Yesterday after work I had an hour to spare before meeting a friend for happy hour. I didn’t go home and let the Nothing take me. Instead, I walked around downtown for a while.
I’m very proud of that. I did something productive and enjoyable instead of doing nothing. And I’m also proud that, while walking, I made some realizations about Valentine’s Day.
It’s only two days away, so it isn’t surprising it’s on my mind. Damn if the thing doesn’t make itself known right? I cut the cord on cable TV over a decade ago and I subscribe to the ad-free version of Hulu. I don’t read any magazines or listen to the radio much. And still, Valentine’s Day advertising finds me.
The ads tell me I’m not good enough, as ads usually do. But what they’re trying to sell me is something money can’t buy:
Love. A romantic love with another person.
(The ideal, according to the advertisements, is heterosexual love between white people, but that’s a frustration for another time.)
First and foremost, despite all my best efforts to the contrary and many snarky comments, I do care about Valentine’s Day. This is something I haven’t admitted to myself before now. I’ve pretended it was just another day, or that I’ve been annoyed by it and it didn’t matter. Neither are true.
I care about Valentine’s Day. Both during the years with the Narcissist and the years that have followed, it has been a rough day.
My other realization was that I can do something about this. I can do all the things for myself that my ideal romantic partner would do for me.
Thus, I’ve now made plans for myself for Valentine’s Day.
I’m taking the day off from work. I will give myself a spa day, with a deep conditioning treatment, a bath, a face mask, a manicure, and so on. I’ll make myself a steak for dinner and I’ll buy chocolate cake to have for dessert.
I’ve even bought myself a thoughtful gift. I splurged on a Kindle, which I’ve been wanting for a long while anyway. (Confession: this was in part because I noticed they’re on sale on Amazon right now.)
I have plans with girlfriends for Galentine’s Day and then, the next day, I will celebrate the relationship I have with myself.
Does it sound hokey and does it make me feel a little sick with shame to admit I’m doing this for myself and am a little gleeful about it? Yes, definitely.
And yet, it’s going to help me fight the Nothing, and I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice a little ego in support of that cause.