Today is my first Valentine’s Day without any guy in my life—because, for the first time in my adult life, I am truly single. This may come as a shock to many people who know me and know that I haven’t been in a relationship in years, but truth be told there was always someone in the the sidelines. There was the guy I fell in love with who couldn’t commit. The guy who fell in love with me, but who (for a lot of reasons) I could only stand for a summer. And of course “The Ex,” who always found a way to wiggle his way back into my life and my bed. But this year I have systematically cut all that extra baggage out of my life. (And I’m talking “changed my number” cut.)
So this is the part where I’m supposed to say how empowering this is and how much I’m finally getting to know the “real” me. And yes—those things are true. But I also get lonely. And as I mourn the passing of the voice of my generation, Whitney Houston, my playlist is NOT helping!
Sunday night, after watching the Grammys with some girlfriends, I came home and listened to Whitney’s “Why Does It Hurt So Bad”:
Why does it hurt so bad / Why do I feel so sad / Thought I was over you / But I keep crying / When I don’t love you
With the emotional mess I was over losing one of my icons and this V-Day looming over me, it was so tempting to justify “making a call.” But, in the words of Whitney, I didn’t know my own strength. It took admitting I was actually sad about not having anyone to cuddle with that night for me to understand that strength.
Don’t know where I first heard the saying “I’m alone, but I’m not lonely”—it was probably on an episode of Living Single back in the day—but it’s always stuck with me. So every time I was alone and got lonely I would make a call… (Or, more likely, send a text.) Nothing explicit. Just a “Hey…” that would inevitably set into motion a duologue that would lead me down an oh-too-familiar road to nowhere.
This time I didn’t call anyone. Instead, I just admitted to myself that I was lonely. And I reflected on all the reasons why: mourning Whitney, very cold night, watching LL Cool J host the Grammys… I cried, slept, and woke up grateful I was alone and didn’t have to start all over in the “unpacking my baggage” department.
And because I’m finally really rid of the men from my past, hopefully there will be room for a new man in my future. Until then I’ll be dating, armed with some lessons I’ve picked up from interviewing folks on dating, relationships, and sex. Take a look at what I’ve learned and share your own advice.