Tag Archives: valentine’s day

My Evolving Thoughts on Valentine’s Day & Being Single

I’ve blogged now for more than a decade. I have written ALL the Valentine’s Day postings. Angry, disaffected, anti-commercial, Catholic, whatever. Been there, done that.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day and now I guess I don’t care. I’m sad some people “need” Valentine’s to keep the romance alive. I can almost see their impending break-up. I’m happy kids enjoy it. I dislike big business profiting off it. Enough said.

In life and in love, I tend to be a romantic. I always will be. Fancy meals for no reason, unprompted kindnesses, attention to detail. I don’t need a day for it, and I wish others didn’t either. I’ve always been the thoughtful girlfriend, fond of surprise dinners and other things. I’ve never understood how people can let that slip away in their relationships.

Tree in Sicily by Djacoby.

Tree in Sicily by Djacoby.

Some of Us Learned the Hard Way

For those of us who’ve had the opportunity to cheat death in any way — serious accidents, surviving disease or illness, that sort of thing — there is a very clear lesson we often learn: This moment is the only one that counts. Then the one after it, and the one after that.

Memories are nice but they mean fuck all if they’re all ya got.

In a relationship, if your best days are behind you because you’re doing nothing to honour it in the present, you might as well call it quits. You’re done. It’s over.

If that idea makes your heart sink through your belly, then lucky you, there’s hope. It’s time to sit down and make love a priority. Date night is critical. Romance is critical. Valuing each other is critical. Surprise and fun and trust, all critical.

Some folks can’t understand that and don’t know how to make ’em happen. I don’t know how to help those people.

When Single Becomes the Status Quo

God knows I’m single and I have been for a long time now. My last two relationships really fucked me up in that I sort of lost who I was and didn’t know how to get back to myself. Other things had brought that mix of phenomena into my life too — job woes, financial troubles, serious injuries, other things.

I had a lot of shit to solve, and solving those things while involved with someone — oy, that’s a tall order. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t write, I wasn’t photographing, I wasn’t even cooking creatively. I was surviving life, not living it.

I never intended to stay single my whole time here in Victoria, but that’s somehow been the case. At first, I needed the space, but then in the last year, my thinking was “I don’t want anyone to hold me back.”

For a while there I had been telling myself that this life dream trip of mine was just an elaborate means of saving money. It was a last and desperate step. Would I have easily fallen for someone and opted out of the harder route of anteing up for an adventure of a lifetime to instead cop out and live with someone for savings and love and steamy sex?

I can’t tell ya. Like I say, I’m a romantic. There’s no telling how much I’d think a good relationship trumps an adventure. I do know this time I’ve been using for myself this year has really helped me remember what’s important to ME. What I want out of life, what I want to see, and what I think I owe myself.

Now five years around the world isn’t a “last and desperate step”. It’s my greatest and boldest step. It’s awesomeness wrapped in optimism and dipped in unbelievable with a side of fuck-yeah.

Norman hunting tower in the countryside of Erice, Sicily, by Terry Feuerborn in 2011.

Norman hunting tower in the countryside of Erice, Sicily, by Terry Feuerborn in 2011.

Acing The Art of Being Older, Wiser, And Not Giving A Fuck

I do know one thing about the loves I’ve had. I don’t think there’s a man I’ve been with in my lifetime that could be the man I’d need today. I’ve changed too much. I think few are the relationships that let us continue growing and becoming better people. It’s hard to have two trajectories rising at the same rate, you know what I mean?

Singleness isn’t the end of the world. It’s harder to handle at the beginning, I think, but it can be wonderful, too, if you don’t make yourself seek reward or happiness through others.

I think writing makes that easier for me. I’m able to use this — my words — as a filter for my life and my memories. That’s the gift of writing. It’s the existential pause button that lets me stop and sift through it all. Without it, I’m not sure I’d find the same enjoyment out of life. I’m not sure I want to find out.

My Valentine’s Isn’t Special

Today is another overworked-Steff weekend for me. I need to put THIS writing-for-self aside and write for the big machine. Money makes my world go around. Or rather, will make me go around the world.

I still need to remind myself of why I toil so often and so long. If it’s not work, it’s personal projects in preparation of my time abroad. Yesterday, I found new inspiration as I pored over photographs of Sicily, wondering if it might be where I am a year from now. I can’t fathom what life is like, living in an area so old and steeped with passion and tradition. As a writer, it makes my heart swell. What a Valentine’s gift to myself that would be.

But gone are the days when I’ll rail against Valentine’s Day. Make it what you want it to be.

Self-love, romantic love, love of the moment, love of nature — it’s all the basis of a life well-lived. Whether you’re alone or single, a wonderful meal, a gorgeous sunset, some time in a park, a great movie — all these things can be savoured without being a part of the big marketing machine.

