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Archive for the tag “valentine’s day”

I Love Others Better When I’m Loving Myself

Photo credit: Dan/freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit: Dan/freedigitalphotos.net

I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to work out. I just didn’t want to.

But I did.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day and I love myself.

I finished the workout and I felt good.

I was glad I loved myself enough to do what I was supposed to do for myself and my body.

In my Facebook status, I told folks to remember that love never fails, and to celebrate love in all of its manifestations in your life. Be it friends, family, and yourself.

Do not make today just about romantic love. Or dwell on the fact that you have it, or you don’t.

Celebrate love period. Celebrate it with your parents, call your grandparents if they are still alive.

Call your old play cousin.

Give your kids a candy heart or a bear. My dad did this every year in my house and I wrote a very long and heartfelt blog about how this influenced me last year. Folks really responded to it and it was so touching to me.

Tell your close friends you love them.

A dear friend of mine and I were talking about how special it was that our dads gave us valentines every year growing up.

She lost her dad when we were in college, and the memory made her cry. I told her it’s ok to be sad, but also just be thankful that you knew he loved you and showed you how a man is supposed to love and honor you. We were on the phone and I felt so bad I couldn’t hug her. So we stopped talking about it.

When I saw her a few days later, I snuck a saucy valentine’s day card in her work bag.

She saw the card yesterday and she thanked me. She’s going to drop by some valentine’s cupcakes for me today.

That means something.

I will be making dinner for the boo thang. It’s cool, but it’s not a super, big deal.

I did actually wear red and pink today and I feel cute. I found some red pants from Target for like $12 bucks. I’m rocking it hard. And rocking my red lip. Fun times.

Also in my Valentine’s status today, I said that the first person we need to say I love you to, today is the person looking at us in the bathroom mirror.

I can say, flaws and all, I love myself. I love my God and I love my friends and family. It’s not about a man. I’m happy that I can spend the day with someone I like spending time with, but I think if I wasn’t in the early stages of dating someone, I’d feel the same way I feel today and that’s a huge deal and it’s something to be proud of. The more I love myself, the more I can share love with others and give it freely and not fear being hurt or taken advantage of. The more I love myself, the more I can be patient and compassionate with others when they need a little extra love and attention and it won’t cost me anything, it won’t be as emotionally taxing.

Think of the times you are stressed out, and unhappy with your life or yourself. Any problem the people in your life have, it feels ridiculously heavy. You are almost angry with them that they are going through drama at the same time, because you know you can’t give your best to them.

I love the book the Five Love Languages, but for real. You have to fill your own love tank too and do things for yourself, that you know you enjoy and love.

Get your massage. Try a new fragrance. Order from your favorite take out for lunch. Work out. Write a list of things you like about yourself. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Wear your favorite outfit. Listen to your favorite music. Talk to a person in your life that you admire. Be like me and marvel at some new furniture and be happy about the abundance in your life where ever you can find it.

So, today I’m commanding you fabulous folks to look at yourself and love what you are looking at, then smile.

I looked in the mirror with my red lip, dressed and ready to go to work. And oh so quietly I whispered, “I love you.” I watched myself smile and laugh a little, then I turned out the light, grabbed my keys and marched out the door.

Birthday-Holiday Shaftle

One of my dear and longest-known friends birthday is December 30th.

For years, I’ve told that dude I feel horrible for him because I know people try to play him with that “Oh, this is your birthday-slash-Christmas gift.”

People born within a week of that holiday are going to get screwed no matter what. You know why? Because people can’t resist twofers, and people who do take the time to spend money on the two individual occasions tend to burn out after a while.

Lots of people take the easy route.

As a person whose birthday comes a week before Valentine’s Day, I tend to wonder if my suitors are ever tempted to do the birthday-Valentine’s Day combo.

I have been fortunate. The men I have claimed around Valentine’s Day have made them separate occasions and given me gifts accordingly. As they should. I mean, it’s not like I’m the only one collecting a gift, or the day is just about me. I’m going to be doing something nice for them too.

But I have seen that as a woman, getting a man a gift for Valentine’s Day is rough. Silk boxer shorts are to mens Valentine’s Day gifts as corny ties to Father’s day.

Jewelry and flowers and candy and a night out never get old to us women, but finding ways to excite and connect with the man you like in the form of a gift is hard.

