How to Fall Drunk in Love — With Yourself.

Valentine’s Day.

This is usually my least favorite day of the year.  It’s the only day I hate more than Daylight Savings Time day, when the world so cruelly steals an hour from me.

I might hate today so much because I’ve been in a relationship on only three of my thirty-three Valentine’s Days, and those three exceptions don’t really count.  On the first exception, I was in a long-distance relationship and therefore still alone, which meant I had to soothe all of my feelings with Chinese take-out, at which point I discovered that I was severely allergic to this particular form of Chinese take-out when I went into anaphylactic shock and had to drive myself to the Emergency Room.  The second exception I don’t really remember because I had a severe concussion at the time.  I think banana leaves were involved.  The third exception super doesn’t count because my boyfriend broke up with me on Valentine’s Day, so really I guess I was only in a relationship for part of that day, which means I’ve been in a relationship on only two and a half of my thirty-three Valentine’s Days, none of which really count.

Needless to say, I typically spend most of Valentine’s Day feeling super sorry for myself.  But this year, something changed.  I think that something is that I finally realized that the only reason I felt so bad on Valentine’s Day is that I made myself feel so bad on Valentine’s Day.  I focused on the fact that I was alone, but I didn’t allow in the fact that sometimes, being alone is pretty awesome.  I didn’t allow in the fact that I can be alone and be happy — and that I was the person in charge of my happiness.

So this year, I decided to have the happiest single Valentine’s Day EVER, which required making some ground rules for myself.  Here’s a peek into what the happiest single Valentine’s Day EVER looks like, along with some Do’s and Don’ts:

DO start your day by doing something awesome for yourself.  Here, I'm starting the day with a writing session, which felt awesome.  Also, you'll notice that my fingernail polish looks awful, but I took the picture anyway.  That's because in order to have a successful best single Valentine's Day ever, it is imperative that you DON'T worry about shizz as little as chips in your nail polish, girlfriend.

DO start your day by doing something awesome for yourself. Here, I’m starting the day with a writing session, which felt awesome. Also, you’ll notice that my fingernail polish looks awful, but I took the picture anyway. That’s because in order to have a successful best single Valentine’s Day ever, it is imperative that you DON’T worry about shizz as little as chips in your nail polish, girlfriend.

DON'T listen to that one Lucinda Williams song that always makes you cry.  That is not the kind of Valentine's Day you are going to have because you DON'T need to cry this Valentine's Day -- although, since this is the best single Valentine's Day ever, if you DO cry, you are totally going to do an amazing job at it.

DON’T listen to that one Lucinda Williams song that always makes you cry. That is not the kind of Valentine’s Day you are going to have because you DON’T need to cry this Valentine’s Day — although, since this is the best single Valentine’s Day ever, if you DO cry, you are totally going to do an amazing job at it.

DO allow Beyonce Knowles, the patron saint of single ladies and booty-poppin' pioneer, serve as your Valentine's Day sherpa.

DO allow Beyoncé Knowles, the patron saint of single ladies and booty-poppin’ pioneer, serve as your Valentine’s Day sherpa.

DO wear as much eyeliner as you feel like wearing.  DON'T wear this much eyeliner in the hopes of somehow attracting a mate with whom to share Valentine's Day.  DO wear this much eyeliner because eyeliner is awesome and you are awesome and you can do whatever you WANT, even if it involves a dramatic cat-eye and yoga pants.

DO wear as much eyeliner as you feel like wearing. DON’T wear this much eyeliner in the hopes of somehow attracting a mate with whom to share Valentine’s Day. DO wear this much eyeliner because eyeliner is awesome and you are awesome and you can do whatever you WANT, even if it involves a dramatic cat-eye and yoga pants.

DO choose jewelry and accessories that remind you that the world is awesome and you are one awesome part of this world, such as a sparkly Pegasus necklace that symbolizes the flawless fierceness inside of your soul.  DON'T care if someone will think you're weird because you're 33 and wearing a Pegasus necklace because WHIMSY TRUMPS ALL.

DO choose jewelry and accessories that remind you that the world is awesome and you are one awesome part of this world, such as a sparkly Pegasus necklace that symbolizes the flawless fierceness inside of your soul. DON’T care if someone will think you’re weird because you’re 33 and wearing a Pegasus necklace because WHIMSY TRUMPS ALL.

DO practice your Beyoncé face in the car.  This is very important.  DON'T worry that your Beyoncé face isn't awesome enough because the whole point of the Beyoncé face is that EVERY BEYONCÉ FACE IS AWESOME ENOUGH.

