I know that I’m a bit late with this post, but a part of me that wanted to address this holiday, which can be a bit of a minefield. I felt compelled to say something.
I’ve spent the majority of my Valentine’s Days alone, but I never mind. I’ve been alone long enough to have figured myself out, for the most part. There’s a lot more light in me these days, and a lot less darkness. I know how to enjoy my own company, which is not something I’ve always been able to do, and in many ways, it’s easier to be alone. There’s no stress over finding the perfect gift, snagging a last minute reservation, or making sure that the day/night are absolutely perfect. Something about the day always feels contrived.
Instead, I try and do something nice for myself. That can look like any number of things, but tonight, it feels like relaxing on the couch, ordering some takeout food, and finding a good Western. I try to do something nice for myself, to more or less take myself out on a date, and have the kind of night that leaves me feeling loved as I drift off to sleep. For me, the day isn’t a celebration of romantic love, but the concept of love in general, the kind we desperately need more of. It’s a scary world out there, and I live in a city where rudeness is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged.
In conversation with a friend, I had a realization about a previous relationship. Despite its recency, it wasn’t actually the most functional and adult relationship I’ve ever had. The healthiest I’ve been a part of ended five or six years ago, and while I knew that it had to end, I thought that each successive relationship would be a step up from the previous one, in terms of fit. This recent pairing was fraught with problems, and honestly, the biggest issue may have been me, and how much pressure I put on the situation. I was trying to making up for lost time. I needed to stop and take a deep breath, to live in the little moments that were happening every day, but instead, I pushed ever forward. There were problems that needed to be addressed, and in trying to time warp the situation, they were pushed away until they gained incredible strength, and could no longer be ignored. It all seemed fine, until it all snowballed, and everything was a mess.
In my eyes, there are two ways to look at it. I could either say, okay, I was humbled. I have a lot to learn, and I’m ready to put in the work. That’s one way. On the flip side, a part of me feels a defeated. I was very rusty, and we may have been wrong for each other, but I can’t stop fixating on how much of a disaster I was. I thought I would get closer with each relationship towards finding the right one. I’m feeling pretty discouraged, discouraged by a part of my life that I’ve often avoided. When you suck at something, it’s easy to just write it off, and to pretend you have no interest in it. It’s easy to ignore it, to pretend to be disinterested, and focus your attention elsewhere. I’ve done this numerous times.
The last kind of/sort of relationship I was in, the person checked off all of the boxes that I had, and still, it fizzled before it got off the ground. It broke my brain. I couldn’t figure out what was missing, and why this wasn’t the right fit. Rather than making consistent and steady progress, I’m left questioning everything I thought that I wanted. I finally deleted all my dating apps out of frustration, and it’s been a load off of my mind. Maybe it’s time, time to just put everything away, and to come back when I’m feeling up to it. I’ve done it before, and it usually helps. The respite is welcome in this case. It’s a chaotic mess out there, dating in your thirties.
I sit here and write this post, knowing that even though I’m alone, that I’m not bent out of shape about it. I am happy, if not elated, about my situation. I don’t know if romance is ever going to be on the docket for me, but as I sat with a friend, discussing things like death and other breezy topics, I confessed that even though I have no idea what’s coming, that I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. There is this newfound love of life that radiates throughout my body. I’m not questioning it, but rather, I am going to hold onto this feeling as long as I can, as long as it will stay, and I hope that it’s forever. I sat there, looking out over the park on an unseasonably warm February afternoon, the sun shining but obscured. I sat there not knowing what’s going to happen, and I felt invigorated.
I’m in love with my life, and I’m in love with the people in my life. I’m in love with the support I’ve received for this new adventure that I’m on, and I’m so appreciative of the friends that I’ve had for years, decades even, that have seen me in so many stages of life. They watched me struggle to find my way in my twenties. They saw me meditate and find happiness in my thirties. They watched as I completely fell apart and clung to my sanity. They watch me now as I continue to pick up the pieces and heal, as I work on letting go of the trauma that I am ready to part ways with. I don’t want to carry all of this with me for the rest of my life.
The love I have received, I cherish it. I choose to focus on the wonderful people that are in my life, who are still supporting me, that accept me, despite my copious flaws. It’s an honor to have so many incredible people in my life. I choose to focus on this love, the love that’s already here, than on the lack of love from a romantic partner. There are still unresolved issues there. I look forward to digging into this part of myself with my therapist, to figure out why relationships bring the worst parts of me to the surface. I may never find that person that’s right for me, but I know that at the very least, I want to try and deal with the stuff that comes up, rather than avoiding it. I’ve avoided this part of my life for a good portion of my 34 years, and can say with conviction that this approach isn’t working.
I hope that this V-Day, you choose to see the glass as half full, or maybe even completely full. I hope you don’t fixate on the lack of love in your life, but rather, that you become increasingly aware of just how much there is already. I have great friends and wonderful family. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Part of that is the job, but maybe the biggest part is the commitment I’ve made to myself, to take care of myself a little bit more, to rest when I need to, and most importantly, to put down the self-hatred, and pick up the self-love that we all withhold from ourselves on far too regular a basis. I don’t deserve this love deprivation, and neither do you.
Choose to see the love that is so abundant in your life. Enjoy the choices that you’ve made, the people that you’ve let in, and the people who have been with you forever. Let the day be a glorious celebration of what you have, rather than a focus on what you do not. Thanks for reading.
2 thoughts on “My Valentine”
Time and again, you craft stories from a deep emotional reserve. Thank you for choosing to share pieces of your life with us.
Your frustrations, yearnings, and worthiness are palpable. There “being a lot more light in you these days” is a delightfully nurturing and reinforcing statement. That you choose to focus on the abundant love that you have received is beautiful. And your “forever” hope is a state in which we can all relate and often seek.
There is a clear aura of gratitude in your suggesting we become increasingly aware of just how much there is in our lives. This view fills us with promise. And optimism.
Wishing you endless nights in which you feel loved as you fall asleep.
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Great writing, and there is something to the strength it takes to understand life is not about what you don’t have, but rather what lies ahead tomorrow and simply the possibilities that lie out there somewhere… I like where you discuss the fact there is a lot more light in you these days and then “I sat there not knowing what’s going to happen, and I felt invigorated. I am so excited to see how it all unfolds.” The spirit we all need in today’s world.
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