Every year on Valentine’s Day I feel so exposed…a slug resting comfortably until you lift the rock over me. I go to work but, being single, I feel shame and hurry home to hunker down where I can’t be seen.

I eye roll all the posts about how VDay is just commercialized horse shit “we don’t believe in. We believe in sharing our love every day.” Notice the “we.” It’s pretty easy to dismiss one day when you are coupled up and know you are loved on the other 364 days.

Each year I lament the ones who got away. They probably wipe their brows in relief they got away. I get sad when I recall the boyfriend VDays I have experienced…all 3 of them I think.

This year is different. I felt like stopping for a drink and a write on the way home. Why should I hide? Why should you not have to see me? That’s right ladies. I am the girl he hits on at the bar all the other nights he doesn’t take you out with him. I’m the dating profile he is swiping right on when you head to the ladies room. I am out. See me.

I am not sad or ashamed this year. I decided to love my dog, my friends and my co-workers. I was goofy all day and I ate cupcakes. There is an abundance of love in my life.

This morning I went into my guest bedroom and looked at my Starry Night framed painting…my favorite VDay gift. I usually avoid it. The guest room is designed around it but I never go in there. Today, I just stood there with Fergus sitting by my leg and I really looked at it. Know what I thought? Someone loved me once enough to pay attention to the things which moved me and to bring it into my life. Someone loved me enough to know how I took my coffee and bagel at the time and showed up with that framed painting first thing in the morning. Someone loved me enough to buy a ridiculous cheesecake to bring to a party a few hours away. The bakery insisted the cake be transported in the trunk of the car to keep cool enough. Someone loved me enough to spend the weekend on the ocean at my best friend’s house. Someone loved me enough to let me smoke in his car even though he didn’t smoke. Someone loved me enough to watch me put my makeup on and wonder what the eyelash curler was because he hadn’t seen one before. That’s really cool. I think I still remember part of my gift to him…

“I don’t know what it is about you that opens or closes

I only know the blue of your eyes is deeper than all roses”

ee Cummings

Driving out of work tonight “In Your Eyes” was on the radio which brought me back to high school. Someone loved me enough to go through my friends to find out my locker combo so he could leave me a card and a rose. Someone loved me enough to leave a dozen roses on the passenger seat in his car so that would be how I was greeted for our ride home for school. That’s really cool.

Another year, someone loved me enough to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind because he knew it was my favorite movie. He didn’t know that movie always brings me back to the Starry Night guy. Regardless, this was really cool. It’s a beautiful movie.

So, I’m ok. I have been deeply and creatively loved. I have loved intensely. I have the coolest friendships which span my entire life. I am so in love with my friends and what they offer this world.

I have had 2 dogs of my own as an adult. Emmett and Fergus. My boys. They are so different from one another. I am ashamed to admit how much of Emmett I forget but the pain of losing him is still incredibly intense.. even after 8 years. I don’t have kids but I imagine my love of my boys is just as much as if they were real children.

I am not getting a card or any kind of written expression of love. No flowers or declarations of affection. In fact, I have been buying VDay candy for myself 5 weeks in a row now because I like it and I want it and I shouldn’t have to go without it just because there is no one buying it for me. I am drinking beer alone at the bar because I feel like it, not because I am trying to reel anyone in. I don’t have to. I’ve got what I need. In fact, I’ve got what other people want, need and can’t have.