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It’s Valentine’s Day and aside from the chocolate, I don’t see the point. In grade school we swapped cards and candy, and if only for that first few minutes in class, everyone loved us. But we’re grown up now, and things are different. We’re swamped by diamond jewelry ads, talking Hallmark cards and teary-eyed commercials pandering to us all day long. Hmpf.
My thing is: love is an around-the-clock, unmufflered affair in that it’s noisy and indelicate and unlike anything Hollywood would have us believe. Love works us, heals us, and tips us like gravy boats, allowing our best flow out to the ones closest to us. It’s confusing, deeply soaring, and when it’s real, it could give a damn about greeting cards, candy and pop songs.
The other day a frustrated friend texted me asking, HOW CAN I MAKE A MAN LIKE ME. To the extent that she was saying, All I want is a few good dates and not all of the mindgame-y aloof bs, she was kind of joking. And to the extent she was saying, What is wrong with me that I can’t meet a guy who seems the least bit interested, she was absolutely not joking. My friend is representative of most women I know: she’s smart, funny, loving, beautiful, super creative, one of a kind, kind and doubting how awesome she is. And that’s what’s upsetting.
To the scary parts in all of us, to those scabbed-over wounded pieces lodged so dee that we’ve long forgotten they’re there, let me just say, You rock, you look fabulous, and the world is waiting for you to show us how it’s done. I want to say, Come on out and do your thing. Because we need you. And this: The fact that you doubt yourself sometimes means you’re normal. I mean, look what we’re up against with all of the messages that want us to believe the lies about what we can become. Oh, and this too I want to say: The fact that you have enough self-awareness and humility to think you’ve got room to grow is exactly the thing that makes you perfect! That plus the fact that you’ve got a great ass.
My friend’s question, again, representative of so many people’s questions about the same thing, made me think about how rampant this idea of being unlovable is. I thought more about the messages we get that only serve to whack us in ads and magazines and songs. Pop songs. And bam, Whitney Houston.
Pop’s First Lady of Song, The Original Queen of the Night, may have gone on too soon, but she left me a soundtrack that would play out in the backdrop of my love life in all of its joy and nonsense, ecstasy and depth, and I’d like to share a little bit of it–and the lessons offered up in the process.
I’m Saving All My Love for You
There’s this idea that we store up all the love in side us for the one day when that special someone rides into our lives on a chariot of fire, or on a crack of lightning, to deliver us into forever land. (insert losing game show buzzer sound here) I’m of 2 minds on this: 1.) It’s better to share the love you have now rather than later. Everyone is worthy of love, and when we give it, it just makes us better. Period. Doesn’t if feel good to get it? Then give it and watch how it boomerangs on you in surprising corners of your life. Why wait for The One before you start loving and living like you mean it? 2.) If this is about celibacy, then, yeah, handle your business. And keep on loving from your heart while you’re at it!
Why Does It Hurt So Bad
Coming off of the celibacy thing, I realize this could be misconstrued in its meaning, but we’re talking about heart here, folks. So knock it off. Beat it, you smartasses. Seriously. Ever been in love with someone who was about as loving as a feral dog trapped in a corner, baring its teeth at you? This is the equivalent of a wounded lover we’re trying to rescue. Only we can’t see it when we’re in love with is potential. Trust me, this scenario isn’t good for either of you, so spare yourself some hurt by holding out for the love you deserve.
How Will I Know?
How many years have I wasted on this one, people? Did what he had said mean he loves me? Was he interested when he looked at me like that at the club and took my number last year? Maybe his SIM card fell out and he lost my number? I think we were flirting, but when he put his arm around me, he tucked in the tag in the back. You think he wants me? He’s a real sweetheart; he does my hair for free. Yeah. Shit like that. So, let me save you some time on this one, kay? Here’s how you know if he loves you or loves you not: ASK HIM.
Where Do Broken Hearts Go?
Survey says they go to bars and clubs and they migrate like hell to online dating sites. If the object of your affection is acting on unfinished business, forgetting your name (your name is not Susan! (Unless it is.)), or worse, calling you his ex’s name, and seems unable to connect with you in a healthy loving way, then he may need time to deal with what’s eating him. And the same goes for you. Please do not unleash yourself of the dating population without having taken stock of your stuff. No one wants to be punished for what the last one did. We all deserve a chance to fuck up or fly on our own merits.
I Have Nothing (If I Don’t Have You)
Somebody bring me my buzzer for this one! For every time my mother asked me if I’d met Mr. Wonderful, and I told her I hadn’t, she’d say something like, Well, you can do bad all by yourself. Uh, thanks ma? I don’t have time enough to address the whole premise of low expectation on that one, so I’ll just deal with the other part. It’s true that having a partner who is not adding value to your life, or enhancing the wholeness you already feel about yourself, is a good indicator that you’re not working with much. And if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a nobody without the object of your affection, you might be a stalker or borderline personality and I just can’t help you.
Didn’t We Almost Have It All?
This is another time suck and I advise you to turn tail and run if you find yourself in love with the “story” of someone rather than who he or she truly is. Looking good on paper does not a great relationship make. And hanging on to the hope of what he said he was going to do without ever having any proof of it should be proof enough that you’re living the dream, and not a good one. What’s worse is if you’ve left the relationships yeeeeears ago and you’re still holding on in your mind, shutting yourself off from the love that’s waiting for you. Please, honey, keep it moving. That was One Moment In Time, and you owe it to yourself to embrace new Good Love, don’t you?
My Name Is Not Susan
If you’re beloved doesn’t know your name, then the relationship might be at a bit of an imbalance. And you may need medication. Otherwise, if you’re involved with someone who refuses to see the beauty of who you are, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. Real love meets people where they are and accepts them as is. It softens us, opens us to each other in ways that make us feel good–and better. Not in a cotton candy Lifetime TV way, but Love reminds us of the way things could be in a perfect world. It’s the Heaven on Earth deal.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)
If you’re ‘feeling heat after’ your dance, you may want to see a doctor. Remember to exercise safety and precaution when you ‘dance’ too. And may I say, Good for you if you know how you want to be treated and you carry yourself accordingly. This is the key. I find that accepting oneself first is a great aphrodisiac. It’s the oozing comfort and confidence in simply being that resonates warmth and accessibility in any situation. It’s wildly attractive and it rings out as clear as a dog whistle to likeminded mates who pick up on that signal.
Wherever you are in your romance life right now, I wish you lots of love and an equally amazing soundtrack.
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