin novels, where Jack Aubrey is worried sick over getting supplies (including ten-inch spikes) to fix his ship, and his friend Stephen Maturin is listening politely and not taking in half the details, but says kindly, “God set a flower on you and your ten-inch spike, my dear.”

  2. Oh and two years ago, after I complained bitterly of other women at work getting sent flowers at VDay, one of my best friends showed up with ‘Just because’ flowers.

  3. My freshman year of college, my longtime best friend who had struggled for years with depression was admitted to the mental health ward at the university hospital because she was in danger of hurting herself. I spent the day visiting her and worrying about her with her other friends. It was a long hard day. At the end of the day, I went back to my dorm room and waiting outside was a flower for me. It was unsigned and I still don’t know who left it but it made me feel so much better.

    It was one of the kindest things that was ever done for me.

  4. My spouse and my eldest child (who is an adult now) both made me a figurative sandwich yesterday. They basically saved my brain from eating itself, or I should say stayed quiet but actively present while I worked through the process of hello peak of SAD+birthday issues+extended family angst+crapiversary triggery stuff. Spouse’s sandwich contained understanding and a willingness to forgo our romantic dinner plans without explanation because I hated myself and couldn’t manage to get dressed up fancy for a night out in that state of mind, and Eldest’s sandwich was coming over anyway even though we didn’t need him to babysit any more and eating dinner with me and just being sweet and cheerful with compassionate eyes because he loves his mama. This morning I still feel like I don’t deserve either of them but at least I no longer feel like walking into traffic because of it, because they both had the confidence and trust that I could work through the shit which was weighing me down so long as they kept the world at bay for me for a while. And the sun is finally out, so I am going to go be in that now and try to raise my Vit. D to survival levels. Happy valentines/birthday to me. Still depressed, but hanging on, thanks to family with sandwiches.

    1. Try to remember, too, that the reason they were so lovely isn’t just that they are awesome, but because they think you are awesome, and they would know. So you must be, even if you are inclined to doubt it.

      1. Thank you. It is so hard to remember when in the thick. Yesterday my brain felt like I was being chased through the Doldrums by a fleet of Kracken. Spouse and Eldest, they know I can fight the Kracken myself so long as someone holds space for me to return to, which they teamed up and did, and that? Is love.

  5. I will never forget how my best friend from school (and best friend over-all) rescued me from a bully in our friendship group. This girl had started to pick on me and it had mostly been jibes and bitchiness but one lunch time our whole friendship group turned on me. I had been violently bullied in the school I was at previously and so my immediate reaction was to get the hell out of there.

    My best friend came and found me and stayed with me and told me to ignore the rest of them. Unsurprisingly the bitchy group turned on her too and we ended up making some new friends together and mostly avoided the bitchiness from that time onwards. I’m so grateful to her.

    We’re at a time in our lives right now where we’re both really busy (we both just started working full-time and have both just moved in with boyfriends) and haven’t been speaking very much. I should REALLY call her to say nice things. I will do that – thank you captain for reminding me of how awesome my best friend is.

  6. This post reminded me of my wonderful best friend. She’ll always make me a sandwich when I need one, and of course, I’ll do the same for her. I immediately shared and told her so.

    What a fantastic post! Thank you so much for reposting today!

  7. My best friend listened and lent support when I was in a relationship that was slowly becoming toxic but didn’t tell me what to do or pressure me to end things when I wasn’t ready. Then she let me move in with her and her fiance when the aforementioned relationship crumbled and I couldn’t afford rent on my apartment after Ex-Partner moved out. When I was out of work for four months, they insisted I stay even though I couldn’t afford to pay them the (low) rent we agreed to, and they didn’t complain that it took 18 months for me to pay them back. Most importantly, any time I’ve tried to express how grateful I am to them, they tell me they were just as grateful to me for coming to live with them and that they wouldn’t have wanted any of it any other way.

    1. Agreed. So much eye-opening good advice here, in the columns and the comments. And knowing you’re not the only ‘awkward’ one out there can help, too, sometimes. Happy Team You Day, Awkwardeers!

  8. My sister once made me a little video with a mixture of pictures of me, of us together, stupid little ones where she put my head on Winni-the-pooh’s body and our favourite movie sequences, all the while having the song “You make me smile” by Uncle Cracker in the background.
    It was literally the first time ever and ever since that I cried because a gift made me so happy.

  9. Many years ago when I was single, and couldn’t seem to find a guy to date more than once or twice, my best friend (who was living with her now-husband), sent me a marvelous V-Day card. She wanted me to know I was awesome “on this most saccharine of holidays.” I still have the card, and will never forget that.

  10. Last year I spent Valentine’s Day avoiding my abusive ex. He told me he loved me and how perfect I was through social media, and I nearly vomited with anxiety. Last week his friend called me a condescending bitch and told me that I was lying.

    This year, I was triggered in the last ten minutes of the school day by people talking about how much they loved Chris Brown and how Rihanna must have done something to get him to hit her. I cried all the way home and then, after schooI, cried on my girlfriend, and then I gave her a card where I had written deliberately terrible M-rated fanfic about us (designed to look like fanfiction net) and we ate onion bhajis and samosas and drank semi-cold tea.

