Well, it’s that time of the year again. The time, more than any other, which reminds you of the fact that you are doing life, solo. You may be totally content in your singleness the rest of the year, but when Valentine’s Day comes around, it brings up a heaping wave of emotions most of us would rather not admit exist—let alone deal with. We find ourselves morphing into either a weeping willow who bursts into tears at even the smallest mention of love or the super strong “I-don’t-need-a-man” single woman who is actually a weeping willow swimming in “De-Nile” river. (Get it?)
Regardless of how you feel about it, Valentine’s Day does not have to be a day of avoidance. The following is a list of do’s and don’ts to survive Valentine’s Day as a single woman:
- DO plan ahead. You know it’s coming, so have a strategy. Decide in advance what you will be doing on that day. A day off at home, under the covers, eating chocolate, watching re-runs of Friends? Perhaps a self-care spa day? Shoe shopping spree? Movie outing? Whatever it is, plan it to give yourself something to focus on and look forward to as Valentine’s Day draws near.
- DON’T join in with a “hashtag: we-don’t-need-a-man” single ladies’ night out. This may seem empowering, because (and I quote), “Hey, I don’t need a man. I am fine on my own” (said with an attitude, 2 snaps of the fingers and a head roll, of course). This sentiment is more than likely false. Whether you say it is a want or a need, the desire for companionship is real, not to mention normal. Denying it, no matter how honorable the intent, will leave you feeling hollow once the evening is done.
- DO celebrate the love that you have. I mean, isn’t that the reason for Valentine’s Day? Rather than concentrating on what you do not have, pay attention to what forms of love you have been blessed with. If you have children at home, love on your children. Do something special with them. Or plan an event with family members who are also flying solo. Be creative! Buy some of those cheap Valentine’s Day cards we used to get when we were in grade school and pass them out to your favorite people. And do not forget the little candy hearts with the cute sayings on them.
- DON’T be that single chick that hates on couples celebrating the day. No, they probably will not be sensitive to your feelings. Yes, they will probably spend a lot of time telling you what sweet things their sweetie has done and what awesomely romantic plans he has planned for them. But that is okay. Smile, be gracious, and acknowledge their blessing. BUT, if you just cannot take it, nothing beats a well-timed retreat—like the need to get back to work, the phantom call that needs to be made or the ever-popular bathroom run. Girlfriend, do what you gotta do to keep your sanity!
- DO, do something nice for yourself. Something that celebrates the love you have for you. Try this: At least a week prior, order a nice bouquet of your favorite flowers to be delivered to you on Valentine’s Day. Be sure to include an encouraging note to yourself and sign it “Someone who loves you.” Display those flowers proudly. And of course, when someone asks you who sent them, just smile wistfully and say, “My secret admirer.” The flowers will brighten your day. The encouraging message will lift your spirits. And the bonus, if you bought a nice arrangement, someone will want to be you that day.
- DON’T go out with a couple no matter how well intentioned they may be. Can you say awkward? (Yes, I rolled my eyes.)
- DON’T, as if it needs to be said, go out on a double date with the previously mentioned couple to meet someone they think will be “perfect” for you. Say it with me now, “Train Wreck!” Decide now that you will not be that desperate.
- DO find someone to talk to. If you find you just cannot handle being alone on this love-filled day, find someone you trust and talk out your feelings. Meet for coffee or dessert or both. Get a good word from them and some prayer. End on a positive note so you leave feeling uplifted and inspired.
- DON’T schedule a first date on Valentine’s Day. Online dating is a wonderful thing. It broadens your horizons and allows you to meet some great people outside of your immediate circle. However, if you find yourself communicating with someone you think you might like, do not meet for the first time on Valentine’s Day. Trust me on this. Your romance colored glasses will put a red and white amorous haze on how you see EVERYTHING! You will envision (or expect) an uber-romantic evening full of wonders that spark a beautiful, long- lasting relationship. The reality is that this was the only day you were both free, and he just invited you for coffee at the Starbucks up the street.
- DO, above all else, be honest with yourself. Be real about how you feel. If Valentine’s Day brings out the sad sap in you, accept it and create a way to get through it. A way that works for you. Understand that your desire to have a companion is normal and when you don’t have one, you may feel lonely. And that is normal, too. It does not make you weak; it does not make you pitiful. It makes you a woman who understands and accepts her season and that is more than okay.
Let’s face it; living single in a world geared toward couples can be a little rough on a sistah. And the idea of navigating solo through a day that specifically celebrates couples can make a girl want to curl up under the covers and stay there until it is over. Yes, you will be lonely. Yes, there will be times the desire for companionship will feel like a weight on your shoulders, and yes, the struggle is so real. But you got this! Do not despair. There is joy to be had in your oneness. You are in a time of freedom where the possibilities are endless. Embrace all this season has to offer. Get up and go. Do yo thang. Live life and live it more abundantly!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sonya A. Finley (SonyArletta) is an artist and designer currently working “undercover” at North County Transit District and will soon be moving over to the San Diego Airport Authority. She is a proud mother of four young men: James, Kevin, Joshua and Johnathan. Sonya attended US International University, School of Performing and Visual Arts, where she majored in Advertising Design, she received her Associates in Fashion Design from FIDM and her Bachelor’s in Fine Art (painting emphasis) from Mississippi State University.