It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend. If you’re in love or have someone special, you’re probably looking forward to something you’ve planned or maybe you’ll be surprised by your partner. If you don’t have that certain somebody, you might be tempted to go into Target and knock over the displays. It’s ok. Breathe, my love.

This particular holiday always seems to come with so much pressure. If you’re married or in something long-term, maybe you’re running out of ways to show your love creatively, don’t feel inspired, or perhaps you’ve just procrastinated until the last minute. Let me just say that a good playlist, wine, and a massage can go a long way. Trust me, I’ve done the research. If you’re in a relationship that’s relatively new, you might be anxious that the person won’t come correct. What if they don’t quite know your taste or you have to pretend to like something that you really think is silly. Chill out. Be gracious and smile. If it’s super new, maybe not fully established with labels, it might be presumptuous to expect anything. Just enjoy the flow, but I understand the slight disappointment and side-eye. Picking up a card from Walgreens and some chocolate never hurt anyone.

I love the holidays. Any time I can put up color-coordinated festive decor and have a reason to buy holiday packaged chocolate, I’m all in. V-day has always been elusive to me. I’ve had some great ones; super memorable times with endearing well thought out plans, dinner, candles, bubble baths, and poetry written for me. I’ve also been completed ignored and stood up – more than once in fact. Those moments bruised my ego more than my actually heart. Either way, it’s all good. Shout out to all the suckas. May you trip up the stairs, your toilet be clogged, and lose your car keys. Lol.

Fun fact: I’m a Libra. We LOVE love. Like, we can’t get enough. And we have a tendency to love immediately, deeply, and furiously.

I can remember my first crush very well. He was a kid I went to elementary school with. We’ll call him Chris. I think he was a couple of grades ahead of me. Chris would crack these corny jokes which I thought meant he liked me.

Many years later in the summer of 96′, Chris was my first kiss. At the end of my neighborhood block our mouths met. Even a little tongue. Lol. I was 16. In late 2000, he took me to dinner right before I moved to Atlanta.

I would run into him years later at Target. Maybe 2004-2005ish. Chris was significantly overweight, a lot shorter than I remembered, and mirrored nothing of the person I had spent hours daydreaming about while putting my first name with his last name all over my notebooks. There was such innocence during those times. It made me chuckle to myself. I mean, I was head over heels for this guy in the second grade.

I spent all of my twenties in one relationship with a guy I fell for in college. It should have ended at graduation, but that’s another story. It felt like love. I was sure of it. At least my understanding of it at that time. We bonded through our love of art, culture, and hip-hop. Lots of amorousness. Our college love was great. Post graduation, I outgrew him rapidly, but held on. I kept thinking, he’ll grow up, mature, etc. Spoiler alert…that’s not how it works. I also felt like I was owed a ring as a reward for my faithlessness through all the years I held onto something that no longer fit me. I didn’t understand the concept of cutting your losses. In fact, I just figured it out 2 years ago.

At thirty, I was so over it. I remember thinking I would get my doctorate and move to Paris. I had gone back to school and I just didn’t see myself marrying anyone. The options seemed so underwhelming. I dated a bit, nothing note-worthy and then I met the guy I did actually marry. I’m currently, single so I’ll spare you the details and you can fill in the blank. But what I will say is the heart knows. Your gut, your instincts, they can’t be fooled. Logic only goes so far.

So as I prepare for this V-day, single with a few options simmering in the background, I’m grateful to have loved. And to have been loved. If you’ve ever had it or currently have it, be thankful. It is and can be so glorious.

Right now, I’m the love of my life and I like this space. I’m getting a deep tissue massage this weekend. On Valentine’s day, I’ll prepare bourbon salmon and whipped red mashed potatoes from scratch for dinner. I’ll eat cake and drink wine. Maybe a port (it’s a rich, sweet, heavy fortified wine from Portugal) if I do chocolate cake. I’ll light candles and take a bubble that smells like heaven. I’ll play my favorite playlist titled LOVE with everything from Snoh Aalegra and D’Angelo to Norah Jones and James Blake.

I’ll probably watch Love Jones for the 1,000,000,000th time, reciting all the lines with mirrored facial expressions. I’ll cry during the flashback scene when Darius and Nina are running through the park and Sentimental Mood by John Coltrane is playing in the background. I’ll reminisce and enjoy myself.

What will you do? To all my single hearts, I suggest you treat yourself. Focus on self-love. Because you need it and deserve it. I have loved and I have lost. I know my heart well now. She always bounces back. She’ll get back out there…right now we’re just enjoying the view.

“And when we’re older
And we’re ready
To leave Earth behind
Here’s to hopin’
It’s exactly
At the same damn time”

Artist: James Blake / Song: When We’re Older