What should men get for Valentine’s Day? That they’d actually enjoy?

I think it’s narcissistic to think greasing up and putting on some lacy underwear and prancing about for your man is a gift.

I think men love food.

So, I think cooking a nice meal or if you bake, baking him desert is a great idea. If you want to wear your fancy panties then, that’s a gift.

There have been a few times I’ve crashed and burned on Valentine’s Day.

One year, my beau mentioned he likes Oreo cookies. So I looked up a cookie site, and they had valentine’s Oreos. Well, I sent them, but he wasn’t very appreciative. Honestly, I think he took me to a lovely sushi restaurant the day before Valentine’s Day so we could beat the crowds.

How romantic.

I thought the cookies were thoughtful, I thought it showed that I remembered something he liked. But I guess it was all wrong. There were a few gifts over the course of our relationship that he didn’t like and I’m glad we aren’t together anymore because he was quick to show how much he was underwhelmed and disappointed, hence making me feel shitty.

I had another boyfriend back in the day who always said the best gifts, in his opinion, were experiences (i.e. concerts, shows). He said anytime he could actually go out and do or see something special with someone, that’s how he preferred spending his time and money.

Then there are some men, where it really doesn’t matter what you get them. If they are smitten by you, they are glad you even thought of them.

I think I’ve dealt with all types.

That brings me to this year. Boo thang (we are still not official) waited too late to get tickets for a concert tomorrow night, so he has offered to take me to another show, by another artist who I love during the week of Valentine’s Day. Now the concert tix, I believe are a birthday gift.

So this is why I’m wondering if this is going to be a Valentine’s birthday combo. I mean we aren’t official, so should I not even care if this does serve as a Valentine’s birthday combo? I may have to accept it that way. Being that we aren’t official.  It’s weird, being with someone in a non-official capacity means the expectations you place on someone you are official with aren’t there.

Because you aren’t official.

But at the same time, I could be and should be taking advantage of our non-officialness, by not even worrying about it and letting the chips fall where they may.

Case in point.

We still haven’t exchanged our Christmas gifts.

Don’t know if he even bought me one. He says he did. He’s been to my house numerous times and he won’t take my gift, until we can exchange.

Don’t know how to feel about this.  I bought the gift with him in mind, I’d like him to have it, but it just feels absurd. It’s about to be February.

Before the holidays, he said he wanted to take me to his office holiday party in January. Well January is almost over, and I don’t think they canceled the party. Now being non-official, should I care that he never brought the party up ever again?

I’m not some person who just wants gifts all the time. But if I’m spending time with you and trying to build something, I do want to exchange some small token that says, “you’re specialer than everyone else because we are dating.”

I talked to my bestie about how I think things are at a crawl and how being the queen of long distance has ruined me and skewed my view on everyday, local relationships and the excitement factor.

She basically looked at me and said, yup. There’s a lot of just down time. When you went to visit your long distance men on weekends, yall were trying to be happy, spend time and ignore any drama because that’s the only face time you had, and within 72 hours you’d be apart again. It was exciting.

The day-to-day is not. My homie looked at me point blank and said, local, everyday relationships are more often boring than they are exciting.  Well damn.

Realizing this makes me do a dance that my engagement imploded. My expectations were going to be wayyyy unrealistic and waaay off and I was going to be waay miserable in cold ass Chicago.

My cousin also mentioned that the snail’s pace of this relationship, may in fact be just what I’ve needed to snap me into reality and reprogram me in terms of expectations.

We shall see.



A Girl’s Original, Ultimate Valentine

For a single chick who has no man, no prospect of a man and who endured a broken engagement at the start of 2011, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m in an excellent mood.

I’m not drunk. I’m not on any prescription medicine.

I do think it’s life. I do think it’s maturity. Sometimes you just have to be happy where you are and take advantage of what your current situation offers you. I’ve been having that revelation over and over.

So to the couples and all of the people in love, that’s fantastic. Enjoy yourselves and each other.

I think I feel so good today because my dad taught me to feel good about myself through Valentine’s day and every day.

Every year, my dad knew what the deal was.