    In this case, the sandwich was a samosa, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I’m still sad, but I’m a lot less sad.

  11. Back in high school, I worked at a flower shop, so Valentine’s Day meant a hellishly long shift with no breaks. My senior year, my parents gave me a note so I could leave school at lunch to go in to the shop. When I got to the school parking lot, my boy I had a super-secret-but-not-a-secret-because-did-I-mention-I-was-in-high-school crush was waiting by my car, looking smoking hot in a leather jacket. He handed me a PowerBar and a Gatorade, kissed me, and wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day.

    Best day ever.

  12. My best friend was one of the reasons I started fleshing out an original story, because she said that she hadn’t drawn in six years, but my story idea had gotten her inspired again. Over the years she’s given me some amazing pictures of my characters that I treasure.

    Last September she had a baby, so she’s been really busy, but last night I got a “very very simple sketch” (air quotes, because no, I didn’t find it simple at all) of my heroine and her boyfriend being adorable. It is one of the best Valentine’s gifts I’ve ever received, hands down, especially since I’d had a long day.

  13. The thing that never fails to remind me of just how much my husband values my thoughts:

    I’m a wee bit obsessed with Doctor Who. I also often find myself without any clsoe friends to rant to about it – I get realyl emotionally involved in shows I love, you guys! My husband just absolutely doesn’t enjoy the show, but sometimes if he gets home when I’ve just finished a new episode that I *must* talk about, he’ll listen to me talk at him about it for a while.

    The thing that gets me, though, is that he doesn’t just stand there and nod. He actually listens well enoguh to retain the details with really good clarity, and knows without me telling him how my current rant links up with previous ones. He doens’t care about the topic per se, but he really, truly cares about my passion for it 🙂

  14. This morning I got a text message from a former student’s parents:

    “Happy Birthday from [student] and his family
    You are Great Teacher
    Thank for helping [student] to open up
    He talks more now
    Happy Valentine Day
    . . .
    We were at Disney World and he kissed Minnie on all his two visits to Fantasy Land
    All the best to your Mom
    She can be proud of You :)”

    This student is on the autism spectrum, and his birthday is on Valentine’s Day. Last Valentine’s Day we had a great session together talking about our birthdays, which are within two days of each other. He was so excited about us sharing a birthday week that he spontaneously drew me a detailed, colorful drawing of “our” birthday party. I never saw him so animated, creative, and excited.

    I stopped tutoring him two months later and missed visiting him and his family. I thought about sending them a Christmas card but wimped out. I’m almost certain that he remembered my birthday and made his parents promise that they would message me. People tend to forget about my birthday so him remembering is really special.

    I mean it when I say: LITERALLY THE BEST THING EVER

  15. Years ago, after a particularly upsetting chain of phone calls left me stuck in an anxiety loop and unable to stop crying, a friend showed up at my door with two xanax.

    I will forever love him for that, for giving me the gift of calm and sleep at a time when both seemed completely out of my reach.

  16. A small but delicious sandwich today…I’ve been bored as hell with my clothes lately and felt schlumpy in my laundry-day pants. I ran into a friend who I’m not super close to but think is hilarious and awesome, and he told me, “You always look so cool, I always see you and think ‘who is that cool lady’ and then it is you!” So that was a great rush of Fuck Yeah I Do.

  17. My first Valentine’s day with my now-husband was in college. We had planned a lovely night in (well, as lovely as a night in can be when you live in a dorm) with cheese and chocolate fondue. Instead, we ended up driving his friend across town to the only 24-hour Walgreens pharmacy because he had emptied his asthma inhaler and forgot to get another. I knew then that my now-husband had his priorities straight – it was actually very romantic in a roundabout way. The inhaler means I love you!

  18. Late last year, shortly after my boyfriend and I moved in together, I was having a difficult and stressful time at work. When I get stressed out and anxious, I find it difficult to sleep, and the tiredness and anxiety together caused me to be at my grouchiest. I also felt bad for not being my most spectacular, especially since I was so happy about us moving in together and because none of the bad mood was caused by my boyfriend who was being very patient and loving.

    So, one day after work, I stopped to pick up some ice cream and his favorite candy to thank him for being awesome and apologize for being a grouch. (We almost never have dessert, so this was a pretty big treat.) It turns out that he had picked up ice cream on his way home, too, to cheer me up. It was unexpected and hilarious and wonderful.

  19. My first year at uni was my first time away from some horrible situations and my brain took the opportunity of being away from all of the places that triggered me to try to process it, which resulted in me falling apart and being suicidal. I was in that state and I didn’t feel like mentioning my upcoming birthday because I thought it was selfish. Then I had a terrible day on my birthday (I can’t remember why, just remember feeling miserable) until 3pm when my mum showed up unexpectedly. She had driven for eight hours to take me out to the movies and to dinner. Then when I got back to my dorm room, a girl who had recently befriended me (because I was mostly mute at the time) showed up with homemade brownies and a large stuffed Jack Skellington, exclaiming “Why didn’t you tell me it was your birthday?! I found out on Facebook!” We then cuddled and ate the brownies and she is one of my closest friends today.

