This is What Contentment Looks Like

Today is Valentine's Day. I really don't want to be the sort of person who writes about Valentine's Day, on Valentine's Day, for any reason. There are loads of people who do that. There are newspaper articles about romantic restaurants, and romantic movies, and which books are secretly lovers. There are feminist rants about how Valentine's Day is a sick joke. There are all the advertisements about flowers and candy that helped spark the feminist rants in the first place. There are reviews of the movie Valentine's Day, which is universally hailed as horrible. Everything to be say has already been said.

Except that I haven't found any articles about treating Valentine's Day like just a normal day, and I've found only one article about loving yourself on Valentine's Day. And those are the two things that led to this year's epiphany.

Oh, I've been a good feminist for years and I know I'm supposed to love myself and also be angry about how the world wants me to pair up all the time. But I've been single long enough that I'm pretty used to all that stuff as an everyday thing, not a once-a-year thing. And it's true that some days I feel lonely, and some days I feel frustrated, and some days I feel angry. Some days I feel so damn relieved to be single it isn't even funny. But what I didn't articulate to myself until just now is that loving myself and valuing myself as a single entity doesn't mean I have to be angry about that stuff. I know it seems obvious, but sometimes things like that are, and sometimes they aren't. And I just got back from London, finally slept in my own bed, among my own books and music and keepsakes, and just did not have the energy to whip myself into a polemic. So I loved myself peacefully instead.

Certain days of the year (notably my birthday) I designate as love-me days, which means I get to do whatever I want, and am not allowed to guilt-trip myself for a full twenty-four hours. And because I am single (but I think I am going to continue this tradition next year regardless) Valentine's Day is now another day like that. Except a quieter, and in a way more relaxing one, because the one thing I do sort of force myself to do on my birthday is treat myself to something, and today, I didn't even bother to do that.

Today, I started the day by doing warm-up staging exercises. Then I brushed my teeth and went to the library. I got five books that basically have nothing in common with one another. I dipped a bit into the fantasy, and read some of the angry feminist polemic (the latter means I fit the stereotype of a man-hating forever-lonely feminist bitch). Then I read a romance story (which means I fit the stereotype of the overly-romantic wishful lonely girl). I had a bowl of soup and took a nap (the stereotype of a couldn't-care-less feminist free spirit hippie?), and managed to watch six episodes of Criminal Minds on DVD (I have no idea what that makes me). I called two female friends and told them that I love them (chick flick best friend stereotype) but I would have talked to both of them anyway, given the option. I cooked pasta for one (lonely, pathetic and weepy, except I wasn't) and drank some juice because I'm off booze at the moment.

And all day I didn't feel guilty about any of those things. What I mostly felt was slightly bemused by all the single-girl stereotypes I was fulfilling, without actually having any of the feelings associated with those stereotypes. The romance story makes me feel happy and imaginative, and the angry feminist polemic appeals to my intellect and said some really fascinating things. The only sacrifice I can really think of to the holiday (besides the aforementioned guilt-free-ness) is that I got a book I wanted to read from the library instead of from my friend Poppasmart, who would have loaned it to me, because I wanted to give her time with her boy. But I probably would have done that anyway, since they haven't seen each other for a couple weeks and I've been sharing a room with her in London.

I like this way of celebrating. So often if I take an extra guilt-free day, I just feel stagnant, because I use the time to nap. But crap on that - I'm going to have one me-day a month, and sooner or later I will train myself not to nap them all away. Anyway, I did nice things today besides nap, so I have decided it's all right.

And now no more personal life ramblings; I keep meaning to write a post about why I refuse to go see Avatar.