He had three females in his house. The toilet seat stayed down; me, my mom and sister went to the beauty salon on certain Saturdays and he stayed home to wash cars and mow the lawn and we all got a card and chocolates or a stuffed animal EVERY YEAR for Valentine’s Day.

The man trained me well in self-esteem. From teaching me how to ride my bike, helping me up when I fell down, to telling me not to dance with boys at my first sixth grade dance– especially NOT slow songs, he set the groundwork for how I saw myself and how the man I choose needs to see me.

I didn’t know it back then, but my dad was a teacher in this regard. When I was eating at the dinner table as a preteen, my father would check me every time my fork would scrape my teeth. For some odd reason, I would pull the fork through closed teeth with each bite. He’d say, “some day you are going to go on a date and no man is going to want to hear that every time you go out to eat.”

I stopped right away.

My dad is a stickler for hair. Even now, I get my hair done before I go to visit home. In high school, when I chopped my shoulder length tresses to a short almost pixie, he didn’t speak to me for two weeks. And would ask “when is it going to grow back?”

My mom hates the mall. Prior to online shopping, that woman was the catalogue queen. I’d mark the pages and she’d make the call!

My dad on the other hand, will leisurely stroll through the mall and that’s what we’d do to hang out. We still do it every time I’m home. He taught me the art of waiting out sales. But he was also doing something else, that genius. Because we were out shopping together, he did have a hand in my fashion sense in a quiet, sneaky way without seeming like an overbearing dad that didn’t want me to look attractive to boys. He took pride in the beautiful women in his life looking beautiful, and beautiful was how he wanted us to present ourselves. Anything short of that (jeans that were too tight, shorts that were too short, revealing sexualized clothing), in his opinion was disrespectful to the natural beauty he saw in us and wanted others to see, admire and respect too.

Both my parents helped me pick out my prom dress and my dad actually picked out my shoes in Bakers that I didn’t even notice. They matched perfectly and were really, really cute!

Not only in clothing, but we’d play basketball in our back yard and neighborhood courts and we would even play pickup games usually against other boys and men and we’d win or it would be a really close game! He never told me to sit out and watch, instead we were strategic. Our passing game and pick and roll was sick! Talk about building confidence!

He was there to watch me sing, get awards, he was there when I failed miserably. He worked with me tirelessly on science fair projects and told me to stand up for myself on the playground. He told me not to give up when I struggled with my times tables. He always told me I was smart and beautiful.

Our bond was even stronger during a difficult time when my mother became ill and began to struggle with mental and emotional disorders when I was a teen. As he stood by her through her most difficult and erratic phases– which he continues to do, he showed me what true, unconditional love truly is.

When I struggled with the notion of staying home with him to care for her and not go away to school, he refused. He told me I had to live my life and go after my dreams with ferocity.

My father may have ruined me for any man after being such an example. He is far from perfect and he articulates his shortcomings so accurately, and so honestly, often saying that he wishes he could be even more for my family which I think is just impossible for him to do. His love has always been more than enough, overwhelming even, humbling, intimidating, because I don’t know if I can ever be as selfless as him.

Through the years I felt his frustration, I admired his loyalty and his strength and his compassion and patience.

My sophomore year of college we had finished moving me in the dorm and I was sad to see him go. We hugged and strangely at the same time said in each other’s ear, “You are my hero.” We both looked at each other surprised and with tears in both of our eyes, we embraced again. I cried all the way back up to my room. I knew that man loved me like no other. How could I be his hero? What have I really done? I know he was proud of me, but I wasn’t a rich media giant yet, who could start repaying him for his sacrifices, his hard work so he can finally relax.

One of the most recent moments where I even said, “this seems like something out of a sappy romantic movie” was when I was late for my bus back to the D.C. area. My father usually can find a parking space in NYC to see me off, but my bus was there and ready to go. I had to jump out, while he continued to circle and search.

I thought for sure, I wouldn’t be able to hug him as usual and say goodbye. I got on my seat and just before the bus pulled away, there he was jumping up, banging on the window, waving, smiling and saying “love you babe!” Keep in mind, I was in the aisle seat and had to apologize to my seat mate who fortunately thought it was sweet and smiled.

That’s my dad.

He’s going to make it happen. He’s going to show that he’s always going to be there.

That’s why no matter who I end up with, my dad is going to always be my original, ultimate Valentine.

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