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Boomerang Valentine... What's That?

It’s almost February, and the Valentine’s Day commercial push is hitting hard! Candy, chocolates, cards, flowers, and more. I remember working as a florist during part of my undergrad studies. The shop would rent a chilled semi-trailer as extra storage to accommodate all the extra flowers we’d sell. Aside from Mother’s Day, it was the biggest flower-heavy holiday of the year. And let’s not get it twisted. I LOVE flowers, ALL kinds of flowers, and their names, and if they're heirloom or hybrids, and where they're from, and.... Yeah okay, they're one of my special interests for sure, and I enjoyed designing and selling them. It was fun and rewarding to help folx express their love that way. (Links to some of my favorite flower things down below)

The darker underside of this holiday, however, is the price gouging, the assembly line production of one-dozen red rose arrangements, the pressure on customers to make a very visible display of affection (the BIGGER the better), and the placing of all one’s love, hopes, and dreams for this life on the love (maybe) reflected back from another. Seldom (almost never), was anyone sending flowers and love to themselves. That’s harder. And maybe that’s not even the goal.

Maybe a healthy goal is just to direct even a little bit of the love and care, the kindness and patience we show others, back towards ourselves. That can feel almost impossible for those of us who are outliers. Whether we identify as highly sensitive, highly gifted, neurodivergent, neuro-complex, ADHDer, Autistic, AuDHDer, LGBTQIA+, and/or some other unique combination of other-ness or difference, we have often survived by performing for others. A great deal of our inner work (when we are safe to do so) is in unlearning the world’s toxic messages that we may have internalized. Undoing the violence we may have done to ourselves. We are taking off our masks and learning to take up space, to tell our stories, to be the lead in our own lives.

So, as we move into and through this time of commercialized love which exalts being in relationship with an other over all else, I want to share with you (and remind myself too) Poet Laureat Andrea Gibson’s words on the hard work of self-acceptance, self-reclamation, and loving. Their words are profoundly relatable and deeply meaningful. Let’s turn Cupid’s arrows toward our own hearts, our own goodness, and bring ourselves Monet’s lilies in a jar (or whatever highly specialized and very specific thing you’re into). Let’s stretch and grow towards loving and becoming what we came here to be.

Boomerang Valentine by Andrea Gibson, Poet Laureat of Colorado (They/Them)

I’m sitting on my friend’s couch

Several months into being intentionally single and celibate

For the first time since I was twenty years old

Twenty years old

When I believed sex had to involve a dude and the word “screw”

I’m telling my friend about the psychic who said

I’m going to meet the love of my life by the end of January

It’s January 10th and I am so far from ready for Cupid

That naked little shit, to fire anything my way

So far from ready to be the kind of insane

Only love makes me

My friend musters every bit of new age jargon

She can fit on to her tongue and says

“What if you are the love of your life?”

I think, “Oh my god, I hope that’s not true.”

Cause I am absolutely not my type

But let’s say for a moment I am

Let’s say I am my dream girlish boy

And I am standing on my front step

Ringing my own doorbell waiting for me to answer

So I can hand myself a mason jar

Full of waterlilies I have rescued from a millionaire’s Monet

Let’s say

I am so charmed by the radiance of my own anarchy

I invite myself in for tea and when I’m not looking

I sneak the steam from the kettle into my pocket

So the next time I am missing Maine

I can gift myself the fog

Let’s say

I’m not just running my mouth around an old cliché

That says we gotta love ourselves. We don’t

I know I can keep getting down on myself

‘Til I’m tucked in the grave

Looking up at my name, carved in stone, wondering

Why I never knew, I’d been casted for the lead in my own life

When it comes to love

The only thing I’m certain of is you

Are the best thing that has ever happened to you

Whoever you are

You’re a quitter? Great, there’s plenty worth quitting

A sore loser? Who isn’t

You’ve got no discipline? Maybe discipline

Is for body builders and closeted gay monks

Picture a magician

So attached to being perfect

He cuts off his own legs just to pull off the trick

Picture the 738 selfies I deleted

Before I took one I was willing to show the world

Picture me wishing I could have all of those back

My so called “flaws” in stacks

Like baseball cards I know will be worth something someday

Like, compassion

Like, tenderness

Like, capacity

To think myself a catch

Just because I’ve never seen a chandelier

I didn’t want to swing from because I’d maybe go to space

Just to know if railroad tracks look like zippers from the moon

On days I have a hard time keeping warm in my own weather

I imagine what the first flower said to the first human

Trying to name half its petals “love me nots”


That is not how anything grows

Of all the violence I have known in my life

I have not known violence like the way

I have spoken to myself

And I’ve seen almost everyone around me

Hold that same belt to their own backs in ambush

Of every way we have decided we are not enough

The looking for someone outside of ourselves

To come clean that treason up

If I were to ask myself

Out of the cycle, I might say, “Listen.”

I am still going through my own growth spurt.

I am still yet to get my worst tattoo

I am still clearing the smoke

From burning the toast I wrote for my own wedding day

I am still trying to get rid of my mirror face

Look myself, dead in the eye

I know Facebook is a lousy mortician

Desperately trying to make us all look more alive

I know there are things I haven’t survived

I know there are people in this world who have had to work

Really hard to survive me

I don’t ever want to take that lightly

But I want the heavy to anchor me brave

To anchor me loving

To anchor me in something that will absolutely

Hold me to my word when I tell Cupid

I intend to keep walking out to the tip of his arrow

To bend it back towards myself

To aim for my goodness

‘Til the muscle in my chest tears from the stretch of becoming

What I came here to be: a lover

Of whatever got covered up by the airbrush

The truth of me: that beauty of a beast

Chewing through the leash

‘Til I got a mason jar full of waterlilies

And I got a kettle full of sea

And my whole life, y’all

My whole life is just a boomerang valentine

Coming right back at me

For more from Poet Laureat of Colorado, Andrea Gibson, you can find them at:

Andrea's Website:

Instagram: @andreagibson

Subscribe & Support: Things That Don’t Suck by Andrea Gibson -

I’d love to hear how this poem lands for y’all. And please share any of your thoughts on Valentine’s Day as well as chime in below in the poll. In case you're wondering, aggregated answers will be visible online, but individual poll answers will not.

Valentine's Day?

  • 0%LOVE IT

  • 0%HATE IT

  • 0%meh...

Last but not least - a few flower faves:

Sustainable Flower Delivery - Urban Stems

A quick video about my favorite rose, the Pink Floyd:

These beauties expand into very large blooms as they open. The color is a complex deep pink that turns an almost iridescent, fuchsia/purply color. And the SCENT, y'all!!! It's intoxicating. Best yet, they're often available in bulk at very reasonable prices from wholesalers or big box stores, if you're so inclined. You may need to do your due diligence about their responsible/sustainable practices though. Each seller is different.

How they start...

and how they finish.

And no, I am not receiving any compensation from any businesses or organizations listed above.

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