    1. I did the non-mentioning-my-birthday, too, once, when I was doing an internship and I thought it would be immature and attention-seeking to bring it up. One of the friends I made at that internship picked up the clues I gave about my birthday and, after I left, she got everyone to make a drawing and sign a card. She got the day right and the month wrong, but damn it made me feel better at a time I really needed it…

      1. It’s been a thing that I’ve been trying to train myself out of. I don’t feel the need to just announce my birthday to everybody, but I’d like to be able to remind friends without my jerkbrain going “telling them is awful, then they’ll feel obligated to pay attention to you and be nice to you.” I managed to tell one non-family member this year and had a lovely day with him.

  20. My Team Me has already been super-duper active today, and it’s only just past noon local time. I woke up this morning to an email from my boyfriend, breaking things off. Obviously, the timing’s not great – who wants to get dumped when everyone’s wandering around farting roses? But the worst of it is the method – via email, after nearly two years together. My first serious boyfriend pulled the same move, but I give him a pass as he was 19, we were only dating 3 months, and lived in separate towns. None of those things apply now. This came right out of left field for me and I feel absolutely gutted, but my ladies are rallying and I feel supported and loved and so, so grateful I have them in my life. I’m also grateful for this site and community. Though I’m not very active in it, I read everything, all the comments, and the good CA herself gave me guidance and support at the start of this last relationship, when I found myself dating for the first time in years and was scared and nervous.

    1. Oh, J-Dub. I am so sorry. That’s a cold, cold thing he did and I give him MAJOR side-eye. Jedi hugs for you, if you want them.

      On the upside, when you see all those people farting roses, you can just think about what happens with the thorns.

    2. Condolences. At least, as you ask yourself the question we all ask ourselves when a relationship ends, “was it him/her, or me?” you have a good solid chunk of evidence of his jerkitude.

    3. I got dumped via text after a year. It hurts. But, know that he just did you such a big favour. It’s been a few months for me now, and THANK GOODNESS for that horrible dumpy text message because damn, I’m happier/cuter/sexier/funnier/more driven than I ever was when I was with him.

      So, from one rude-dump victim to another — It only goes up from here, I promise. Paint your toenails, drink tea, watch the Good Wife (seriously, it’s kick butt and saved me on “i wanna cry all day” days), and love yourself.

      Sending so much love.

  21. I am leaving my (draining, extremely time consuming, but relatively lucrative) corporate office job to take a much lower paying position as a permanent contracted writer, starting in just a few days. This is a terrifying leap for me, to actively reach toward something that brings me joy and that I’m actually pretty good at (I do have a number of publications!) but I’ve always been convinced is useless/impractical/not worth it. Why do I have the courage to take this risk? Because my wonderful partner of 8 years is here with me, supporting me and encouraging me to reach for it, even in this terrible economy, even though my jerkbrain keeps telling me I’ll regret it and starve to death. He is the best!

  22. My new father-in-law sent us an Edible Arrangement today.

    My spouse? He does not eat fruit.

    Me? I’m allergic to strawberries. Most of the arrangement is strawberries.

    It’s the sweetest, most hilariously, stupendously inappropriate gift we’ve ever gotten! The funny thing is, my father-in-law also doesn’t eat fruit, so it’s not like he was thinking “I would love it if someone sent this to me!”

    Sometimes, the poisonous inedible arrangement also means love.

    1. See, I always wonder how all those Edible Arrangements storefronts stay in business when other local businesses fall all around them. And now we know!

  23. since the original post says to talk about the way anyone has been showing they’re on team you, i’m going to potentially derail and talk about myself. i am putting myself firmly on team me right now by picking today to finally fucking stop smoking. i stopped for several years but 2012 was a total ass-kicker and i picked it up again. i keep stopping for a few days/weeks and then bumming a couple and then buying a pack and it is cycle that i can see will lead to me becoming a full-time smoker again if i keep it up. so today i am done, no more ever ever, and i am rallying all of my personal defenses to come to my aid.

    as for other people, the nature of 2012’s ass-kicking was rather public (death of a parent) and my friends did their own rallying. they came to visit, let me come visit them (as sometimes just changing scenery helped during those first couple months), sent me flowers, pitched in and bought me a fucking ridiculously awesome gift certificate to a *casserole delivery service* (http://www.johnnycasserole.com/ = SO AWESOME), supported me, gave me space, empathized. it was a special thing, to be given so many sandwiches, without expectation of anything in return. it helped me get to the point i’m at right now, where i can start letting go of some of the coping mechanisms i used to help get me through last year and start aligning my habits and life with who i want to be. there’s a metaphor in here somewhere about strong foundations and self-care being made more possible by others also caring for yourself.

    1. Fistbumps from someone who has also given up smoking in 2013. It sucks right now, and it will continue to suck for a while. But somewhere not too far off are clear lungs and a craving free day. You can do it – I believe in you!

