If my ex-husband and I had been able to go the distance, last Wednesday, February 7, would have been our 31st wedding anniversary. Today is Valentine’s Day. The history of my relationships is unimportant. It’s enough to share that I’m uncoupled at present. I have not been in love for a very long time. I don’t know that I ever will be again. Either way, I’m okay.
There will be no chocolates and rose petals for me today. I am no one’s Valentine. But still, I celebrate. To honor my single status, this is my manifesto:
I will step up and show up. Bolstered by the super powers I’ve cultivated so far–smarts, humor, intuition and grit–I’ll arrive fully each day, ready and open.
I will remove myself from situations that demean or reduce me. I will not tolerate prolonged dysfunction or unkindness. I won’t engage in relationships that require me to relinquish my personal power. My emotional well-being is hard-earned. I protect it at all costs.
I understand that many of the gains I enjoy in this world are a result of my privilege as a white, cisgender woman. But these fortuities are void of virtue if they’re not accessible to everyone. I’ll continue to grow my awareness of injustice and to push for equity. I’ll shut up and listen. I’ll do the requisite and sometimes uncomfortable work of self-reflection so that I may check my own lingering biases and better serve the cause of social justice. I do this for my sisters everywhere. Most of all, I do it for my transgender daughter so that she may blossom in a safer, kinder and more equitable world. (And if anyone should harm her in any way, I will kick their ass, in whatever manner suits the situation. My mother claws never retract.)
I will not carry shame for past mistakes and transgressions or endlessly ruminate on the flaws of my humanity. Instead, I’ll focus on the times I got it right and how I can do my best in the here and now.
I won’t berate my body for failing to meet a futile standard for beauty and size. Instead, I’ll have gratitude for all the ways it serves me. I’ll dance, rock warrior poses and perfect my upper cuts. I’ll nourish it with clean food, adequate sleep, deep laughs and long hot showers. I’ll be kind. And gentle.
I’ll go where I want to go and occupy spaces without fear. I will not be intimidated by unwelcome stares, lewd innuendo or aggression of any kind. I’ll transform my personal #metoo into #notmemotherfucker.
I will be discerning about who I run with. I deserve and expect authenticity, honesty, respect and kindness. In turn, these are what I bring to the people I love.
Loneliness comes with the territory. Sometimes. But I will not despair. There is quiet dignity in solitude.
I’ll look for opportunity everywhere. If there’s none to be found, I’ll create it. I’m closer to the finish line than the starting gate at this point. There is no time for trepidation or risk aversion.
I’ll do my best to accept what the present moment gives me with grace, humor and courage and to live with an open heart… and all that it entails.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the single women out there. You are diamonds, sparkling, unfettered and strong.