LOVE Oh Valentine’s Day – you sneaky bastard. After 30+ years of living – precisely at the time I have found a wonderful fellow – I no longer care for you as a holiday. In truth, I haven’t liked you since 1991 – the last year they handed out cupcakes and candy hearts in my elementary school.  In those days, every 6th grader got a proper serving of Hallmark affection from their fellow friend.

When I reached high school, every February 14th brought me so much angst as carnations from boyfriends or secret admirers were handed out to the usual suspects. Every year, I hoped I would get one. But I never did. (Wait – save your tears for me.)

In my 20’s, I got hip to singles events for Valentine’s Day – where poor unmatched souls like me would gather at bars or poorly lit hotel ballrooms in search of a mate for life…or even just the day. Scanning the room, I’d look around and think, “Sweet Jesus…this is a sad, sad crew.”  I never thought to place myself amongst the ranks of the dejected.  After fruitless searches at those events, I got hip to the self-soothing joys of cold takeout, single-toast champagne bottles and sappy movies on Valentine’s Day.

Ten or so years and 30 or so pounds later, I figured out that cold pizza wasn’t showing me any love. Damn you, pizza…I thought you cared! (You can cry now.)

When I think back on all the February 14th’s I spent feeling so disappointed, there are two things I wish I had known:

1.  LOVE is also a 4-letter word.  Remember this when you’re cursing the TV gods for playing romantic comedy marathons.

2.  Speak in words of LOVE to yourself and everyone else.  As Maya Angelou so eloquently said, “Words are things. You must be careful…Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words… They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”

I won’t wish you a happy Valen….(you know). I’ll just say this: The most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself.  Once you figure that one out – all others will fall into place – and in LOVE.  So whether you’re hitched up to a partner today or you’re flying solo with some chocolates and reruns of “You’ve Got Mail”, remember that most awesome thing you can ever own on this day and every other is love and kindness from yourself to yourself.