Redefining Self-Love

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Valentine’s Day is over. I don’t have rose petals to clean up or any pending charges on my bank account (for once). In fact, this was my first holiday celebrated in the U.K. Since moving here in September, I’ve spent Halloween in Rome and Christmas/New Year in Atlanta. Any other national holidays were just somber reminders that I wasn’t in America anymore. But who cares? London is only 20 minutes away and I had 24 hours of opportunity to immerse myself in everyone else’s lovey-dovey business. Right?

Wrong.

I blame my mother for this: as a kid, she would never allow a Valentine’s Day to pass by without showering my siblings and I with pink, red or white pajamas, heart-shaped pancakes, or at least something new and festive to go to class in. Even my years in elementary school were spent with me plotting all throughout January on who would be getting my cartoon Valentine’s cards. My teachers got gifts, my closest friends got gifts, everyone in my mother’s good graces got a gift – except for her. She always wanted to spread love but could care less about receiving it.

Which is probably why I used to go broke for any of my best friends and even some of my worst exes. With so much love inside of me, I always felt a desperate need to express it. If I loved you at all, chances are I had a hell of a surprise for you on V-Day. But on one occasion, I actually woke up surrounded by so much of my own depression that I didn’t even realize what day it was. I had just gotten out of a relationship plus my family was over 10 states away. I went and bought my little, white dog a hot pink turtleneck and just stared at her. My life was a disheveled mess that month. But I didn’t want my dog to realize that. She and I cuddled for most of that evening and I was satisfied watching her take in my love – as weak as it felt coming out of me.

So after waking up this year to no family, no partner, and no dog, I made a serious attempt to soak in the positive vibes surrounding me. Friends slid into my lonely inbox and happy couples were flooding all of my social media timelines. And it felt ordinarily great seeing so many people fight to express themselves all day. It’s a huge, social experiment if you ask me. Happy people want to show everyone how happy they’re making others/others are making them and the less happy people want to prove to everyone how this was “any other day”.

But maybe it is any other day.

Maybe you’re spending 364 days trying to remember too many other important things than to single this day out.

Maybe idolizing a naked baby with a bow and arrow on every package of chocolate isn’t how you want to spend your day.

Maybe the irony of people trying this hard to prove love that’s already there is too draining for you to watch.

Or maybe you’re just like my mom and I who believe that Valentine’s Day is just another day when giving love trumps receiving love.

Either way, after dolling myself up in soft pinks, wearing some sexy lingerie that no one’s going to see, and making a classic American cheeseburger in my little British flat, I have to admit that it was a day smothered in love..self-love.

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