    2. Salutations! From someone a few weeks into quitting. I love the way you put it, ‘putting myself firmly on team me’ by quitting. I don’t know about you, but keeping a bright spotlight on the thought that it’s a positive thing and that I’m not depriving/punishing myself, helps. What also helps – more oxygen.

      You go!

  24. Aww man, now I’m really missing my best mate. Does being the only person he doesn’t continually barrage with (usually hilarious) verbal abuse count as Sandwiches? Or buying me a shirt with my face on it?

  25. I get kidney stones and I’ve had to have a number of minor surgeries over the past few years, often unexpectedly. My family lives really far away, but I still need someone to take me home and sit with me while the anesthesia wears off and I get hopped up on Vicodin. I don’t know what I would do without my friends who have done this for me.

    I mean, I literally don’t know what I would do. The first time, nobody told me I needed someone, so I had to call my friend N at work in the middle of the day and beg him to drive an hour to come get me after, or they wouldn’t do the surgery. Back then, I had just moved and didn’t know anybody else. Now, I can think of four or five people I could call. I love my friends so much.

  26. Years ago I was the victim of identity theft. It wouldn’t have been a huge hairy deal if I’d filed a police report in a timely fashion, like the credit card company asked me to. I didn’t because … I have no idea. I didn’t know how to go about it, felt intimidated, and kept putting it off. Though I did get to it after a long period of time had elapsed, Citibank decided I was on the hook for the $3,400 owed, and I now I’d need to appeal their decision.

    The thing I dreaded most at that point was telling my parents. Here I was, in my 30s, and had proven incapable of dealing with the simplest of adult responsibilities. But when I called, steeling myself for well-deserved chastisement, my mother said something to the effect of:

    “I know you’re going to want to beat yourself up over this, but don’t. It happened, it’s over. Just forgive yourself and do what you need to do now.”

    It was exactly what I needed to hear. Her telling me to forgive myself gave me permission to actually forgive myself. I’ve never forgotten it.

    1. P.S. The identity theft thing did eventually get worked out, thanks to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which made Citibank do its job and investigate. I owe them a heart-shaped box of chocolates too.

      1. It’s so great when moms (or other responsible people we look up to) are cool about things like that. One time I forgot about an outstanding check and when it was cashed, was totally messed up in paying bills for the month, and I needed to call my mom to tell her that my student loan people were going to be calling her, and she just said “Have I ever told you about the time your dad and I forgot to pay the water bill and the water got turned off while we were on vacation?”

        It was kindest thing she could say in that instance. It’s okay to mess up! We all forget to be grown ups sometimes!

  27. One year, two of my friends sent me an awesome handmade box for Valentine’s Day full of random cool stuff, like Hershey’s kisses and cleverly folded paper notes that looked like sakura, and seashells, and… a teddy bear head. Just the head. No body. Turned out she hadn’t had time to finish the whole thing so she just sent me the head, and the body was an “IOU” sort of thing…

  28. I’m having a somewhat wretched day today, and was curled up on my sofa feeling sorry for myself when one of my closest friends sent me a platonic valentine – as we’re both Doctor Who fans, she called me the fish fingers to her custard. I have never felt my mood swing from grumpy to loved so fast.

  29. This was the Valentine’s day after Darth Vader I had dumped me. On my birthday. Second year running,

    I KNOW. I’m saner now.

    Anyway, even though it had been three months, the wound was still raw and I was utterly dreading V-day. Then an acquaintance – someone I didn’t even know particularly well – gave me a card. A St Cyril’s Day card. With a lovely message inside saying how he’d heard that I’d been dumped unpleasantly and was going through an awful time, and he hoped I didn’t mind if he included me in his single people solidarity project.

    Mind? It is possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me on Valentine’s Day. Every year I’m utterly heartbroken that I lost the card when I moved house.

    So to all you other awesome single people out there, voluntarily or not: Happy St Cyril’s Day!

  30. I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. But this year I had an appointment with my psychiatrist and he confirmed that the meds are working and I’m doing better and now it’s just a matter of tweaking the dosage. I haven’t felt this ‘normal’ in years and that appointment is the best VD date I’ve ever had 🙂

    1. That is a really good VD message to get! I hope it all continues on this good route for you.

  31. Today has been a great day. I’m my own Valentine, but like many women do, I feel pretty ugly pretty much of the time. Here’s a little anecdote:

    This one moment way back in high school, when I had braces and everything, I was lying around chatting with my then-boyfriend. Suddenly he interrupted me mid-sentence to grab my face, and say, as if he’d only just realized, “MIMEY! You’re … BEAUTIFUL!!!”

    And so I am!


  32. Rereading your post from last year was possibly the best thing that could have happened to me today, as it made me realize just how much Team Me loves me. And the best thing they have done to show it lately? Is to set boundaries. The fact that they know when they have reached their limit and have to stop isn’t a sign that they have never loved me and are just tolerating me, it’s a sign that they have willingly given all that they are able to give to me. When they say “I love you, but I can’t do this right now,” they don’t just mean the second part – they really do mean the first part as well.