DO practice your Beyoncé face in the car. This is very important. DON’T worry that your Beyoncé face isn’t awesome enough because the whole point of the Beyoncé face is that EVERY BEYONCÉ FACE IS AWESOME ENOUGH.

DO go pick up your prescription fiber supplement and DON'T feel embarrassed about that.  Loving yourself means loving ALL of yourself, even the all of yourself that requires prescription fiber supplements, so DON'T get that twisted.

DO go pick up your prescription fiber supplement and DON’T feel embarrassed about that. Loving yourself means loving ALL of yourself, even the all of yourself that requires prescription fiber supplements, so DON’T get that twisted.

DON'T be embarassed about ordering a gendered Happy Meal.  DO get excited when you see, inside of that gendered Happy Meal, a holographic cup that embodies all of the awesome you could ever imagine.  DO recognize that the Lego Unicorn Kitty who changes from super-happy to super-fierce is your spirit animal.  DON'T stop appreciating how awesome that is, or how awesome the very idea of holograms are.

DON’T be embarrassed about ordering a gendered Happy Meal. DO get excited when you see, inside of that gendered Happy Meal, a holographic cup that embodies all of the awesome you could ever imagine. DO recognize that the Lego Unicorn Kitty who changes from super-happy to super-fierce is your spirit animal. DON’T stop appreciating how awesome that is, or how awesome the very idea of holograms are.

DO spring for the fanciest Prosecco on sale at the Bi-Lo because YOU ARE WORTH IT, and DON'T forget that.

DO spring for the fanciest Prosecco on sale at the Bi-Lo because YOU ARE WORTH IT, and DON’T forget that.

DO wear enormous sunglasses.  DON'T stop with the Beyoncé face when you start wearing sunglasses.  DO incorporate hand gestures.

DO wear enormous sunglasses. DON’T stop with the Beyoncé face when you start wearing sunglasses. DO incorporate hand gestures.

DO change the words to "All the Single Ladies" to indicate the fact that you can put your own damn ring on it your own damn SELF.

DO change the words to “All the Single Ladies” to indicate the fact that you can put your own damn ring on it your own damn SELF.

DON'T be ashamed of being a cat lady.  DO remember that your cats are single ladies just like yourself.  DO help them to have the best single Valentine's Day ever too by giving them absurd toys with absurd amounts of catnip in them. DON'T attempt to dance with them to Beyoncé songs.  They will so not like it.  They will hurt your face, they will so not like it.

DON’T be ashamed of being a cat lady. DO remember that your cats are single ladies just like yourself. DO help them to have the best single Valentine’s Day ever too by giving them absurd toys with absurd amounts of catnip in them. DON’T attempt to dance with them to Beyoncé songs. They will so not like it. They will hurt your face, they will so not like it.

DON'T be ashamed of that fact that you DO put on pajamas as soon as you come home.

DON’T be ashamed of that fact that you DO put on pajamas as soon as you come home, and DO recognize that fox socks win forever.

DO find a crazy recipe on Pinterest and attempt to replicate it.  Or DON'T because you DON'T feel like cooking, which is totally okay.  If you DON'T feel like cooking, DO order food for delivery, as long as you DON'T feel embarrassed about answering the door in your pajamas.

DO find a crazy recipe on Pinterest and attempt to replicate it. Or DON’T because you DON’T feel like cooking, which is totally okay. If you DON’T feel like cooking, DO order food for delivery, as long as you DON’T feel embarrassed about answering the door in your pajamas.

DO finally use that Bellini mix your mom bought you like six months ago.  DO use your hollographic Lego Unicorn Cup.  DO consider adding your fiber supplement into the mix.

DO finally use that Bellini mix your mom bought you like six months ago. DO use your holographic Lego Unicorn Cup. DO consider adding your fiber supplement into the mix.

And remember, ladies — tell’em, I woke up like this.

I WOKE UP LIKE THIS.

Flawless.

Ladies.

Tell’em.

Old? Outta Here. New? Come On In.

A little while ago, someone asked me what my year had been like.  I said, “It was the worst year of my life, but it was pretty good.”

And that’s about right.  2013 was, if not the worst year of my life, the most difficult year of my life.  I faced my greatest fears, my hardest decisions; I found myself in unimaginable circumstances.  At the same time, though, I did face my greatest fear.  I did make my hardest decisions.  And I did make it through all of the circumstances that 2013 brought my way – and I survived.

