A Love Letter for Change

Miriam "Mimi" Aguirre
Deeds Not Words
Published in
3 min readFeb 13, 2024

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By Miriam Aguirre, Fall ’23 & Spring ’24 Digital Intern at Deeds Not Words

Miriam, the writer of this blog post, is posing next to a wall of graffiti art, specifically in front of a large 3D piece of art that says, “LOVE”
Miriam posing with the artwork at Graffiti Park at Castle Hills circa 2018.

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher announced that my class would do away with the candies, heavily decorated boxes, and store-bought cards for Valentine’s Day. There was immediate outrage amongst the entire room of 9 and 10-year-olds. That was OBVIOUSLY the best part of Valentine’s Day!

After we had calmed down, he explained to us that he wanted us to write cards for each other. You couldn’t print them out or steal one of the many catchy corporate sayings associated with the holiday. It had to be handwritten. They didn’t have to be fancy, but they had to be heartfelt and carefully curated with each classmate in mind. Oh, it was also a graded assignment.

This made many of us uncomfortable. It was an intimate exercise in empathy. We knew what to write for our best friends, but how were we supposed to write something nice about classmates that we rarely talked to and knew nothing about? Regardless, we did our best because we wanted to receive nice letters, so we wrote nice letters to each other.

We all cried that day. It was heartwarming at such a young age to be noticed by your peers for the little things that you do that you thought no one cared about.

I still remember getting a card from a classmate who never talked to me. My insecure elementary-aged self thought he hated me, but when I read his card. He told me that he was always excited when I raised my hand to answer a question because of how confident and happy I seemed to share my response with the class.

Looking back on this moment, I realized my teacher saved a lot of us from needing to ask our responsible adults to spend money on candy and premade cards that they might not have been able to afford. Instead, we were all included and loved on that day.

As an adult, I have realized that Valentine’s Day can be a burdensome holiday for some. You may feel left out or depressed because you don’t have a significant other to spend the day with or you may be deemed an uncaring partner if you do not have the money to buy extravagant gifts.

A holiday meant to celebrate love has been turned into a marketing scheme for corporations to profit off of people’s devotion. I mean, stores will literally bring out Valentine’s decor as soon as Christmas is over.

No one should feel alienated on a day celebrating love. Whether it be romantic or platonic, we all experience love. Just like how my teacher made us dig deep and exercise empathy by approaching Valentine’s Day in a new way, we must allow ourselves to reinterpret how we celebrate this holiday today and into the future.

Show love and not in just overly romantic ways today. You can:

  • Cuddle with your pets
  • Movie night with friends
  • Have lunch with your parents
  • Call your siblings
  • Treat yourself to your favorite activity
  • If you can give, donate to a cause that you care about
  • Write a letter to your representatives asking them to show love and compassion to a worthy cause
  • Spend time volunteering in the community!

Overall, spend time with people in your life that you love (including yourself)! It can be difficult to overcome the socially imposed standards for the holiday, but I promise that some kind words and a nice deed will make anyone’s day just a little more heartwarming.

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