    I can’t even begin to enumerate the ways Team Me has been there for me over the past ten years, as I have tried and failed and tried again to get my shit together and overcome what life has thrown at me. I honestly can’t, other than to say that the key members have been there for ten years and have watched me try and fail and never stopped encouraging me to try again. Thanks Team Me. And also, thanks Cap’n – that one post turned this from a day controlled by the jerkbrain into a day controlled by me.

    1. Oh I love this. Setting boundaries with me when they need to is one of the most important things my friends can do because it means they trust me to respect them.

  33. When I was a teenager, I very much did not have a Team Me, and I used to get so bitterly jealous of the other girls on their birthdays, because there was a tradition at my school that your friends would decorate your locker on your birthday. You know, stick streamers and cards and stuff on it.

    Then when I was at uni, and 19 or 20 or so, I’d made a bunch of internet friends, and one day on my birthday two of them surprised me by making a hand-coded Geocities webpage declaring that in honour of my birthday it was Vegan Chocolate And Vintage Lesbian Porn Day. It was so sweet and so unexpected. I suddenly knew exactly how it felt to have someone decorate a locker for you.

  34. The woman who I consider a platonic soul mate and one of my dearest friends is awesome at post-game analysis of feelings, but she is not so great with the icky, mushy reality of feeling feelings.

    However, she’s also a coworker, and so she was sitting across from me when I found out that a close family member passed away. I knew she didn’t like feelings, so I tried to pull it together.

    5 minutes later, an email from herpopped up with all of the flight options to my hometown sorted by time, date and price . I have always appreciated her finding a way to support me on her terms .

    1. Man, that is a wonderful story. I will try to draw inspiration from it, since I am also Bad With Feelings.

  35. This is the first Valentine’s Day that I’ve been single for since I was 16. I just got out of a 5 year long relationship that I had thought was going towards marriage, only to have it fall apart.
    Because of this website, and all the other feminist blogs I’ve started reading, I’ve barely even felt a twinge of sadness today. I don’t feel empty, or lonely; just content. I don’t even know how to thank you. You’ve helped me be a better friend, and you’ve helped me be a better me.

  36. It’s only been within the last 2 years that I’ve become familiar with the idea of “Team Me.” You mean, I can ask for help and I’m not being selfish and ruining everything? You mean to tell me that there are people that won’t be horribly offended if I have to take care of basic human needs like eating and sleeping? Tell me more!

    I’m happy to report that the Boyfriend Unit is on Team Me. Tonight, he made a very romantic dinner of gluten free macaroni and cheese, which I promptly threw up because of Dietary Reasons. He sprang right back into action. Pillow! Peppermint tea! Saving mac and cheese for later!

    Sometimes love looks like mopping up vomit.

    1. Sometimes love looks like mopping up vomit.

      Yeah, my parents told me this when I was a kid. Some people don’t show love that way, which is also ok. But mopping up vomit is definitely a huge gesture of love.

  37. I work in the customer service department at a really big florist, so my Valentines Day this year consisted of a 14 hour work day sandwiched between two 12 hour days and have witnessed everything from reconciliations and proposals, all the way down to people who have caught their partners cheating on them via sloppy secret flower ordering. I’ve been screamed at, cried at and even had my safety threatened and my relationship insulted by one complete asshole who screwed up his order and took it out on me.

    I’ve absorbed hundreds of people’s extreme valentines day related emotions this week and I am almost so emotionally exhausted that I’m numb. But when I crawled through the door last night, my lovely man had skipped the flowers and champagne, and instead washed the sheets and remade a comfy bed, and bought me twisters and cherry coke (my comfort food of choice) for dinner, and let me watch trashy tv in peace.
    All I can say is thank god I’m coming home to him every night and not one of the shmucks I’ve been dealing with all week.

  38. My mum and dad are very much on Team Me at the moment. I struggle with SAD and had to leave uni for a year because of a very bad episode. This year is my final year and they were both really desperate to do something to help me out. I tend to struggle with getting out of bed in the mornings and actually waking up on time so, 6 days a week when I need to be out of bed, one or other of my parents will ring me and have a conversation with me. It’s meant that I have been on time for pretty much all my classes and have only missed a couple of lectures, compared with quite a few last term. My mum will also send me pretty postcards because she knows how much I love getting post and how I never tend to get any.

    Also yesterday me and my single friends made moussaka, drink wine and went on a pub crawl. Was hilarious and silly and adventure filled and it made me quite glad I wasn’t instagramming a random bunch of flowers like many of my friends.

    1. that is such a thoughtful way for your parents to help you. i’m so glad it’s worked for you and i hope your final year turns out fantastic.

  39. So Boyfriend and I deliberately made unfancy Valentines’ plans – we got tickets for the opening night of the new Die Hard, and planned to see the movie and maybe eat some theatre nachos. So I came home after class + appointments and declared “I am going to go have a shower, so that I don’t smell when we go out.” And he gave me this funny look and said “you should have a bath.” And I was like, “I should? I guess I have time.” And so I had a bath, and it turned out he’d told me that so he could bring me a fancy coffee and a chocolate while I was in the tub.
    And then we saw a movie and ate theatre nachos.

