My Ode to Loving Me : A Valentines Day Letter
To friends & lovers - past, present & future.
As someone who's been single 98% of her life, I feel Valentines Day can be the biggest "slap you in the face and make you feel bad about yourself and your life accomplishments thus far because you're single" holiday of the year, and you know what? At this point in my life I'm really not bothered by the fact that I'm single for it. Not one ounce of remorse about flying solo.
I've been broken up with the day before Valentines day, I've done the breaking up the day before Valentines day, and I've been nowhere close to having anyone to even think about being up with the day before Valentines day.
But after everything - it really is only just another calendar day.
So this is a post I hope you can take from and learn to spin the negative into a positive. A post about me learning to love myself and continuing to love those in my life both past and present. "The man" will never be named because he is one man and he is also many. These are my life lessons about love I learned from him. He is how I've come to love through my heartbreak, sorrow and to love even more through my happiness.
There is always good in the bad, it is only up to you whether you see it or not.
This is my happiness. This is my sadness. This is my life in love.
To the Man
To the man who allowed me to believe I was the "only one" for the entirety of our relationship and couldn't see the pain it caused me when I found out I was “only one” of many women: thank you for teaching me that the effort and love I put into a relationship may not always be reciprocated, even when I'm told it is.
To the man who spent our time together focusing only on himself and his interests, but now is in a happy relationship because he knew what it was like to be cared for and loved unconditionally even through the constant pain he caused: thank you for teaching me that in any relationship it's important to love to my fullest because although it may not be obvious at the time - I am strong enough to overcome heartache and they may need my love more than either of us know.
To the man who made decisions for only himself to satisfy his immediate desires without any regard for the affect it would have on me: thank you for showing me that some people only know how to be mindful of themselves no matter how often they say otherwise and to be aware of how my actions affect others.
To the man who after years of hurting me and continued to follow those with years of silence, who then became the man who genuinely apologized for the pain he caused me: thank you for showing me that people can change, and that although I may not have been present for the change - I can still be a big part of it. Thank you for showing me how important my ability to forgive and my never-ending kindness to you throughout our journey really was.
To the man who whispered promises in my ear of great things to come in the future, but never delivered one of them: thank you for helping me understand that I should look past the beautiful words I want to hear and to see the face of reality behind them, even if just for a brief moment to ground myself.
To the man who allowed the devastation of his heartbreak to truly show in himself: thank you for sharing your grief with me and for showing me that even the strongest individuals are capable of being truly broken.
To the man who fell in love when the feelings weren't given in return: thank you for showing me that even though you may not be in love with someone, loving someone can (and will) break your heart when you have to break theirs. So be careful with romance because hearts are beautifully delicate.
To the man who let me walk away when the last thing you wanted was for it to end: thank you for really teaching me that doing what I know is right will not always be the easiest decision to make.
To the man who made me realize that you can love someone for all that they're worth in the most romantic way possible without necessarily needing to be intimate: thank you for teaching me what love can be like and leaving me in awe of imagining how much more life could be if only you let love flourish.
To the man who opened my eyes to the intensity of what it is to love, what it is to be loved and how you can have your world absolutely crushed in one single moment by whispering a few simple words that bring a relationship to a halt: thank you for showing me the capacity of how much love and sorrow my heart can hold because of one person.
To the man who has walked in and out of my life in friendship (as well as romance), telling me "what could have been if only I had stayed" and all too often spoke the phrase "you are the one for me, but I don't know if it will ever happen again": thank you for showing me what true fear looks like and how to not live in that regret myself.
To the man who spoke to me with all the rawness of the inner workings of his mind: thank you for teaching me that being honest and genuine with your spoken words and actions will mean so much more in the end rather than feeble phrases that are meant to temporarily protect.
To the man who bashfully used me as a muse in his art: thank you for sharing with me how it feels to be an inspirational partner and the honour one feels to be the reason behind the ignition of the flames of passion which had been so mournfully doused before.
To the man who lit a fire in my soul with just one look only to walk out the door saying "it's not the right time": thank you for establishing for me that the moment is always right if you really want it to be.
To the man who has always been able to bring me to tears of laughter with the slightest effort: thank you for showing me what uncontrollable happiness and laughter feel like on a continual basis.
To the man who unknowingly brings out the best in me - a me I didn't know could be so easily achieved: thank you for showing me how one person is capable of affecting another to be the greatest version of themselves, without effort and surpassing all personal expectations. This is solely because of the faith you have in me and your unwavering encouragement.
