Why I Hate Valentine's Day
I hate Valentine's Day. It's not a popular position for a perfumer to take. Instead, I should be selling you something sexy or sentimental. Or something with lots and lots of pink. But that's not my speed.
OK, so maybe hate is too strong a word, but I know I'm not the only one who finds this holiday oppressive. Valentine's Day seems designed to make a few people feel fantastic, and a lot of people feel sad.
This holiday is for you if you're in the first flush of a new romance.
However, if you're single and lonely, it's a painful reminder that you're single and lonely. Or suppose you're trapped in an unhappy marriage. In that case, it's a sad reminder that most people don't know you're trapped in an unhappy marriage. Or maybe you're recently widowed… And let's say you're in a perfectly happy relationship. In that case, there's the added pressure to "do something!" when maybe you've done plenty already this week.
Let's add to this mix all the love that goes un-loved by this "love holiday," like parental love, children's love, grandparents' love, and especially, chosen family love. How about the love we feel for our pets? Plus, those folks who define romantic relationships beyond the Hallmark Movie theme: polyamorous love, friends-with-benefits love, demisexual love, and asexual or platonic love.
I propose Valenfriend's Day. It's simple, you reach out to the people who have stood by you through the laughter and the tears, and you tell them simply, without having to buy anything at all, that you appreciate them. You might say, "Happy Valenfriends day, friend!" And that's it. Your friends feel seen, you feel gratitude for your friends, they feel gratitude for you, etc.
This brings me to things I'm grateful for. Some of you already know that I had an exceptionally difficult 2022. My mother passed away in July, and then my father had a catastrophic fall in September, breaking his hip, becoming disabled, and developing "temporary" dementia that lasted three months. Overnight, I had to take over all his affairs, in addition to managing his care.
Oh, and then there's the first half of 2022. When I nearly died of a ruptured appendix and was hospitalized for sepsis (six weeks in bed). Sorry if TMI, but I just wanted to share that 2022 took a toll on me. And I want to emphasize that there was a silver lining to all that difficulty.
I was supported by members of my chosen family, some of whom include my biological family. Many times last year, I didn't think FZOTIC could survive the personal trials I was going through. Still, my friends, family, and employees showed up. They helped keep the lights on in all aspects of my life, including, most importantly, the light in my heart—where things sometimes got pretty dark.
When I started my brand, it was a one-person show where I filled all the bottles, shipped all the orders, and managed all the emails. But as time passed, the "me" blossomed into a "we." FZOTIC is a team effort now, that includes a few employees on site, plus a very dedicated team in my fulfillment warehouse and the essential oils house that accurately compounds big batches of my fragrances.
As life returns to something like an average pace here, I have tremendous gratitude for my chosen family and the great team at FZOTIC (pictured above), without whom I could not have continued running my small business: like my very talented studio manager, Frankie Bastille; and my partner David, who consults on marketing and operations. I'm also thrilled that my daughter can lend a hand wrapping soaps now that she lives nearby to attend college. And last but certainly not least, I'm deeply grateful to all the FZOTIC fans who keep loving and supporting our work.
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