  40. It was my birthday during my freshman year of college. Spring semester, and I still hadn’t made many friends. I’d been in group projects with a few people who were part of a large circle of really awesome friends, and I was dying to hang out with them, but too awkward to figure out how to try and become a part of it, so I hung around on the margins as much as I could. The jerkbrain was strong with me, and I thought they’d never want to be my friends.
    I was really sad about spending my first birthday away from home and family, and so I jumped at the chance to go study for an exam with one of the “cool” girls. At least I wouldn’t be alone, you know? We worked for a little while, and then she convinced me to go down to the snack bar with her so she could buy a soda.
    When we came back, the rest of the people in the group were in her room with balloons and cake, and I got my first ever surprise birthday party. I couldn’t believe that they would do something like that for me, and I couldn’t believe I was important enough to them that they’d want to.
    The bulk of the people in that group are still among my closest and dearest friends.

  41. A year and a half ago or so I broke up with my boyfriend of two years. It was one of those relationships where we both loved each other but it just didn’t *work* and it was making me miserable–I spent a month agonizing about whether or not to do it and when I finally did it was even more painful for me than I had imagined. But I also experienced an amazing outpouring of support from Team Me.

    My best friend not only talked me through the whole decision-making process but she insisted I call her as soon as I did it, even through it was late at night, and she knew exactly what I needed which was to be distracted. The next morning I had an email from her entitled “Read this if you bad on Tuesday”…it was list of ten reasons she thought I was awesome!

    That same day I ran into another friend of mine, this time one I hadn’t really been in the best touch with that year. I had just spent 90 minutes in a class lecture, trying to hold it together, and just barely succeeding. She took one look at me and immediately knew something was wrong. She blew off class and took me out for coffee.

  42. I feel kind of badly about this, because for me the easiest things to remember are often when someone who is not *generally* on Team Me does something unexpected that is helpful in the moment, whereas the constant small (or not so small) things that my Thick-and-Thin Team Me do are harder to call to mind.

    Let’s see: I will give one depressing example of the support of TATTMe support and one not-so-depressing example.

    Depressing: During an episode in December, I called a friend in the U.S. on a Sunday evening weeping and needing to talk about nothing in particular (i.e. “I am so sad, but I don’t have a good reason to be sad.”) She talked me through a very cyclical hour of desperation until I was calm enough to hang up and go home.

    Not so depressing: I’m still not really sure whether I was invited to go snowshoeing or if I invited myself, but regardless, the three people I went with were very good sports about it, especially given that it was my first time snowshoeing. They showed me how to strap them on and how to snap the little supports into place for going up the hill, and shared their snacks with me. It was a really good thing to do after a week of confusing and exhausting and probably destructive thought patterns.

  43. Content note: childbirth, recovery from childbirth

    When my second child was born, we were completely unprepared. He came close to 2 weeks before his due date, and I hadn’t even packed a bag. My labor was only 3 hours. It was a whirlwind! Anyway, the day we came home with him, I sent my husband on a supply run to the drugstore down the street with a list of all the, um, unromantic things one needs right after childbirth, plus a surprise. “Surprise me, please! Something nice. Something to make me feel better.”

    My son was born in January, and they had just started stocking the Valentine stuff. Mr. 0330 came home with a giant stuffed gorilla wearing silky, heart-covered boxer shorts, holding a plush rose. We both laughed until we had tears streaming down our faces. MUCH better than the scented candle I was expecting.

  44. A good friend of mine, one of the first friends I made when I got to college (actually… the VERY first) and I have been having some awesome and mutually-supportive email conversations lately. It’s really helped remind me that even though I sometimes feel a little socially isolated where I live, my larger support network is still there and full of people who love me.

    My partner and I don’t celebrate valentine’s day, but we went with another friend to a valentine’s themed dinner at a bar near our house. We all had Hella Vegan Eats’ spicy vegan mac & cheese & fake meat tacos, strawberry/habanero salsa, and ridiculously strong beer, and I drunkenly explained yarn to them. It was a great platonically friendly evening.

    1. I would ask what you explained about yarn, because it seems simple, but then I remember the last time someone went glassy eyed as I explained a thing I just made and the characteristics of the weaving and all that.

      Awesome with friends and booze and vegan yummies! Go you!

  45. I feel really incredibly grateful that neither of my current partners aren’t invested in Valentine’s Day (one of them actually feels weird about it because aromantic-with-one-exception, and the other is also out of town right now.) Big romantic gestures get me feeling awkward in general, especially on Valentine’s Day, because I had a couple of exes I just didn’t click with well who were big into all the chocolate and flowers stuff. This v-day I worked a 10-hour shift and came home and hung out with my unofficially adopted older brother and my bronchitis and had a nice quiet evening.

  46. My relationship with my girlfriend is fairly recent, so this is our first Valentine’s Day together. We did all the standard Valentine’s Day stuff – a nice soak in a hot tub, a sushi lunch, a walk through a redwood forest, a walk on the beach watching the sun set into the ocean, and so on (we’re both self-employed so we just took a whole day off to go play hooky). We got each other some lovely presents. But those are not the romantic gestures that stick in my mind. Here is the one that I consider much bigger than that.

