Valentine’s Day features a lot of stuff I love: love, pink, red, hearts, chocolate, being thirsty, putting yourself out there, saying “I love you”, and playing Frank Sinatra. I’m about it. Jane Austen wrote, “we are all fools in love”, and there should be at least one day a year we all get soft and mushy enough to admit it.
When you’re single, you’re supposed to LOATHE this holiday. The expectation is heavy sighs with rolled eyes– bitter to return home to an empty bed. I never felt that way. I didn’t feel that way when I was getting rejected. I didn’t feel that way when ghosted. I didn’t feel that way when I was straight up feelin myself. I rejoice when I see how loved my loved ones are. I want you to be cheesy and gross and weird. I want you to love and be loved in your own way. And above all else, for all of you, I hope you choose someone who chooses you. How can I be bitter when love is radiating?!
But what about ME?! Well, I relished my singlehood more than I resented it. There were years I organized outings with my friends– over sumptuous meals, we’d laugh. In high school, I was with my family. My mom is as sappy as I am and goes all-in for festivities like I do. When I lived in Cleveland, I baked myself a treat and ate take-out Pad Thai while watching Netflix, and it was dope. I didn’t even have to shave my legs. February 14th was always a special day. It always had someone special even if it was just me.
Here are a bunch of dope ways to spend Valentine’s Day with or without a Boo. You gotta love yourself so good that you know when someone isn’t doing it right:
- Buy/Make a bath bomb and luxuriate in some aquatic fabulousness
- Go for a walk, a run, practice yoga, dance– something that reminds you that trillions of cells comprise you and each one loves you
- Do something creative: draw, paint, sew, write– who cares if it’s good? It is good that you’re daring to create. That’s beautiful.
- Read quality content
- Sleep ❤
- Watch your favorite movie (or The Office for the 59th Time) with take out
- Get a massage
- Call your mom and tell her you love her
- Go to a trampoline park
- Send something special to a friend who is struggling
- Go to the movies (high key, I love taking myself on dates to the movies)
- Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you
- Say thank you to someone who isn’t expecting it
- Go to a coffee shop with only a good book in your hand and steep in the rapturous moment of time you’re gifting yourself– that even in this sprinting world, you are strong enough to stand still and welcome peace with open arms and closed eyes
- Donate or volunteer for a cause.
- Visit a museum, a bookstore, an art museum– somewhere that churns the facets of your brain
- Write down all the things you love about yourself and why you’re proud of yourself
- Play with some puppies.
- Decide that you’re going on a trip this weekend, and just go.
I love love. I love all kinds of love: platonic, familial, mentorship, self-love. And every Valentine’s Day had that. We allow Romantic Love to be the headliner, the Beyonce in a Destiny’s Child scenario, but why can’t love be like The Beatles– where each member is an Icon. Yeah, maybe Romantic Love is John Lennon, Paul is Familial, our boy Ringo is platonic, and George Harrison is the uncelebrated self-love. We need all members to make the band. Romantic love does not make you whole.
Love is medicine. Love is resistance. Love is healing and forgiveness. Love is how I survived every beast intent of devouring me whole. The soundtrack of adoration is my mentor calling me twice last night after yesterday ravaged me. It’s my mom sending me care packages although I’m a grown woman. It’s my dad trying to be sympathetic despite decades of ruthless cultural programming dissuading him from that. It’s my girlfriend driving to my apartment on a Monday night because she didn’t want me to be alone. It’s the exchanges with my big brother– how honest we are because we want the best for one another. It was my family’s dog waiting at the door for me all those times I trekked from Cleveland to Indiana, arriving at 3am and she was the only one to welcome me home. Love is the social media shout outs my sisters give me that reduce me to a sobbing mess. Love is my sorority sisters still being my boss girl gang. It is my best friend hugging me so hard because we’re both still here despite it all. Love is me taking my medication every day and not beating myself up for feeding myself. How could I ever call myself unloved when a collassal amount of evidence shouts otherwise?
Everyone deserves an impassioned kiss in the rain, someone who sends them flowers, a lover who sees your good and your bad and chooses both. But don’t fool yourself into believing that you’re just waiting for someone to sweep you off your feet! Take care of yourself. Revel in the deep emotional intimacy of friendships. Celebrate the families you belong to– in whatever form they take. You’ve been loved long before you were someone’s someone. You’ll be loved if you are someone individually. You aren’t half of a whole, but an entire galaxy unto yourself.
The Valentine’s mailboxes we crafted as children have evolved into our whole lives– fill it with acts of love, of care, of messages that people matter. Because we do. We’re all weird and kinda gross, strapped with our own baggage, and still, we are lovable. There’s something breathtaking about how much we can love, even after being so broken by life, that we still get giddy over someone’s smile and go out of our way to make someone feel special. That’s not relegated to romance. It’s everywhere. And when you think about it that way, Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad. It’s pretty damn great.