Thursday, 14 February 2013

Stop Moping. Celebrate, Instead!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my single friends, and those in couples or multiples!  This is where I tell single people not to mope.  Because I'm also single, and I feel you're propagating poor messaging on the state of being single. 

Valentine's Day seems to be used as a Klingon pain stick by some single folk who think they're unworthy of celebration on this Chaucer-defined "day of love" (and chocolate). 

Give yourself more credit!  Seriously.  Love the company you keep, every hour of every day, and you won't mind this society-imposed label of "singlehood."  (Cue dramatic music.)

Contrary to what I may project at times, I love a good romance.  I love the whirlwind of it all, the surprises, the making out...  but I don't hinge all of my life's decisions on whether or not a worthy mate happens to be around, available and interested.  I love romance, but I hate, and I mean *hate* pretty much everything about how it's portrayed in popular media.  It's so... trite and dull, for the most part.

And, more than that, I'm not a fan of how society (and marketing) tends to label someone who's single as someone who's "incomplete."  Think about it.  You've used the phrases too - I hear them on a regular basis:
  • "Oh, you're so nice, I'm sure you'll find someone!"
    • Roomy, who is also single, enjoys answering that it's because she's single that she's so nice.
  • "I don't understand why you're still single."
    • Um, sometimes, we choose to be alone and happy instead of in a relationship with somebody.  Just like I choose to write books and I choose to tell stories. Seems simple enough.
  • "Are you married?  No? Ooooh, sorry..."
    • ... sorry about what?  I'm not.  But go ahead.  What the heck.
What that does, essentially, is put "singlehood" into a category that should be viewed with horror and perhaps even reviled.  Fear the singles!  Or worse: Pity them. 

Singlehood does itself no favours on days like today by whining.  Moping.  "Oh, I'm alllll alone today on Valentine's Day, I'm soooooo saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddd...." 

That's worse.  For crying out loud, didn't your mama teach you some independence? (I argue my maman taught me a bit too much, but it's worked out okay.)

Don't fear being single. Don't hate it.  Heck, embrace it! Be kind to yourself as you would be with a lover.  Enjoy the routine that's yours and yours alone. Wine and dine yourself, even.

I've been single for a few years, now.  I've been on a few dates, most of which were unsuccessful.  Last year, I decided I'd go on one date a month, until I got tired of having to punch boys.  I have a wicked right hook, and apparently ill luck with meeting strangers. 

Then, among the writing, travelling and just generally being alive, I forgot that being in a couple was such a "necessary" trait.  I forget it.  I honestly do.  It's not something I'm actively seeking, though I like to at least think I'm open to it (some people may disagree with me). 

But boy am I reminded of it daily.  By well-intentioned friends, co-workers, strangers on busses - it seems no one is above saying "I'm in a couple, I'm awesome!"

Well, okay, that's your reality, and everyone should think they're awesome.  My reality is this: I like myself, and I think I'm awesome!  And I have sooo many friends who are AWESOME that it makes me ridiculously happy. On days like today, when we celebrate love, I want to celebrate all of them.  Allll of them.  My family, my friends, my writing buddies, my Facebook friends, casual acquaintances, the Bridgehead dude who pours my coffee in the mornings.... I want to celebrate them all for making each day, every day a little bit more awesome and filled with caffeine, laughter and love.

I'm single and I have no problem with it.  At all. If you're single, I hope you don't, either.  Because you have so much of yourself to give, to share, and people like me?  We love you for it.  So very much.  I want to hug you all, but I can't. You're there, I'm here. 

Celebrate the chocolate!  Watch a horror movie (my fave activity on this day!)  Wine and dine yourself at home by candlelight.  Send yourself some flowers. Do something *for you.* For your family. For your friends. 

But don't wallow.  Don't put yourself down.  Enough people do that on a regular basis, so show yourself how much you care about yourself today.  If it's a day of love we're supposed to be celebrating (marketing, whatever), then remember that you can only control what you give, not what you get.  So give some loving instead of some moping.

It's the little things that make all the difference.  Make that difference for yourself.


  1. I'd like to echo Marie, but from the other side of things. I've been married for 15 years and very tired of "romance" being presented in a certain way.

    Want to hear a real love story? A couple in their 20s, married less than a year, learns he has inoperable brain cancer and she stays strong for him until the end. Or a couple in their 80s where one is sliding into dementia and the other takes on the role of caregiver. Or a couple with children of their own have so much love to give they adopt another child (or two).

    Flowers and chocolates and a roll in the hay are nice, but fleeting. And not the basis for what real love is. So even as a smug-married, this days ticks me off.

    So to Marie, one of my favourite people, thanks for this post, your friendship, your laughter, and the occasional ride home from downtown! Happy Thursday.

  2. Matt, you're awesome. Katie's awesome... Now that's the type of story I like!

    Happy Thursday, my friend!