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Valentine’s Day is about to rear its ugly face again. Please, pass me a Hallmark card. Don’t forget the envelope, that’s for the vomit, don’tcha know. I thought this year on my blog I’d do something different. I don’t want to waste space discussing my lamentable love life. Nah, old news. Instead today’s post is sort of a love letter … to myself. And why not? Rather than waiting for some guy to tell me how special I am, maybe I can just do that for myself, after all, they surely don’t know me the way I know me.

I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. It’s not that I’ve given up looking for a partner. It’s just that it’s gradually sinking in that nobody will ever fit the job description better than I will. And so, I want to treat myself with all the love and kindness that my imaginary perfect boyfriend would. Gloria Steinem hit the nail on the head when she said, “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” Is it sad, or is it awesome, that I have more of the qualities I look for in a man inside of me than the men I encounter?

I want to take the time to care about how I feel and do nice little things for myself to make life more beautiful. Should a wonderful man cross my path, well that would be excellent. He could be the cherry on the cake that I baked myself. And should he not come around, well that cake will be damned fine without him. Well that’s what I’m going for anyways.

If I had a partner, I’d love to sit and listen to all the reasons why he loves me. The ego wants what it wants, eh? Who doesn’t like hearing about how awesome they are? Today I write about what I love most about myself, and I kind of recommend you do the same, partner or not. Our partners can be clueless when it comes to knowing how to meet our needs at times. And furthermore, it’s not fair to them to expect them to be mind-readers. Even the best girl/guy won’t be able to accommodate 100% of what we wish from them 100% of the time, so some of that needs to come from ourselves. We all have bad days. They will too. And when we stop giving them the power to effect our mood (easier said than done, for sure), it can be very liberating. I think maybe meeting my own needs isn’t the worst idea I’ve come up with.

Reasons why I love me:

My resilient heart: despite having had my heart broken, time after time, I heal. I heal like a mutha fucka… and I manage to do it without bitterness. I still believe in love, and I will never give up. I leave my heart open to possibilities.

My ability to see the good in people: Some will say it’s naievity, I say it’s anything but. We all have good and bad, we all have beauty. What we find in others is actually a reflection of ourselves, not the person we are observing. I choose to see the good. That’s the way I like my world to be.

My stillness: I like that I am quiet. I like that I can be comfortable not showing off or screaming for attention. I like my soft voice. I think there is beauty in restraint, a peacefulness and an elegance.

My smile: I do have an awesome smile… for real. You would be jealous.

My appreciation for beauty: I love the way my beady little eyes seek out beauty. I think I have an amazing aesthetic. I am able to enjoy all sorts of art from street art to the old masters. I find beauty everywhere I go, and quite frankly, being able to do that makes me feel very wealthy indeed. Maybe it’s because I can appreciate the finer things as well as the simple ones, without the need for ownership. I consider that a very great blessing.

Happy Valentine’s Day to myself, my best girl, my ride or die. I love you.

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Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We don’t realize how far we’ve come. I am starting to recognize it, as lately I have been coming into contact with a few people whose D-day is painfully fresh.

The other day I met this guy. I have this feeling that we are going to become great friends. He is a foodie, he likes the same music as me, can hold a conversation like nobody’s business, and he is into art … he is also a complete f’ing mess. He is absolutely crippled by his divorce. He was me.

My life is faaaaar from picture perfect. My lovely Birdy has flown away (though I did leave the cage door open), I’m unemployed… blah blah blah, I can’t even be bothered to list all the crap, but if you read me, you know.  But you know what? I’m not the flaming disaster that I used to be. I remember when I started this blog almost two years ago. I hadn’t gotten my first job  yet. I just received a bill from my lawyer in the UK, and I was thrown into utter and complete panic. I had no idea how I was going to pay it. It wasn’t THAT awful, it was just the  straw that broke my back. I felt so violently sick, scared, alone, desperate… you name it. At that moment I wished I was dead. I hid inside my sister’s dark closet and I cried like a wounded animal. My mother had to pry me out. I will never forget it. It was a pain so hard and real you could taste it. I was petrified. I’m guessing you know that feeling too.

