As Rosella Eleanor LaFevre reveals in her essay, love starts closer than expected – with yourself.
I have had a smattering of blips on the relationship radar and, in addition, one fairly serious – if brief – relationship. And somehow, I always end up alone come Valentine’s Day. This year, I will not complain. Rather, I will celebrate.
After years of exposure to the fairy tale and its grown-up naïve sister, the romantic comedy, I am finally past wishing for nothing more than a guy to set my life straight.
After years of pining for a Prince Charming or a Patrick Verona, I am sure that being in love with myself is enough.
I’m not talking about an unhealthy kind of self-love. The love that I am referring to is respect for my idiosyncrasies and a belief that no one’s opinion of me should outweigh my own. I mean believing in myself enough to take risks and to live my life without fearing that people might see me in a different way than I want them to.
It was hardly always this way. There is a long list of things I had wished I could change about myself before I had my epiphany.
There was a time, for instance, when I felt my name was ill fitting and wished it were Stacy, after my favorite Babysitter’s Club character. My feet couldn’t grow fast enough, until they did, and then they were too big. I wanted to be tall, and then I got to be 5 feet 6 inches and counting, and I felt uncomfortably like a giant.
The list goes on.
It took me forever – 18 years, in fact – to get to the point where I can be this comfortable with myself. It took listening to No Doubt and a ton of soul-searching, but at some point, it just clicked. I knew that as much as anyone else, I deserved love – my own love.
Now I have it – I love me. I love my name, I love my feet, I love my height, I love my teeth. I love my drive and my will to succeed. I love my dedication to my family. I love that I can, just by being gutsy enough to go after the things I want, inspire my friends to do the same.
Also, I love that I’m alone this Valentine’s Day. I love being single all together. I enjoy my own company. I love that I don’t feel awkward when I’m alone and I laugh at something on TV that no one else would find funny. I love having my twin-size bed to myself and not having a boy steal my covers. I love having the freedom to look at and flirt with all the cute boys on campus. Most of all, I love that I don’t need someone else to take care of me because I know I’m doing pretty darn well on my own.
This Valentine’s Day, whether I spend the day watching a Sex and the City marathon or out on the town with friends, I am going to celebrate the fact that I finally love myself unconditionally.
Rosella Eleanor LaFevre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.