Van and I just had a fight. I’ve been repeatedly asking her what she wants for her birthday, which is right after Valentine’s Day. I thought I was being nice; after all, doesn’t everyone want to open a present on their birthday? But Van is angry at me for pressuring her for a “wish list” when she’s told me over and over again that material things don’t matter to her.
The truth is I don’t feel comfortable not buying her a gift. Van loves it when I give her experience gifts instead of objects, so that’s something I’ve been doing more. But this year I felt like I didn’t have the time or energy to put together a more creative, experiential birthday present for her. I’m ashamed to admit this but I just wanted to buy something and be done. How could I have forgotten that the best way of saying “I love you” is not with a credit card? This shows just how successful the ideology of consumerism is in our culture. I know that expressing love through “stuff” only serves the interests of global capitalism–and yet, here I am, desperately trying to commodify my love.
I adore Van and truly cannot imagine my life without her in it. This post is my Valentine for her. I’m so sorry, honey. I love you more than objects can convey and words can say. Thank you for 19 wonderful years. xoxo