Valentines’ Day is officially 10 days away and it’s around this time that we start becoming inundated with social media posts filled with happily loved up couples going on holiday, having dinner or being proposed to (cue the ‘Boy’s done good’ captions), brands reposting love-related memes, and absolutely incredible price surges for chocolates and flowers. Yes, what was originally supposed to be a festival to celebrate the arrival of Spring has now turned into a commercial holiday aimed at showing your beloved how much you mean to them (because every other day in the year isn’t enough?) and an opportunity for brands and companies to sell as many products and items of clothing as possible. Pfft.
If it sounds like I’m hating, it’s because I am; thank you very much.
With this being my third year being single during Valentine’s day *bearing in mind that I’ve only celebrated Valentines’ Day twice in my entire 30 years of being a human being* I’m already beginning to feel those prickly ‘forever alone’ vibes on the back of neck, and may probably just delete Instagram for the day, lest I see countless IG stories of couples – WHO I AM INCREDIBLY HAPPY FOR BTW – and proceed to crumple into a heartbroken heap.
What’s been great though, is the rise of events such as Galentines’ Day – a nonofficial holiday started around 2014 which takes place the day before Valentine’s day to celebrate friendship and singledom. Cool idea right?
With the rise of the 2nd wave feminist movement over the past 5 years or so, we’ve also seen a rise in discussing topics including self-care and self-love. Women can be great alone. We can be independent and we don’t need anybody! We can love ourselves, validate ourselves, pleasure ourselves and be there for ourselves. We can buy lingerie for ourselves, instead of getting it for a partner, and one of my favourite tips for feeling confident and improving my body image is to just lay around in pretty bits of lingerie. Take a couple pics or so, and just CHILL. Let your body marinate in all the fine silks and lace because it’s what you deserve! Here I’m wearing the Curvy Kate Sparks Fly Bodysuit with some stockings from Lovehoney and I feel quite pretty tbh. 🙂
We are slowly beginning to change the conversation about what it means to be in a relationship, as well as what it means to be single. Women no longer have to bend to societies’ conventions of having to be coupled up and settled down before a specific age, or well, at any age at all.
As someone who has been perpetually single, I for one am embracing the self-love and self-affirmation. It’s taken me an incredibly long time to learn how to be okay on my own, and to see myself as a whole. Growing up, I had to watch my peers, friends and family members date, have fun, ho around, find partners, settle down and have families and for me, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find it pretty painful to watch from the outside. I’ve never had those playful, flirtatious moments with a guy. I’ve never had butterflies. I’ve never known what it’s been like to know that someone genuinely likes and wants to actively pursue me. I, unfortunately, missed that boat and as a 30-year old I do sometimes wonder if love is something that’ll ever find.
Over the last 10 years, however, my journey towards self-love has helped heal a small part of the gaping wide hole in my heart. I’ve learned how to just *be* enough on my own. Years of having no friends and no support system meant that I’ve always been incredibly independent anyway, but I had to learn how to exist without thinking that I needed validation from men, and it’s been okay so far I suppose? Learning how to make yourself a priority is THEE most important thing, because at the end of the day, the only person you can ever really rely on, is yourself. With that being said, it’s incredibly important to treat yourself with care, comfort, love and support. Feminism if anything, has taught us over the last few years that we can absolutely be strong, independent entities on our own, who can go on to live our best lives.
It’s also OK to want to be loved. There have been times when I mention wanting to feel loved or just a general feeling of intimacy with someone, only to for someone to respond with ‘you don’t need a man to make you complete!’ or ‘focus on self-love!’. Well duh. The two feelings are not mutually exclusive, so I’m here to lay it down:
You CAN love yourself wholeheartedly and also want external, romantic love.
As I mentioned earlier, I almost feel like my situation is a bit unique as I’ve been alone for most of my teenage and adult life. I don’t know what it feels like to be flirted with because aside from the shitty guys who have fat girl fetishes or the 50+ year old weird Uncles, I don’t get chatted up. Ever. I don’t really date. I’ve never had anyone actively like or pursue me. I’ve never had butterflies.
My last crush was on my ex back in 2014, and generally, I’m not really seen as ‘desirable’ in the eyes of men, so I feel as if I’m perfectly qualified to want to feel at least some intimacy before I die. I should be allowed to want to know what it feels like to be in love, and just because I do, it doesn’t mean I don’t love or value myself. I want to be taken out on dates, feel butterflies, stay up all night talking on the phone like they do in the movies. I want to feel attractive to someone, flirt with them, do fun things and plan exciting trips out with them. I want to feel wanted, adored, liked and seen. Who doesn’t? These are perfectly valid, human wants and needs, and I think it’s incredibly patronising for people who have had these experiences, to look down on those who yearn for it.
Everyone is deserving of love at the end of the day, regardless of if they are with a partner or not. So this Valentine’s day, if you’re spending it alone treat yourself to some amazing self-care, put on your favourite outfit and so things that make you happy!