When Did I Become Such a Cynic?

I’ve been staring at the computer off and on all afternoon.  Trying to tie in a wine review, find a new fuzzy angle or a sweet story to share. But this year the cynic in me is cutting off every idea at the pass. The cynic whispers, “Is that really what you want to say?” “Are you writing that because you want to or because you have to?” We both know the answers to those questions.

I expressed my frustration and concern with the holiday gently two years ago. I’m not feeling quite so gentle this morning..

I haven’t always been a cynic but life has a way of chipping away at the inner-cherub. I made the mixed tapes, homemade valentines. I’ve planned menus, bought dresses. Set a beautiful table and wrapped sweet nothings. I don’t begrudge anyone who is in the spirit. In fact, I may feel a twinge of jealousy. I just don’t have it in me this year.

Years ago, I saw a stat from Not for Sale that said that what we spend on Valentine’s Day could virtually wipeout the human trafficking problem.  Let that sink in. I don’t know, for sure, the logistics and validity, but just the thought gives me butterflies. And not the good kind.

What if you…

Skip the chocolates (that are likely sourced via slave labor), please.

Tell Hallmark that you are not spending $6.99 on someone else’s love poem. Folded construction paper for the win.

Please don’t spend $100 on roses that will be $12 the next day and gone in a week. Maybe a plant for the garden instead? Or maybe…

Tell your true love that you are spreading true love in their name. Serve somewhere. Donate somewhere. Share somewhere. (Not for Sale and The Refuge for DMST are good places to start if the trafficking struck you the way it does me.)

Tomorrow I’ll be nice(r) again. Tomorrow I’ll look for love and celebrate it with those whose serotonin is at a higher level. But today, I’m cranky.

Tomorrow I’ll look for the dad who got up early to make lunches for the kids (thanks, babe.)

For the teacher giving extra attention to the child who doesn’t get enough.

For those working overtime at the restaurant to provide for their family.

For the nurse feeding a patient, listening to the same story for the 100th time.

For the husband steadying his wife as they move together, slower.

For the mom who was up all night and then at it all day.

For the listeners.

For the patient.

For kindness.

For real love.

So, dear husband, you can read this as your “off-the-hook” pass. I won’t be needing any chocolate-covered strawberries. I’ve got plenty of fruit today in the form of sour grapes and raspberries  (insert sound effect). And don’t worry. It’s still an excuse to open something tasty.




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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

13 thoughts on “When Did I Become Such a Cynic?

  1. Love this! I’ve always been a cynic, but have changed a bit since having kids. I still try my darndest to avoid spending on this day, but I do like to find ways to show my kiddos how to spread some love to those around them. And my husband learned YEARS ago to never buy me flowers on this day 😉 There are better ways to spend $. I love the idea of using it to plant a garden, or simply buy seeds to plant later in the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alissa, I think you’re not a cynic at all and this post shows you’ve got a HUGE heart. We’re going to share this on our Facebook page, if you’re OK with that?


    Steven Phenix
    The Refuge for DMST


  3. Love this post! I was trying to express the same things to my coworkers just a few minutes ago. Your words were much better, I’ll have to revise my message.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are right on so many levels, Alissa – if I start reciting all that I agree with you on, it will become another post in this comment. Walking today into the local pharmacy, I simply got annoyed by all the pink paraphernalia. This holiday feels overblown and highly artificial, and this feeling is increasing year over year (I guess cynicism is increasing with age?). Yes, there are many ways to express love without all that pink stuff (never thought of how much people are spending on this holiday? sounds mind-boggling) – for me, it is cooking dinner and opening something tasty. Cheers, my friend – to love!

    Liked by 2 people

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