I am writing this on the first day of February, but I started seeing marketing for Valentine’s Day as early as New Year’s Eve. I think we’ve all learned to become more judicious in exposing ourselves to the known stressors in our lives, and for a long time, I hated Valentine’s Day. I used to dress in black every year on Feb. 14, without fail. And not just a black T-shirt—I would pull off legit funeral realness, complete with silk stockings and a bad attitude. I didn’t want to even appear to be down with what I thought was a superficial, capitalist and entirely too modern greeting-card holiday. Plus, I was always single on Feb. 14.
I now know that life is what we make it, that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, and it’s not always about raging against the dying of the light. I can just go on my merry way and keep living instead of trying to be a wet blanket every year on a day that I resent. I also resented the idea that love was an emotion exclusive to romantic couples, that I couldn’t participate in Valentine’s Day because I was single. And I didn’t want any of that “Lonely Hearts Club”-type shit, either. I didn’t want to be sad on Valentine’s Day, even if I was spending it with other singles. I now celebrate love on Valentine’s Day however I want, and I get to choose what type of love I want to celebrate. No one gets to tell any of us what to do, and that includes a mainstream media that shoves couples and lifelong monogamy down our throats. I can do whatever I want, and I want to celebrate myself and celebrate the joy of loving.
For the past few years I’ve made Valentine’s Day all about me, and it’s much more fun than believing it’s a day about couples. Adjusting my mindset around the day has allowed me to really understand that being in a relationship does not make us more whole than others, nor more worthy to be joyful on any random day of the year. I’m still annoyed by the commercialization of love and validation, and I refuse to participate in that. We can take this day and make it our own, and that can be powerful and empowering for any singles out there who, like me in the past, cringe at seeing heart-shaped boxes in January. You don’t even have to be single. Maybe your partner is a long distance away, or maybe you’re polyamorous and choose not to play favorites on V-Day.
I love myself, and I hope you love yourself, too. When was the last time you told yourself so? You can do so by treating yourself to something luxurious simply because you deserve to experience luxury. I usually get takeout from my favorite local spots, most often Maepole or The World Famous. Maybe even step it up a notch and go out for a fancy meal—I do miss consuming gorgeous cocktails and hummus plates at The National. New dining experiences can be exciting no matter the cuisine or service style, and I intend to check out Rashe’s Cuisine now that it has reopened.
When people think of self-care, they most often go straight to the image of a bubble bath or a sheet mask, but self-care is also nurturing your body in ways that don’t involve skincare. There are lots of health benefits to orgasms besides the most obvious one, and that amazingly happy post-coital feeling is because of the release of oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. You don’t need me to tell you that figuring out your own body is key to confidently sharing it with others, and you also absolutely deserve to be having amazing sex even when you’re alone. There are great toys available locally that are affordably priced, or you can have them discreetly shipped for basically every body type out there.
No matter what you’re doing on the 14th, you deserve to be enjoying it. You deserve to be happy, full stop. You are allowed to work towards your happiness and to love yourself in every healthy way imaginable. Maybe that looks like a wine dinner for one at Heirloom, or maybe it’s going to Ciné for cocktails and a movie. You are worth the money that you would spend on taking yourself on a Valentine’s date. I’m thinking that I’ll renew my Shudder subscription and find a good sushi platter to inhale. I hope you’ll eat what you want and do something that brings you joy, bodily or otherwise. We both deserve it.
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