Whatever you do, whoever you’re with, wherever you go, I hope you do something this weekend that reminds you of what your passions in life are. And if you’re not pursuing them, it’s time to ask yourself why not, and remember that it ain’t ever too late to wake up from oblivion.

Maybe that’s what Valentine’s Day should be to you. It kind of is for me.

Valentine’s Day: All My Thoughts

390242855_a107ca92ceValentine’s day looms and I’ve deftly avoided the topic by not posting new stuff lately. Brilliant!

But I guess it’s time for my annual rant against the Big Machine and the perpetuation of the belief that, hey, if it’s love, it’s worth going broke for.

I know men buy gifts because they feel obligated. I know women usually like receiving the gifts. I just wish both sides of this equation would get over the bullshit and just accept it’s not really doing a lot of good for either of them.

Relationships die because either people change or they just don’t want to work on the relationship anymore. Not because a diamond ring wasn’t forthcoming soon enough. Continue reading

The Annual Anti-Valentine’s Posting: 2009 Edition

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. Sigh. Swoon. Won’t you be mine? Won’t you be my lover?

[RECORD SCRATCHES]

Let’s back that shit up.

Every year, without fail, I’m forced to write yet another posting saying pretty much all the same things. Like, if you can’t be romantic all year, you don’t deserve a lover. If you can’t remember to live with passion daily, then you’re wasting oxygen.

Sure, you can say, “Yeah, well, Valentine’s Day is good for young couples who are too busy — ”

[RECORD SCRATCHES]

Too busy? What, for each other? For knocking each other’s socks of with a quaking orgasm or two here and there? Too busy for head? Too busy for a stolen kiss in the corner of the kitchen? Too busy for a random, well-timed grope? Too busy for a lusty note snuck into a work lunch? Continue reading

A Ramble: Valentine’s Day

This day, the 15th, is one of my least favourite days of the year for private reasons. I fucking hate it. So, I got to thinking last night as I smoked a joint and continued to write, and this is the rambling ode I had about being single on Valentine’s day, and I dedicate it to all those who rolled out of bed alone today and didn’t feel badly about it.

I’m at home on Valentine’s night. There’s a Dr. Phil show on, about how to “love smart.” It’s a primetime special. Ever noticed how the matchmaker sites go onto full boil around this time of year? Notice the fix-up services advertising more these days? It’s like the world conspires to tell you you’re a loser if a) you’re single or b) your lover doesn’t spend enough on you or c) your lover doesn’t put out.

I’m reveling in my singleness this evening. I made garlic bread. With extra garlic. And spaghetti with meat sauce, something the wise would never eat in front of a date. I’m wearing my cut-off shorts and a fleecy sweater. I’m having an awesome night of relaxing, writing, cooking, watching a little telly, and reading. And deep down inside there’s this niggling of “But they think you need a boyfriend. Do ya, honey?”

I know I had a moment of weakness last week, that’s what I do know. I seized a moment with someone and let things go further than they should have, but for that night, regardless of what the future did or didn’t hold, companionship sounded like a good idea. There are people you know you can trust, even if you can’t imagine really being with them for the long haul. And there are weak moments.

Ultimately, though, I do love being single. I admit, I am alone. I’m not lonely, though. Not usually. (Weakness, it happens.) And I resent Valentine’s Day (and the media and society) for seeming to think my lack of desire for a real, true relationship is anything less than healthy. I want a relationship, but I want the right relationship. Anything less than simpatico is just not worth my time, grief, or efforts. The right man, he gets it all. I’ll drop anything for the right guy, you know. I’m just a diehard romantic. But I scrutinize with the best of them, and I just want the right combination.

Otherwise, I’ll keep my Sundays for reading the paper in my boxers and a t-shirt. I’ll get up when I want, sleep where I want, eat what I want, and do what I want. I won’t have to check to see if “our schedule” is clear, I won’t have to worry about any of that. Like I say, when it’s right, it’s worth it, but when it’s not absolutely right, it’s infringing on my space.

That makes me very male in some ways, I think. I’m not sure why more men feel that way than women, but perhaps it comes down to how comfortable they are alone. It’s interesting, I’ve seen an increase in the media, people bringing up something I’ve long believed: One of the worst things you can say to a lover is what they said in Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.”

If you cannot be complete on your own, you are not a whole person. If you do not have a sense of self, you have nothing. If you cannot love yourself, who else can? These are clichés, and for good reason. They’re as true as they can be.

If you don’t know yourself when you fall in love with someone, you’re going to have the very, very rude experience of cluing the fuck in to who you are somewhere down the line, and that person you’ve committed yourself to is going to find out that they no longer fit the bill. Who you love must complement who you are, not complete it. We’re foolish when it comes to love, we put the cart before the horse.

