Funnily enough, I used to wear black on Valentine’s Day. It began in my 20s as a sort of protest against the pressure the day brought upon single women and men, as if they were somehow deficient grays among all that red and pink. I experienced a childhood where our middle and high schools would announce the names of girls who had received flowers in the front office over the loudspeaker, and my name was never called. That embarrassment and resentment built to the point I shortened the name to VD as a joke, no longer a fan of what the day was intended for. Little did I realize, I was fighting back against the wrong people.
I have been single longer in my life than I have been with anyone, yet I am satisfied with how things have turned out. That’s because I’ve learned it doesn’t matter if you’re single or with someone, because your life is a reflection of you. You don’t have to be single to be miserable, and being single doesn’t automatically bring misery. How you feel about yourself is the most important thing on this amorous holiday, because how you feel about yourself is the catalyst to what you end up finding in your life.
Women in particular need to understand this point. We’ve been trained to be the sacrificial lambs of society, exerting most of our energy to make sure other people are happy. No wonder we expect a balance, for the world to see to and meet our needs. Yet, we eventually learn that the people we take care of aren’t necessarily looking back our way to make sure we’ve caught up.
It gets worse for women as we get older. We are not only bombarded by the messages of youth and beauty standards, but we’re also told that we no longer fit into these categories of desire. Aging out of societal value is a bitter pill to swallow once you reach middle age.
That’s why my former radio colleague, Jenn Hobby, and I have launched a new podcast, called “The Friendzy.” We are changing the conversation around age so that women can feel empowered by their experiences and will never again skip a birthday or lie about how old they are. For more information on the podcast, go to theFriendzy.com.
I’m not sure how we got into the habit of looking everywhere else for our happiness. Lesbians and gay men certainly suffer from this desperate search, especially if our coming out process didn’t go well or if we aren’t out of the closet at all. It’s a difficult process to make the shift from being under the spell of those who don’t satisfy our needs to loving ourselves enough to be happy alone. But that is the real key to true love, not flowers or cards or candy. What true love really looks like is your reflection in the mirror first thing in the morning looking back at you with a big smile, grateful that you get to be you for another day.