These days, it’s a mixed bag. Good days and bad days, but the “bads” are no longer complete meltdowns. I am not that crushed, defeated creature anymore. There is something that comes from surviving the worst pain in your life that changes you. It changes you in a very powerful way. I am not going to pretend that all of the sudden I’m some super strong wonder woman now. I’m not. What I’m saying is that in these bad times, we are forced to prove to ourselves who we are. We are forced to overcome challenges because we have absolutely no other choice. I have found, as I am sure you have, that we are so much more than we ever knew. That weak spine develops a steel core that allows us to stand up again. While our body is adjusting to that foreign object, it is debilitatingly painful. The end result is pretty freaking amazing though. We have scars. You don’t get out of the most brutal battle of your life unscathed. BUT when those scars heal, we are better. We are more cautious and weary, and sometimes we are angry, but we are also strong in a way that we have never been, and we are infinitely more beautiful. We have been through some shit, and guess what? We are still here!

So I guess all that is my way of saying that we deserve some cake and a big fucking party. We have come such a long way. Don’t forget it.

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Has it ever occurred to you how ridiculously difficult it is to be female?  Why do we pluck, bleach, dye, shave, and wax hairs? Why do we wear heels that contort our feet into positions which are not only torturous but also unhealthy for the human body? Why do we straighten our hair with irons and treat it with chemicals? Why do some of us inject poison into our bodies and use mild acids on our skin? Why? Because God forbid we wrinkle (after all, we all know the worst thing a woman can do is get old …  or fat)!   I am guilty of many of these things. There is no reason to be coy. I’m guessing you are too, because if you are reading my blog, you are probably a woman.

Growing up I remember my mom brushing my hair. I remember having this huge knot right behind my neck that had to be unmatted. It took her ages to detangle me. I was crying and upset, and my mother said something to me I will never forget: “A little pain is a little beauty.”

The things we do to be “beautiful” are really over the top stupid. Imagine if you were an alien looking at us from outer space and you saw that all these tortures were not only self inflicted, painful, and expensive; but that we deeply wanted them. What would you think? Us women are a strange bunch. But if you think a little deeper, there is more to it than that.

I just read the most amazing book called Dietland by Sarai Walker. It made me think a lot about all the self harm we do in order to fit someone else’s idea of what women should be. Someone needs to slap those people. We are rad as fuck just the way we are, dontcha know!? When it comes to Dietland,  what looks like some ordinary chick lit, with its cutsey little cover, is actually one of the most eye poppingly unique feminist manifestos I have ever had the pleasure of reading (and that’s saying quite a bit as I do a lot of reading and have a minor in Women’s Studies). It starts off being about a fat girl who goes by the name of Plum. Plum is trapped in her 300+ pound fleshy suit of armor which prevents her from living the life she wants. Instead of relationships and romance, she gets snide and nasty comments. Instead of feeling worthwhile and beautiful, she covers herself in loose clothes trying to go unnoticed. She is contemplating gastric bypass surgery when the story opens. What actually unfolds, however, is not your typical fat girl gets thin and gets a guy book. No indeed. What happens, as Plum’s journey unfolds, is that Dietland leads the reader to question why being fat is actually so bad. For that matter, why as women, do we feel such a desperate need to cling to almost unattainable standards in order to feel that we have worth? Is beauty the most important thing to aspire to? Aren’t we more than the flesh suits we live in? Maybe our fat / unibrows / excessive body hair / flat chests / aging bodies aren’t really the problem.

Dietland  was not just an engaging read. At times it is dark and hardcore, at times it is funny and sweet. It also made me angry … but in a good way. Some of the characters in this book were also angry, and the novel explores what happens when women stop trying to be all sugar and spice and decide to fight back. Dietland will leave you with a smile on your face, an unapologetic door stopper of cake in your hand, and a feeling of empowerment. This book is for any woman who ever felt like she was “less than.” So yeah, this book is for anyone who is a woman. I wish I was rich like Oprah and could buy a copy for every single woman I know. I hope you read it.