Motivational Speaker Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

I remember growing up and listening to my mom tell my dad that she didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day – flowers were too expensive – and then she’d complain when Valentines Day arrived and he didn’t get her anything. And her friends would shake their heads in sympathy and give Dad disgusted looks as if to say, “How could you?” My dad was not one for outward displays of affection. He had pretty much one expression growing up and that was disgusted. I knew he loved me, and that was enough. But sometimes I would wish that he would be like the other dads.

Valentine’s Day has always been a thorn in my side. When you’re the kid in school who looks like Androgynous Pat from Saturday Night Live, you can rest assured that you won’t be getting any valentines. This was long before they set that “everybody gets a valentine” rule. Back before students started dating their teachers. So it was a holiday that always reminded me that I didn’t have a boyfriend. And the trend continued through college, and through most of my single years too. And the classroom scene played out over and over in every office I worked in, where the other girls would squeal as a floral arrangement tied to a teddy bear was delivered to the front desk and they skipped up front to pick it up. And I had daydreams of their picnic under the stars getting rained out.

But there was this one Valentine’s Day I’ll never forget. It started like any other “oh crap it’s February 14th, my life sucks” day. No boyfriend in the picture. No boy with a crush. Shoot, I couldn’t even get a stalker. I know, because I tried. Long story. So I’m trudging into the office, at least thankful that I was currently working for my dad, and there was not another female in the building to squeal at the arrival of the cute delivery guy in the brown shorts carrying a stupid pajama-gram. Who’s idea was that? When did pajamas get ranked up there with chocolate, roses, and kisses that belong to Kay? I know. I was bitter.  I was convinced that I my destiny involved twenty seven cats, moth-scented cardigans, and staring at a television set that wasn’t turned on.

I get to my desk and there’s a card on it. With my name on the front. A greeting card. I felt like Julia Roberts in every movie she’s ever done. I looked out the window to see if Ricard Gere was peeking out of the top of a limo, but all I saw was the bearded guy who hung out in front of the drug store talking to himself on Wednesdays, who I’m ashamed to admit I probably would have gone out with if he’d asked. But he didn’t. Apparently even he had his standards. I opened the card slowly, having a flashback of the time Sonny Grant sent me a note in the school cafeteria asking if I would go to the dance with him. Sonny Grant. The cutest most popular boy in school. I still remember them all laughing when I rushed up to him excitedly, and his friend said, “As if he would really ask you to the dance!” And Sonny looked at me like I was something he had peeled off his shoe.

I opened the card and saw that it was a valentine. Just a simple card with a heart on the front. And inside it said, “I just wanted you to know that I love you. I am proud of you. And I am proud of your character. Love, Dad.”

That was the day I stopped hating Valentine’s Day. That was the day I realized that there is love out there in abundance. It’s just that sometimes we are looking in the wrong places.

So in case this Valentine’s Day is coming around and you are feeling lonely or unloved. Please don’t. I promise that somebody out there loves you VERY much. And there will be others too – that you haven’t even met yet. Love is out there for you in abundance. It’s closer than you think. Just believe. And start looking in other places.

Love Your Wacky Motivational Speaker Who Loves You – Even If We’ve Never Met,
Kelly Swanson


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. I LOVE this story, Kelly. You are such an inspirational motivational speaker and a great REMINDER-ER of what’s really important. I remember as a little girl clinging to my little valentines as if each one was a declaration from the heavens that somebody liked me. I wouldn’t actually say “love” but at least “liked enough” to get on the distribution list. We’ve ALL experienced the feelings you talked about in this blog. Nice to know we are not alone! Thanks!

  2. Thanks Linda. My heart aches for the woman (or man) who is sitting out there feeling lost and alone – forgotten – unloved. And doesn’t know that they might be days away from meeting someone who will bring joy and happiness to their life. Thank God for people like you, who notice the ones others don’t notice. Who see your chance to help and make a difference. It’s actually you who inspires me to stop and look around at my neighbor who may be hurting. It’s those tiny acts of kindness that can mean the world to someone else – and add far more value than I could ever add from the stage. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Kelly, your words are so powerful it’s no wonder you became a motivational speaker! As someone who never had a date on Valentine’s Day until almost 30 years old, I attacked it from the other side always rallying girlfriends to simply get together and celebrate LOVE. Not a date, not flowers, not a card. But LOVE. Back then, I could always count on a little package to show up in the mail containing tiny candy hearts from my Mom. Like your Dad’s card, it was really all I needed. Big Valentine’s Day hugs to my motivational speaker girls!

  4. You know, Colette. Maybe our past is one reason we became motivational speakers. It gave us an empathy for lonely hurting people and a desire to encourage them. One more reason I say thank you God for making me the picked-on kid. If I had been the super popular cheerleader with tons of friends (not that there’s anything wrong with that) I would not be who I am today – a motivational speaker – aka, a super popular cheerleader with lots of friends.

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