    I’m a musician, and I’m supposed to be having a recording session tonight. The piano on which I’m recording needs to be tuned right before recording, and I’d arranged for a piano tuner to come and tune it today. Unfortunately, yesterday, he deigned to inform me that he’d changed his mind about coming – I was left without a piano tuner at the very last minute, which meant that the recording session wasn’t going to happen, even though 4 different people had to rearrange their whole schedules to be there for me. I found this out during our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

    My wonderful girlfriend woke up early this morning, while I was still sleeping, and spent a good 45 minutes calling different piano tuners until she found one who would be willing to come today, and arranged the whole thing. My recording session tonight is going to happen after all. My girlfriend is not a musician and doesn’t know a thing about pianos, but she knows that music is important to me, so she went to all sorts of trouble to help me when I was feeling overwhelmed and angry and discouraged.

    The relationship is, as I mentioned, pretty recent – but I think this one is a keeper.

  47. This year, my Valentine’s Day ended with a gut-wrenching fight with my partner. Today, a friend of mine skipped going to synagogue so she could meet me for tea. I just don’t have the words to explain how much that meant to me.

    1. I’m glad your friend was there for you, and my sympathies to you about the fight and its timing. My partner and I separated a week or so ago, and ObligatoryCelebrateRomanceDay doesn’t help the FEELINGS at all.

  48. It is, I suppose, a very small thing. But my husband has always despised the giving of flowers–they die, they don’t *do* anything, the cats destroy things trying to get them, etc–while I continually point out that they’re beautiful. So I come home yesterday, after a busy day (long, hideous week) and not even thinking about the holiday, glance in the kitchen…and see a bouquet of tulips in our nicest crystal vase, with a Charlie Brown valentine card propped up beside. He is the best.

  49. I’m in college and I recently dated (and even more recetly stopped dating) my first-ever boyfriend at 19. I have a history of abuse and any attempt to be physical with him (even just kissing) ended in panic attacks. After a really bad panic attack, I got on Facebook at 9 pm, crying uncontrollably. I got the attention of the girlfriend of a cousin who lives nearby to where I am in college. We’re very close and I adore her.

    I just wanted some virtual company but she was more worried than I expected. It was late that night but the next evening she picked me up. She and my cousin picked up Mexican comfort food for me so I could eat in the privacy and comfort of their home. They didn’t ask me to talk and after dinner she made me (!!) a chocolate cake. She and my cousin sat me on their sofa, fed me cake, wrapped me in blankets and cuddled me until I was ready to talk, and then even MORE until I stopped shaking and nearly fell asleep on her. They didn’t let me go until they had to bring me back to campus.

    It was exactly what I needed, and one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I still have a lot to work through but I know they’ll be with me every single step.

    1. Ooohhhh that’s so lovely I started crying. I’m so glad for you and I’m glad they’re there for you

  50. My cousin left a ‘you’re great’ message on my Facebook wall today. I barely see him and his brothers (distance issues) and I miss my family! So that made me totally smile 🙂

  51. (Content note: sexual harassment.)

    When I was in grad school, the roommate I was subletting from (I’ll call him Mr Creep) started pushing my boundaries and making inappropriate sexual comments. I tried to parry him and laugh it off, but this did not work. He just kept escalating. One night (after I staggered to the bathroom half-asleep and he propositioned me) it occurred to me that there was no lock on my bedroom door, and I was having violent nightmares, and this was really not normal. I spent the next night in my office because I didn’t want to go home and wasn’t sure what to do.

    One of my officemates noticed that things were not OK with me, and talked to me until I told her what was up. She got my permission to tell her roommates (also in our grad program), and they invited me to stay on their couch until I found a new apartment. The whole group showered me with love and support. They walked over to the apartment with me to get my stuff so I wouldn’t have to go alone. They talked me down from panicking when Mr Creep sent weird, guilt-trippy emails. And they included me in a lot of nice, non-harassment-related activities, like academic conversations, sit-down dinners, and making up silly dances.

    I know graduate programs vary a lot in how well people treat each other. I am very grateful that my classmates were as kind as they were intelligent.

  52. This past weekend my (relatively new) boyfriend and I threw a party at my house, a kind of combined thing where both his friends and my friends were invited. This is the first serious relationship I’ve been in so the whole thing is quite new to me, and I’ve been eager to make a good impression on his friends. This is going to sound so simple, but doing all the work of the party TOGETHER just made me realize how much we were on each others’ teams, and how much easier things are when you have someone working on your side. The morning of the party, he got up and went to the grocery store at 8 am by himself to give me time to take a bath and get ready so I could cook later. The party was wonderful and we all had a really good time! Afterwards, we put the cleaning off until the next morning. When I got out of the bath the next day he had already made us both breakfast, which we ended up eating separately (so I could catch up on Girls, ha). When I came back into the kitchen after eating he was already mopping the floor. We cleaned it all up together, in no time. The whole thing was just a lovely experience, him being so helpful and us working together so easily without complaint or friction. It’s not something I saw modeled in my own parents’ marriage, where my mom did ALL the work. Sooo simple, like I said, but seeing that he’s on my team for the literal, practical dirty work of life? It means a lot to me. The sandwich means I love you, mopping the floor means we’re in this together.

