Valentine’s Day displays and decorations trigger trauma


Photo by Nyan Clarke

Dara Rosen

Photo by Nyan Clarke

Feb. 14,  is not just another day, it’s Valentine’s Day, a Hallmark holiday that is advertised for months in advance. Scrolling through Twitter I am faced with posts about what to buy your valentine and where to take your valentine and even accounts like Parkland Talk advertising Valentine’s Day sales and celebrations.  Having gone through a traumatic event on Valentine’s Day, I don’t think I will ever get over the rest of the world celebrating a “day of love” when I and the rest of my school are mourning the anniversary of 17 deaths and our normalcy being stolen.

I walk into places within just a few miles from my high school and am confronted with huge, extravagant Valentine’s Day displays and find it overwhelming and insensitive. Going back to the site of a mass shooting day in and day out is a struggle enough, we should be able to go into other local places and not be constantly reminded of that horrible day.

As soon as I see these displays my day is immediately ruined, and in my mind, I go back to Feb. 14, 2018, and am once again trapped in a dark room for hours. Even walking into local restaurants has become difficult because instantly I see their decor and am reminded of that frightful and tragic time in my life. When my friends and I just want to live our lives as normally as possible, it’s nearly hopeless when reminders of this traumatic time are consistently thrown in our faces.

It has only been a year since the shooting and it seems as though even our own community has forgotten that we are still here and still struggling every day. Most of these businesses are within walking distance from my school, and while I understand that they are just trying to make money or be in the “spirit of love,” that is no longer what the once cheesy, fun holiday of Valentine’s Day means for many of us.