Spoiler alert: Valentine’s Day isn’t really all that special to me. I clearly don’t have anything going on romantically – no boyfriend, boo or crush to annoyingly walk hand-in-hand with. (Editor’s note: You have Michael Ealy!!!) Last year, I went out to dinner with my homegirl Lenia, and though everyone around us was coupled up, we still had a blast. This year, it’s just me, myself and I. And I’m starting to realize that that might be best…not just on February 14, but for a little while.
A few weeks ago, after posting about a particular douche, a reader suggested that I follow Bereolaesque, an author and fellow HBCU grad, on Instagram. “Even though you aren’t hooking up with all these guys you write about, these small daily reminders about self-worth and confidence might help you avoid another Peter situation,” she wrote. So I did. His Twitter and Instagram pages are filled with tons of insightful rules and reminders for “gentlewomen” that shouldn’t settle for less.
“Sometimes you have to pick your own flowers,” he wrote four weeks ago. “Never wait on anyone else to love you before you do. Be too preoccupied with loving yourself to simply be swayed by some simpleton’s swagger. A woman who knows how to enjoy her own company is a damn attractive woman. It’s no wonder ‘me’ comes before ‘men.’ In order to secure the latter, you must secure the aforementioned.”
Honestly? I’m still working on loving me, inside and out. There are some days that I absolutely adore myself – like on Monday, when I Instagrammed a duck-lipped-in-faux-fur restroom selfie on break at my internship – and others that I don’t. Some moments when I feel like I can take on the entire universe and others when I don’t feel like leaving the confines of my comfy bed. I know that those ups and downs are normal and that everyone has them…even Beyoncé. And she’s Beyoncé. But scrolling down Bereolaesque’s timeline made me realize that I can’t expect someone to love me or even like me properly if I’m not doing the same thing for myself.
So yes, I’m my own Valentine this year. I know that it’s the automatic solution for most single – *cough* and bitter *cough* – folks, but it’s deeper than chocolates, cards and all that jazz. It’s about love – loving me. It’s due time to turn things around in all aspects, especially since I’m turning 23 on Sunday – more fruits and veggies and less cookie dough donuts (SHUT UP DON’T JUDGE YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO TRY THEM TOO), more rest and less late-night tweeting (#vamplife #turndownforwhat? #theysleepwegrind) – you know, little things that’ll make me a better me for me and not for anyone else. I want to be able to sing the words to “***Flawless” and actually mean them.
Boys come and go but at day’s end, I’m all that I’ve got. Accepting these lame excuses and settling for way less than I deserve is not only undateable behavior…but it shows that value myself as much as the guys that I’m dealing with, which obviously isn’t much. Self-acceptance is a process that won’t happen overnight…I know what I’m dealing with. But kudos to that reader who told me to “fix my crown” – an appropriate reminder for the day of love and before I begin my Jordan Year.
Happy Valentine’s Day, CollegeCandy!
When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea, a recent Howard University graduate, moonlights as a magazine intern and a freelancer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.