I am born on Valentine’s Day, therefore, I have a Valentine’s birthday. This means many of my birthdays had Valentine’s as a theme, including dinners and parties. Wherever I looked, Valentine’s Day was observed. I used to hate where my birthday fell as some friends used to prefer seeing their significant others or moan their lack of relationships. I learnt to embrace my birthday through something small and maybe insignificant to many; Valentine’s themed geeky-ness. Many would argue that should have been a part of my education into the geek world, but I struggled with fandom. I wanted to be a fan, but denied myself the pleasure. It was seeing my birthday being celebrated by fandom in the many different ways, even if it was not directed to me or to a birthday on Valentine’s, gave me the push towards embracing my love and ignore my fears.
Embracing love is a part of Valentine’s Day’s idealisms and I decided to embrace the love fandom is gushing. Valentine’s birthday doesn’t have to follow the heteronormative production and loving your friends, family, and identity could be a part of that. I banked on that idea. From postcards with cheesy messages to the comics with Valentine’s as a theme, these are simple examples of how inclusive Valentine’s day can be. Funnily enough, TV shows’ and movies’ lack of inclusivity is what pushed me away from enjoying my birthday and it is fandom that encouraged me to find the romance and love that is lacking elsewhere. Since TV shows, movies, and comics started to ignore the conventionality of the faux-holiday. Valentine’s day became a week of adventures in different people’s perspectives on love, rather than a heteronormative stereotypical romance based holiday. Some comics and fan-works go beyond that and deliver the most fantastical stories of what Valentine’s day could mean to different people. Some still explore the heteronormative narratives; others expand beyond that to feature intersectional love. This would feature “unconventional” families, relationships, and friendships.
Another factor that made my Valentine’s birthday far more enjoyable is the trend that started with Deadpool and that I hope continues, the introduction of non-romantic movies for Valentine’s Day. I know there has always been options around this time from previous weeks, however, they have never been of the geeky sorts that has been released on the weekend of Valentine’s. Having a geeky option for a geeky Valentine baby made me feel validated as a fan and as a cinema lover. I am not saying that any industry owes me personally to produce something around my birthday that would be more enjoyable, but I am commenting on how certain holidays end up themed and nearly every product around those times cater to that. I know some people actually love their birthday’s holiday theme and enjoy it beyond measure. I would like to acknowledge them and the people that love Valentine’s day who are not born on the day. I have a friend who is born on Halloween and hates everything about it, while I love everything about it and get super excited. Therefore, while I may be complaining about Valentine’s day, I understand that same people love the holiday and I am embracing it more.
The beauty of having a holiday birthday is that you can claim that the whole world is celebrating your birthday! Well, the parts who are actually celebrating. It took the geek world to help me acknowledge the world’s celebration and actually enjoy it, beyond the platitudes I gave people. It helped me stop overcompensating as well by celebrating for a whole week or for a whole month. I even started to look forward to the set menus restaurants have on Valentine’s day and the chocolates that go half off the next day! Moreover, I would like to note that this is not all due to the geek world; I would like to think that maturity has to have a part in it. Though, if I am being honest, I think it is mostly the geeky aspect. I mean I do cosplay nearly every birthday! Valentine’s birthday can be exclusive, so I just used my idealisms and made it more inclusive.
So, for those who have the misery of having a Valentine’s birthday (or any holiday), I invite you to embrace it more. Use the clichés that people assign to the holiday to your advantage like getting two gifts from your significant other or just guilt trip your friends and go watch Lego Batman.