  53. I had a good one on this Valentine’s Day. After meeting my boyfriend for lunch, I stopped by the store for some groceries. Had a humiliating experience at the checkout stand with a rude/impatient off-duty store clerk, whacked me right in the social anxiety, and I went home in tears. I reached my boyfriend online, explained what happened, and he validated my emotions and talked me through my options. We’ve had a lot of trouble around responding in the way the other needs. We’re similar in a lot of ways, but have very different needs for our emotions. Fortunately, things have improved a lot. How he responded on Thursday was just what I needed at the time.

  54. My Dad has recently been really really supportive of me (I’m nearly a year on from having had a nervous breakdown, getting some seriously intense therapy which im still recieving and I am getting better all the time, but my parents have not really ever been the types to praise or emotionally support) and reminds me to reward myself for accomplishing things and tells me how proud he is of me (especially for things that are nothing to him, like washing my clothes or tidying my room).

    My best friend always remembers my favourite things – for valentines she hand made me a Lumpy Space Princess card and it made my day. For Christmas she got me a beautiful framed print from Alice in Wonderland.

    For my birthday this year friends actually came to my celebrations(the last four or five years its only been me and my bffs) and I had a really great time having dinner with everybody.

  55. Last year, I was in a relationship that had turned bad. I never really told anyone how toxic it had become, but while I tried my damnedest to keep a smile on my face around friends, one of them apparently noticed. She asked me about it and I broke down, spilling most of what’d been going on and how awful I felt. The next time I saw her and her husband, he gave me a key to their house and an invitation to use it at any time – no phonecall needed, no questions asked.

    A few weeks later I used it. I stayed with them for a few weeks. Their hugs and love, but mostly the fact that they did not push, did not judge and that I was completely free in their house, meant the world to me.

    Excuse me while I go and thank them again.

  56. A long, long time ago, I was being hazed at the start of college, and I had to go up to passerbys and sell them the opportunity to throw a paper plate with shaving foam in my face. Long story short, I ended up in an altercation and two guys threw me to the ground and started kicking me, in the middle of a crowded street. Two men intervened and stopped them. I staggered away without thanking my rescuers. I have no idea who they were or what they look like, but yeah, they were on Team Me. I wish I could have had the presence of thought to thank them.

    1. I understand wishing you’d uttered the words, but I’m pretty confident they knew you were grateful! The kind of folks who’d intervene for a stranger would not walk away feeling disgruntled that you were too stunned by the whole incident to kiss their toes.

      P.S., really sorry that happened in the first place. What a nightmare!!!

  57. Two stories:
    A few years ago on my birthday, I didn’t want to have a party but I felt like I didn’t want to just skip it either. I was moping around because I was lonely and my ex had just moved far away (we were still very good friends at the time and it was like having my best friend move away) when my housemate kidnapped me and took me out to a sushi lunch, just the two of us. She’s not a very touchy-feely person, so it meant a lot to have her take the time out of her day just to take me to lunch. It was by far the nicest birthday I’ve had.
    This year on Valentine’s Day, I was feeling lonely and particularly single. All three of my housemates were talking about their plans with their significant others and I was just feeling really down. In the afternoon, I came home to find a Valentine’s Day present sitting outside my door with my name on it. It turns out it was from one of my housemate’s mother! She had made me a little box filled with homemade cookies and it completely brightened up my day.

  58. This one just happened today – just when it looked like plans for a birthday get-together with the supportive side of the family wasn’t going to happen, people’s plans cleared up and I got to have the birthday party I wanted (last year’s birthday celebration was quashed by truly awful news which led to a very rough year).

    The funniest bit, though, was when my Aunt showed up with an African Violet for my birthday present. I wish I could have properly explained to her why I was laughing so hard, but I assured her I loved it and couldn’t wait to have a plant in my home. All I could think of was here and the Awkward Army and all the therapeutic support I’ve gotten since discovering the site.

    My birthday is this week – I hope everyone has a lovely week as well!

  59. This is sort of overlapping Teams Me:

    My long-distance girlfriend and I are each in the process of moving–not moving in together, in fact we’ll be further apart than we are now. So, lots of dealing with realtors, packing, decluttering, decisions, and stress.

    I just spent the weekend with her, and in between visiting realtors and sorting through old papers, she took the time to reassure me that everything would be okay, and I can handle my move, and so on. And to make it plain that while I hadn’t offered as much help and support as I would have liked, what I did give her was important and valued.

    Three days of both being stressed, and we not only managed meals and sleep, we didn’t snap at each other once. I felt comfortable enough to let her try feeding me a vegetable we both knew I might not like, because the worst that would happen was that she’d have extra and I’d just eat chicken and bread and butter, and we both understood that it wouldn’t be anyone’s fault if I didn’t like it. That feels like pretty serious Team Me: she’ll feed me new things if I might like them and think they’d be good for me (I believe in and like vegetables, but it’s harder to keep the faith in mid-winter), without needing me to like them.

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