Loving

Today there are going to be a lot of Valentine’s Day writings all over the internet. Last year I wrote my favorite (to date) Valentine ever. But that was an unusually lovely time. I was living with my best friend, I was dating my (still) soon to be husband, and I was figuring it all out (still doing that too).

But, in general, this commercially (if you let it be) holiday has never been my favorite, or even one I looked forward to. As an adult I’ve spent very, very few Valentine’s Days with a significant other and in college, as I walked to class, the chalkings on the quad of “I love Melissa” or “CJ + DV = LOVE” would sometimes have my rolling my eyes, sometimes become invisible, and sometimes make me feel lonely. Did I sometimes search for my own name in the chalk graffiti? Yes. Did I know, realistically, that I didn’t know anyone who would write my name on the sidewalk? Yes. And did I, on any other week, think that these pronouncements of love were stupid? God, yes.

The truth is, I spent a lot of my 18-22 years feeling lonely. Feeling between relationships like some people are between jobs, feeling lost being so far away from where I grew up (Seattle Vs. Illinois), and feeling like I was incapable of finding the close relationships I had in high school. College was a lesson in lonely.

Grad school was different. I was in San Francisco and spent the majority of that time single and (to be honest) healing. I learned again and again how to love myself, all by myself. And then I met Kamel, through a bit of a fluke, and am now engaged. You’d think I’d be jumping for joy, feeling like I won the relationship lottery – Finally, Ladies! I’m off the market! Getting Married (with a capital M), my life is now complete! But no. If my chief identifier was as a “wife” or “married” or “engaged”, if that’s how people introduce me, or label me in their minds, that would be incredibly disappointing and frightening.

So today I’m writing about the ways I love myself while still being capable of loving Kamel.

I love the way I sing in the car. The perk of having a long commute means I can listen to a lot of music, very loud, and sing at the top of my lungs, complete with dance moves.

I like to travel spontaneously. I love to travel alone. When I can, I fly to Chicago to visit my friends, without Kamel, I run off to Salt Lake City for work, I have adventures and then I come home and tell stories.

I write. Every Saturday I write. Every morning I focus an hour on my blog. Every evening I focus on editing and more writing. Regardless of the plans that could be made, this comes first.

I read. I go to bed early, put away my phone and read. When Kamel asks, “aren’t you bored?” I say no, and keep reading.

I dress up. I wear good shoes and I pin up my hair and I throw on a flower, and I wear tights (tights!) and ruffles, and strappy bits. And I go to work, or go to a friend’s for dinner. Or take pictures in front of the mirror before changing to the next outfit. I dress up when I want to, regardless of the activity or time of day or what Kamel is wearing. He often says “You’re making me feel under-dressed.” (Not difficult) So, if he wants to keep up, that’s on him.

We do so many things as a team. There are so many aspects of my life that I need to, now, think of and view as a group decision and I love Kamel in a variety of ways. But I love me first.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

23 thoughts on “Loving”

  1. What a great post.

    Also, singing in the car may be one of the greatest pleasures in life, marred only by the weird looks you get from pedestrians at traffic lights. But I think they’re just jealous.

    Happy V Day.

  2. Love, love, love this.

    Also a car singer. It’s the part I miss about driving home alone to see my parents. I’ve come home hoarse but happy after especially long drives…

  3. This is by far the best Valentine’s Day post I’ll read today. It’s funny – shortly after I got married, I realized that I had to put more work in on ME. Not that my marriage is perfect, or that the work is done, but that a great ME would heavily contribute to a great WE (forgive the cheese… or don’t, since I could have easily and more grammatically said ‘us’ but didn’t because ‘we’ rhymed).

    Also, I too love to travel alone. I absolutely love the feeling of being all alone in an airport. The freedom! The expanse! The $6 domestic drafts!

    1. I love being alone in airports too! Airports are freeing to me, because you have all this time when nobody expects you to be doing anything at all. You just wait and kill some time.

      Though I do always wish I had someone to trade off watching luggage with.

  4. Great post, lady. I, too, am a woman who has spent a majority of her adult years “alone.” There are times when I feel lonely, but for the most part, I’m really glad I’ve had, and continue to have the time to love and learn about myself before Mr. Right comes along and we get married. I think this “alone” time is important for everyone to have at some point in their lives.

    It was really nice meeting you yesterday! I look forward to reading your future posts. πŸ™‚

  5. A-Mazing. What a great perspective on V-day, so refreshing from all the Hallmark crap everywhere…which is fun to an extent, its fun to pick out something a little cheesy and a sexy card to leave for the Hubs to find. But aside from that..heck yes, im gonna make it an all about me day. Love myself. You rock. And i, too, loooove getting in bed as early as possible and curling up with my kindle =) Its the little things. Happy Valentines Day!

  6. So, so good!

    You definitely deserve all the self-love in the world, and it’s really nice to hear specifically which things you love best. I think we could all stand to make such a list sometimes.

  7. lady, you know you are so awesome, and this post just confirms it. i love your last year’s one too, but tbh i like this one better! you are doing amazing things with your writing here πŸ™‚

    (also, “(not difficult)”? tell me about it!! πŸ˜€ i just tell him people don’t expect boys to dress up, and swan around in floaty dresses while he’s in shorts and a t shirt without minding.)

    still have so much catching up with you to do! this no internet at work thing is making me sadface. we should make an internet catchup date time! πŸ˜€

    1. I can’t keep reading “self-love” and everyone’s commenting about loving themselves without thinking something terribly inappropriate.
      I’m a 12 year old boy.

  8. What a lovely post. A great reminder. Also, totally understand the mixed feelings on Valentine’s Day–I used to HATE HATE HATE it. Now, I’m mostly indifferent. Even now that I’m in a long-term relationship, Valentine’s Day seems like a Hallmark holiday designed to make people feel lonely πŸ˜›

    And, on a totally randome not, I need to get in the habit of writing every night, without fail.

    1. Dude – I could never. EVER write fiction every day. It’s just not in me, no matter how many professors told me “Lauren, you have to get into a routine and write EVERY DAY!” My brain just doesn’t work that way. I need thoughtful time. I need long walks, and quiet moments. But I guess technically I write every day, I just don’t make things up every time.

      So find what works for you and don’t let other people (or yourself) guilt you into otherwise.

      1. Very sage advice πŸ™‚

        I try to get myself to write on the bus, but most times I can’t read my hand writing afterwards due to all the bouncing around. Ha.

  9. Ooooo I love this! Thank you for the reminder! I’d like to make a list of reasons why I love myself too. This seems like a FABULOUS exercise. πŸ™‚ For reals.

    Also – I absolutely LOVE singing in the car. I have had super long drives the past three weekends in a row – alone. So I was a singing maniac. Makes me so darn happy. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the post. Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovely ladies! πŸ™‚

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