To the man who has always been there for me since the day we met, no matter the distance: thank you for teaching me that even with miles between two people - you can still be there for someone and support them in ways you could never understand through the simplest actions you make and the softest words you speak.
To the man who has tested my patience by keeping me waiting hours, days, and even weeks only to finally tell me that you have no time in your empty schedule for me: thank you for helping me realize that I am worth all of the hours, minutes and seconds. And that when you want to be with someone, you put in all your effort to collect as many of those moments as possible.
To the man who held me, kissed me and looked at me in a way that made everyone else in the room disappear: thank you for showing me how much it is I am worth, how important I can be to someone and the magic it is to feel that connection - even if just for a short time.
To the man who was furious that I stood up for myself and who proceeded to verbally rip me apart about every aspect of my body he could think of after I made him feel insecure about his power in our relationship: thank you for teaching me my self-worth, how to truly love myself for my body with all its imperfections and how to not let cruel words diminish the beauty that is me.
To the man who I had never met before but stopped to tell me through his broken english - that my presence lights up the room and whether he is sad or angry, my smile makes his day better: thank you for showing me that although I may be having a rough day, my persistence in wearing a smile really does help others and brings happiness to my own life in the end.
To the man who told me I was too much to handle: thank you for making me realize that I am not too much to handle but that it was youwho wasn’t enough for me.
To the man who said I was too free spirited and no one was going to ever be able catch me: thank you for helping me learn that I am notlooking to be tamed. I am not looking to be caught. I am looking for someone who can keep up with my free spirit.
To the man who said I need to calm down in life and to stop looking for things to do: thank you for showing me I am looking for someone who challenges me further in all aspects of my life instead of trying to smother my adventurous side.
To the man who looks at me with all the passion and fire of his being that it’s noticed by friends and strangers alike: thank you for showing me that it is possible to find someone who will love you for all you’re worth, and that my flaws and quirks should be cherished instead of scorned.
To the man who has tried to grope me, to the man who tried to get me in bed with me by using words of flattery and to the man who became angry when told "no": thank you for teaching me that not every person who showers you with words of kindness and flattery are genuine.
To the man who has made me believe that things were real between us only to get up and walk out the door the moment I said no and you didn't get what you wanted - leaving me alone, trying to make me embarrassed and ashamed of myself: thank you for establishing that I alone am in charge of my life and if I say no, it means no. I should never be made to feel guilty of choosing my self-respect over the satisfaction of someone else.
To the man who has looked in my eyes and truly seen me for all that I am without judgement or fascist and chauvinistic expectations: thank you for letting me know what it feels like to be seen, respected and appreciated as a female in modern society.
To the man who has tried to demand physical relations and wanted nothing more than a "hot piece" to show off as a trophy with no appreciation for my mind or any of my other redeeming qualities: thank you for teaching me there should be more to every relationship other than the superficial and shallow expectations of beauty. I am worth more.
To the men who have stepped into my life and saved me, provided for me and cared for me without expecting anything in return: thank you for showing me that even after a life of hardships and trying to make it to the top, after falling down and being broken, helping and caring for others in need should never be beneath you at any point.
To the man who's raised me, disciplined me, scolded me, taught me, guided me, held me, loved me, cried with me, laughed with me, supported me, caught me, and who's never left my side: thank you for showing me what it is to love someone unconditionally and what it is to be loved unconditionally. Thank you for setting the standards for what it is I'm expecting in a partner. Thank you for supporting my dreams and encouraging me to reach for the stars. Thank you for having open arms of acceptance to every friend and partner I have brought home to you. Thank you for helping me truly embrace myself as an individual. Thank you for loving me the way you do.
To all the men in my life who have loved me, helped me or hurt me: thank you for everything, because without you - I would not be me.
And I love me.
To all the men and women in my life (and yours) who have been loved, helped or hurt: please know you are worth everything - every moment, every kiss, every hug, every look, every memory that you make. You have walked through fires and come out on the other side even more beautiful every time.
To all the men and women in my life (and yours) who have loved, helped or hurt others: please know that everyone makes mistakes, that life is one big classroom and that everyone is learning to live life each and everyday. It’s never too late to tell someone how you truly feel, to extend a helping hand or to voice your apologies. That every moment you have loved another has impacted them more than you can ever imagine, even if they don't know it.