Though this year was unimaginably difficult, I made it, with the help of friends and family.  And I’m a far better person for it, and far better at appreciating my friends and family – and the smallest, most routine, everyday things.  That’s why I can say this was a pretty good year – and really, I should say it was a really good year.  I faced my greatest fears, but I also faced my greatest dreams, with the publication of my first full-length book.  I made my hardest decisions, but I had friends and family there to help, and I was a stronger person for it.  I found myself in unimaginable circumstances, but sometimes they were unimaginably good circumstances – from having the honor of teaching brilliant, hard-working students to reaching some of my biggest writing-related goals.

I usually do a wrap-up entry at the end/beginning of every year, but I’m finding it difficult to approach 2013 in any of my usual ways.  A list of achievements seems like the wrong way to go about things, because the year wasn’t really about those achievements – and the same thing goes for the defeats, or just the negative things that happened.  I thought about some kind of itemized list, but that didn’t seem right, either – this was the kind of year that went beyond the number of Cipro tablets I took or the number of hospitals I visited or the number of words I wrote.  Then I thought that I’d write a little bit about what I learned this year, and that seemed just about right – if there’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that learning is the most important thing.

Gather Ye Rosebuds Every Day: Listen.  I’m a poet.  I’m moody and angsty.  Most of my clothes are black and I wear a lot of scarves.  Obviously, I’m not one who typically goes for happy-happy-positivity supposedly-life-changing things.  That being said, I totally started doing this happy-happy-positivity thing this year and it was life-changing.  Every day, no matter how moody and angsty and black and scarved the day was, I made myself write down three positive things.  Sometimes they were very small positive things, like “managed to eat mashed potatoes,” “didn’t get stopped at that one red light,” and “realized sweater was on backwards before class.”  But I learned that even the smallest positives mattered, and I learned how easy it is to turn my attention away from the bad and towards the good.

Learn How To Do New Things: This year was the year that I got serious about crochet, and though this basically makes me a grandmother, it was still a great thing for me.  I’m not the most co-ordinated person in the world, so it took me a while to figure out what the instructions and crochet maps (no, seriously – there are these weird little MAPS that show you how to make things with yarn and a hook — I’m not making this up) were telling me to do.  But I kept working until I figured it out, and I learned how to solve problems and that even if I have to undo all of my stitches, I still learned something.

Learn New Ways of Doing Things:  I spent a lot of this year in bed, either because I was told to stay there or because I was nasty sick.  Sometimes I had my laptop or a notebook by my bed.  Sometimes I didn’t.  I learned to write on different surfaces – paper, iPhone, Kindle, receipts, my own hand — and in different ways – jotting down notes, typing, writing it all out long-hand.  That probably sounds like it isn’t a big thing, but it was major for me.  I have a lot of trouble with fine motor skills some days, and this helped me to figure out ways around that.  It also introduced new possibilities into my writing – in fact, Kindle’s predictive text feature helped me to write the poem that became my second full-length collection.

Sometimes Rest Is The Most Important Thing To Do, And Also Quiet Is Very Important: I’m usually doing something all of the time I’m awake, from writing to Swiffering to crocheting to grading, and this year, I learned that sometimes resting is every bit as important as – if not more important than – doing.  Some ideas need incubation, and some things need a lot of still and quiet time.

No Is Sometimes A Better Answer Than Yes: I realized this year that I’m kind of bad at saying no, or at least not saying yes.  I try to do everything all of the time for everyone forever, and a lot of times, I just run myself into the ground and sometimes, I make a mess.  I realized that saying no to doing all of the things means that I do a better job with some of the things.

Never Underestimate The Power Of Beyoncé: She sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker.

Be A Little Kinder Than You Need To Be: I know, I know.  That’s a total cliché.  It is such a total cliché that it was actually painful to type.  My scarf tried to stop it.  But it’s true, and especially true of the Internet: as the year progressed, the online world seemed to become an angrier and angrier place to me.  Then I realized that I was the biggest part of that problem, because I kept looking at things that made me angry and reacting in an angry way.  I realized that if I just shut down the computer, I felt better.  So much better that I started limiting my time online and stopped responding angrily.  I started asking myself how I would feel if I was the other person in the situation.  And I realized that this life thing is very difficult, and we are all doing our best with it.  We are all, all the time, fighting so very much that the last thing we (I’m saying “we” but including – actually, mostly meaning – “I” here) need to do is fight each other, especially over something as small as a Facebook post.  Kindness is the only thing we owe each other.

And that seemed right – so right that I’ll end this entry with that thought, and with the hope that it’ll carry me through 2014.