Ah, February. That annoying little month when it’s still too cold outside to really be enjoyable; the stores are taken over by everything heart-shaped, red, or pink, and cheaply gaudy; and then, thankfully, it’s all over halfway through this shortest of months. I could take to my soapbox about the self-deprecation inspired by such a ridiculous holiday, but instead I’ll encourage us all to take a more careful, dare I say loving, look at our relationships with ourselves.
It may seem obvious to say, but we are in lifelong relationships with ourselves. Why wouldn’t we want to prioritize this relationship above all others in our lives? As poet C. JoyBell C. wrote, “The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with.”
From approximately the age of twelve until just recently I wore the same ring every day. Never took it off. It was a poesy ring that I received as a birthday gift (after dropping endless hints that it was the only thing I wanted). I wore it with the words (vous et nul autre – French for “you and no other”) facing me. I posed it in that direction as a reminder to put myself first. A visual promise that I was to go against my very nature and prioritize my relationship with myself. It was a private vow to take better care of myself than I do those around me. Through the years I’ve slowly gotten better at it. Just the other day my hand decided that I was done wearing it. I think I’m finally – finally – in a place that I don’t need that daily reminder.
Only through learning how to enjoy our own company, being able to delight in the stillness of self, are we able to truly know self-love. So take yourself out on a date. A nice date. Fancy, even. Take yourself out for a movie. Or to an art exhibit. And then, as songwriter/poet Tanya Davis wrote, “Take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no ones watching because they are probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move, genuinely move to beats, after-all, is gorgeous and affecting.” Gorgeous and affecting. Yes.
Have a hot romp with yourself. Light candles. Put on something that makes you feel sexy. Take your time. Do yourself good. Maybe even try out something new – I would love to offer up a juicy list of examples but since this is a PG-rated column, I’ll simply suggest that the internet is your friend. As are the helpful folks who work at fun, local stores such as Frisky Business. Or, something I like to do, read erotica aloud when you’re all alone. Check out my blog for some succulent snippets. The possibilities are endless, really, when you commit to dating yourself.
None of this means you’re cheating on your partner if you happen to be coupled. Just the opposite, in fact. Once you learn how to focus on yourself, there will magically be more than enough energy to share with those you love. For instance, I used to go to this yoga class regularly and noticed another woman who went to every class too. One day I was walking out after her and heard two ecstatic voices call out, “Mommy! Mommy!” as they flung their arms out in her direction. Her beautiful kids were just as delighted to see her as she was them. This simple interaction stayed with me. It led me to wonder: What would our world look like if all mothers took such good care of themselves? What if they were centered in themselves such that they had plenty to give healthily and happily to their children?
Let’s all take this approach and work on filling ourselves up first. So much so that the love can overflow all around us, spilling over onto those we love so dearly.
In (self) lust, love, and all things woo,