“Everyone has a freak flag inside them. Whether they’re brave enough to show it is another matter.” Alex Lawther
A chapter from the upcoming book “My Naked Journey, Empty Nesting Without a Nest.”
I always rejected Valentine’s Day, but sometimes it turns its sweetheart venom back on me.
Was I the only one?
Miss Millennial was coming over to make heart-shaped cookies with me. Why was she an impossible love? She was my son’s girlfriend. We probably shouldn’t be buddies, but we are.
At the local market, the tall manager who had been following me around for months finally asked me a loaded Valentine’s Day question, which I’m sure was awkward and innocent,
“How many boyfriends do you have?”
My face flushed, and my words came out rambling and embarrassed. I was determined to explain myself fully.
“I had a sort of boyfriend, but he is recently out, and I have a girlfriend I’m making Valentine’s cookies with.”
His response was none. The empty silence made me babble more,
“Not that kind of girlfriend…Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of girlfriends. I just haven’t given up on men yet.”
He seemed frozen with a blank stare, somewhat dumbfounded, so I read that as a clear reason to keep going,
“But then again, I have no boyfriends. I had a couple of boyfriends, but that did not work, obviously,”
I said in an ineloquent closing to my rambling speech.
I was standing next to the flour in the baking aisle. Personal weirdness aside, why was I attempting to defend my current situation to a stranger? I didn’t even know his name. Was he wearing a name tag, or worse, a wedding ring? I didn’t dare look.
“I would love to have just one boyfriend who was all in.” could I hear myself???!!!!
Sadness overcame me. I almost started crying. Standing in front of heart-shaped candy sprinkles can do that.
“I just haven’t met him yet…I don’t think.”
I caught the sound of my statement, but there was no conviction in my voice.
I didn’t stop; what was wrong with me? This was one of those moments where I lost control, as my mouth runneth-over, stampeding down the candy aisles, crashing feelings all around (cleanup on aisle nine, bring tissues and a good shrink, is there a doctor in the house?!).
“I’m not sure if I’ll even get a valentine.” Did I just say that? This is worse than I thought.
My ranting had finally found an escape route.
“What aisle is the corn syrup on?”
Wordless, he pointed me in the right direction. After all that I said,
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” as if!
I scurried away. My words had assaulted a poor man who innocently wanted to chit-chat. I wanted to cry and grieve my loneliness. I felt sorry for myself. I was at a loss. Again.
I seriously needed to change my thoughts about this stupid Cupid guy named Saint Valentine. I imagined him with red horns and a pointy dagger. Of all people, I should not resent a day devoted to love. I loved love! Yet, the holiday was too united with commercial products and social pressure. Love pressure was way too much for me at that moment. I needed a love map or a compass to point me toward love. I wanted specific guidance.
I knew I was loved by many. I loved my friends and those who were in my life. Today was Valentine’s Day; I made it my goal to love myself. Maybe the focus shouldn’t be on being single on a holiday. It was just another day to learn about myself as an individual instead of a part of a relationship—the silly missing thing I thought made me complete.
My wiser perspective was from a mountain top, and the relationships I’d experienced had left me with knowledge about myself. It was about understanding my love languages and what truly made me happy. I was loving myself, my journey, and my now. That was love awareness.
Maybe I could have love on this dreadful day? The more I love myself, the closer I’d get.
That Valentine’s Day, I went to bed with my arms around myself. That was love enough.
I decided to shop at a different market.
My Mantra: “Single or not, love is there.”