I long ago discovered that my “fuctedness,” as one pal would say, needed solitude. Every time I got into a relationship, I lost more and more of who I was. I became this person who needed to have that approval from “them” in order to have that sense of self. Now, I couldn’t care less. I know that the right people, the ones I want around me, they dig me. The ones who don’t dig me, don’t get me, and won’t have me, and that’s just fine. Don’t fight it, man. Go with the flow.

But when you really learn to dig yourself, you don’t need anyone anymore. You see people for what they are: Icing on a fuckin’ fab cake, baby.

See, the difference between those of us who enjoy being single and those who do not is pretty simple. Those of us who enjoy it, we’re optimistic about love. We figure, hey, if the time’s ever right, if the cosmos ever aligns, then maybe we’ll come out of that with something/one we just can’t get enough of. Until then, we’re alone, and we’re going to enjoy it, ‘cos when that love comes, aloneness goes. And it’s more than aloneness. It’s solitude, quietude. There are some things you will never, ever experience if you don’t command your time alone. Some of the most profound experiences of my life have come to me in moments spent completely isolated from the world.

I moved to the Yukon for one year when I was 21, and it was a profound experience all the way around. Before then, I was a popular gal and always had plans, always was out. I moved there and discovered the true art of being alone and loving it, and it changed my life. I remember a night right around summer solstice. It was daylight then from three in the morning until two in the morning, just an hour of dusk in between… fucking sublime. Sigh. You could sit and watch the sunset followed by the sunrise in the time it took to slowly nurse a single beer. I was having one of these profound days – a day in between nights at the bar, preceding a long weekend away, where we’d be camping at the foot of Mount McKinley and Mount Logan, the continent’s highest peaks. I remember thinking, “I’ve got it pretty fucking good. This will be one of the best times in my life, and I will never, ever forget these experiences. But tonight I got to slow it down and keep it all to me.”

I packed up a few things… a joint, a couple of beers, some Robert Service poetry, and a sweater. I drove the car out of the city (of 15,000) into the nearby country, Miles’ Canyon, the Yukon’s mini version of the Grand, through which the Yukon river carved a wide and tumultuous path. I did a hike out to the edge of the canyon and found an isolated spot above the river where I sat leaning against an alpine fir and facing northward, where I could see the sun dead ahead, just slightly left of the magnetic north. It was midnight and the sunset wasn’t far off. The mountains lay before me to the north (and to the south and east and west) and the land was all reds and browns and greens and yellows with this beautiful deep blue sky. The light, as that incredible northern light is, was absolutely preternatural. There’s something angelic and sweet about the late eveningg summer’s light up there that bathes the world in buttery goodness. I did what I often do, I just sat there and watched how the light changed and shadows shifted on the landscape. There’s something profound about sitting there literally watching time pass by.

So all I did was sit there, consider my life, my place, the potential in my future, who I was and who I would become. To this day, that moment stands in my top twenty, if not my top ten, in my life experiences – and still, stacked up against international trips, true rites of passage, it holds its own, my friends. I was with no one. Nothing really happened. It was quietude in its finest. Not a human voice. Not a plane. Not a vehicle. Nothing electronic. No wires. Nothing. Just me, the gods, and the earth. And it was fucking incredible.

And when you’re afraid of aloneness, you miss out on moments like that. Moments when you sit around and connect with nature on your own time. A guy once said to me, Cities are built for distraction. Meaning, they’re there to help us forget all the things we wish for, that we’ll never have. So too are the wrong relationships, Valentine’s day be damned.

When you spend more time alone, when you get really honest with yourself about what you ought to be valuing, you gain this inner contentment about what it is you’ve got, and you often develop clarity about what it is you need, and how to attain it. These are things, qualities, that many of my fellow (wo)men need to find.

I wouldn’t say that being single leaves me in a state of nirvana, but I’m in a place that I really dig, and it’s because I’ve come to feel that I’d rather be alone than in a relationship where I’m not fully… I don’t know, what, plugged in? I’m charged, he’s charged, it’s all good? I mean, I’m damned good company, most times, so I’d really have to value a guy to keep him around, is what I’m saying. Life’s just too fucking short.

So, yeah, Valentine’s day. I digressed a lot there. Love’s hard enough without cheapening it with commercialism. If you want romance, celebrate it always. If you want love, keep it year round, not because a calendar tells you it’s that time again. And love ain’t about what you can buy, people. These expensive gifts… really. When did generosity become about the almighty dollar? When did it stop being a thing of spirit, of gesture? I just honestly find that buying into this Valentine’s day bullshit really helps to make people forget what relationships ought to be about. The little things: The qualities shared, the words said, the actions done. Not the things bought. Not the fancy places we go.

But the very best thing about being a content, whole person in the search of love, is that when you find someone who really does deserve a shot at fitting that bill, it’s so incredibly rewarding to just drink them in. They’re not fulfilling you, they’re just nurturing all that is good about you. Then, it feels like a gift, like something you should cherish. Something you want to cherish. Not a job, not an obligation. And isn’t that how things ought to be?