It’s not Valentine’s Day as I write this post, but I’m very aware that it will go out on Valentine’s Day. So, Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
I’m also very aware that it’s Black History Month in the United States and I didn’t acknowledge that last week, so I don’t want to go another week without doing so. Though I agree that we shouldn’t need this month. Black history is American history, after all. We know that American history as it’s currently taught in our schools and elsewhere leaves out a whole lot of people who are not white, male, able-bodied and middle or upper class. So, we do need Black History Month – and others. We need special days and special celebrations to remind us of the missing voices and to help us integrate all the richness of all our stories into our understanding of our collective story. OUR-story – instead of just HIS-story.
Next week I’ll write a post that acknowledges Black History Month more directly. Because it matters. But this week, Thursday is February 14 and my last name is Valentine. So…
It was such a tough day for me growing up – well, at least once I hit around age 12 and it became about whether a boy liked me – or not. It was literally always not. I’m 51 now and I can still feel the sting of those days.
Interestingly, I had a dream last night in which I didn’t have a partner anymore and I felt great. Free. Whole. Happy.
Maybe that was a vision of the future. Perhaps I will outlive my current partner.
Maybe it wasn’t about me at all, but representative of the hope I have for all women.
Maybe somehow it was representative of what’s true for me right now even as I am also growing into a more fulfilling relationship with the partner I have.
I don’t know what the dream meant exactly but I do know that Valentine’s Day has a serious dark side, unlike the image I saw in my dream.
Because it promotes the lie that wholeness, intimacy, deep joy in relationships is unavailable to those who don’t have one dedicated romantic partner (especially if you’re a woman.) Someone to whom we made promises of commitment. Someone with whom we share a home. Or kids.
Also totally false - the idea that wholeness, intimacy and deep joy in relationship are all automatically available to those of us who do have a dedicated partner – at least, on the outside. Dedicated in that we made some promises. Or share a home. Or kids.
I have experienced the pain of loneliness and longing both in and out of a committed relationship.
AND I have experienced the freedom of choosing wholeness regardless of what’s happening in my love life.
I have learned that it’s a choice not dependent on anyone else. I can resolve (a.k.a choose with some serious courage) to “live life in its fullness” as a prayer I’ve been using lately says. And Oh, there’s so much freedom in that choice!
I think my hatred of Valentine’s Day started with those damn high school carnation sales – do they still do those in schools today? The sales that make visually evident what we all already know about who is loved and who is not.
Oh that girl. Over there. The pretty, vivacious cheerleader. Lots of boys like her. Look at her armload of carnations.
That shy, nerdy bookworm in the corner. No friends. No admirers. No carnations.
That one, over there. Well, we’re not sure she even likes boys…
Even if your high school didn’t have Valentine’s Day carnation sales, I imagine you know what I’m talking about.
I imagine you know what it’s like to believe (even for a moment) that romantic love is required as proof that you matter in the world. And that when you find a romantic partner they are then supposed to make all the loneliness and longing go away.
But you don’t have to believe those lies anymore.
You can take back the power to provide love and wholeness to yourself. To be unutterably who you were made to be.
If you’re single. It’s true for you right now.
And if you’re a woman in a relationship in which you don’t feel treasured. It’s true for you too.
I encourage you to take a step to give yourself the love and spoiling you long for today.
Don’t have much money? – not required. Give yourself a romantic walk with yourself at sunset. Give yourself a cuddle with a fuzzy blanket and buy that expensive bottled water you never let yourself purchase – or a tiny box of Godiva chocolates – just for you.
Or, you could go in a different direction and focus on showing love to someone who needs it as much as or even more than you do. (But not if you’re choosing this path out of guilt! You can totally choose to JUST spoil yourself - no self-sacrifice here please!)
But the “spoiling other people” path worked well for me alongside spoiling myself.
For fifteen years I spoiled my friends — and healed myself — by giving them a night filled with love and celebration on the day that for years had been one of pain and rejection for me. Tiffany necklaces, flowers, chocolate, messages of love, a reason to dress up, inspiration for an amazing, beautiful life with or without a romantic partner. All the things I’d longed for for 28 plus years. I gave them to myself as I gave them to my friends.
You could do an impromptu gathering tonight.
Or you could just call a friend you love and tell her that.
You could download just one track from Amanda Kemp’s Black Girl Magic for $1.00 - or the whole thing for $15.00.
If you want to invest a little more time and money, you could join Susan Hyatt’s BARE community for a little help and support on your journey towards loving your body and bringing more power and pleasure into your life. Or just listen to a couple episodes of the BARE podcast – for free.
Think you can’t do it? One of my clients would tell you can. Because she just did.
She just took a crazy, courageous step towards wholeness – a wholeness that will lead her to a moment when she can take herself out to dinner alone and feel the joy of being with herself.
She can’t do it quite yet - the dinner thing. But she will! Because she just paid for her first month of a 12-month coaching package – at great cost to herself. She’s a single mom, working two jobs (one’s a night shift.) It wasn’t easy at all for her to choose herself first. To invest in her dream. But she did it. And just in time for Valentine’s Day!
I have one space left on my roster – so if you want to talk about whether your path to wholeness includes working with me – or if you just want some help figuring out what your first step is. I’d love to talk with you. No pressure. No strings attached. Here’s the link to get on my schedule.
Or just go buy yourself some flowers. You are already whole. You are not alone. You can choose love.
I’m sending lots of it your way. Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s to thriving!
P.S. I'm doing my very first Facebook Live on Monday, Feb. 18 at 5:00 PM PT/7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET on my new Thriving 4 Equity page. I'll be sharing some ways to find clues to what's next for you when your not sure which way to go (and maybe don't even know what you want.) If you're heading towards a new chapter in your life, or are trying to decide whether to stay or go in your current job/relationship etc. take a few minutes to join me!