Simone de Beauvoir

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day: it takes guts, people

This may be the first year I don't get on my soap box about how declaring feelings for another person should only be professed annually. Besides the face that 'annually' is usually associated with things like a colonoscopy, mammogram, and prostate screenings, I believe in telling people that you love them daily, like brushing your teeth, drinking 80 ounces of water, and taking a vitamin.

Go tell them.  Now.

This isn't about saying something to them because we all know how quickly life can change and how we aren't promised tomorrow. No, it's about sharing you feelings daily with those who mean so very much to you. Remind yourself how much they mean to you by telling them.

Instead, I am committed to tie this blog to Simone. And then her to me, which is a challenge that I love. Really.

I found out that Simone, like me, was raised Catholic. She went to a convent school and I went to a parochial school (for Kindergarten). We must have had vastly different experiences because she wanted to become a nun. Me, well, I just wanted the pretzel rods and chocolate chip cookies for snack. At fourteen, however, Simone apparently had a crisis of faith and became atheist. At that age, I discovered boys and any hopes of life in a convent were dashed. 

The story goes that Beauvoir's family finances were strained and jeopardizing her chances of marriage. She decided to do what she'd always wanted in addition to providing for herself. And therein lies a huge difference between the French young woman and myself:  she did what she'd always wanted to do. 

When I first learned of this decision, I thought she was gusty. That Simone was tough, determined and decidedly insistent on doing what she wanted. I, on the other hand, lacked guts. Instead, I did as I was told, did whatever was 'right' in the eyes of my community and most of all, did what would make my parents proud.....and unknowingly make me miserable.

Side note: Although my life has been and continues to be full and I am quite content (with only one regret--a tattoo--which is a story for another day), I did have to grieve the loss of what I wanted most as a career. I'm fairly certain I'm too old to start it, but I am determined to get into the field, just in a different capacity.

Today I see Simone's decision as one of self-love. She loved herself so much that she did what she know was in her best interest. Research suggests that she was only the ninth female to graduate from the Sorbonne. That's some pretty serious self-love right there. Imagine all those male-dominated classes. Did they even have a ladies' room in the building? She probably used the men's room if she needed a bathroom.

The Sorbonne, Paris, France

Side Note 2: I wasn't miserable as such. Disappointed is more like it. Disappointed in myself for not having the guts to stand up for myself. Sad that I didn't think I was important enough to do what I wanted--which was a career in law enforcement--because the required schooling wasn't 'prestigious' enough in the eyes of my parents. 

It's now clear to me that I lacked that self-love then. I simply didn't love myself enough to want what's best for me. Or at least attempt to get it. However, I do know that today, I have that secret ingredient in the recipe of life that makes it a bit more flavorful. That love for myself that makes me want to celebrate ME on Valentine's Day. 

So I encourage you to celebrate this Valentine's Day, the day set aside for love, and declare that YOU are loved. YOU are enough. YOU are worthy. YOU are lovable. Celebrate YOU! 

Relax, February only has 29 days this year!

Continue it through March. You'll be amazed as what changes will occur in  you and those around you.

As for me, well, I haven't decided how I'll profess my love to the most amazing woman I know: ME! Maybe it will be with chocolate (dark) or flowers (gardenias or peonies or violets). Maybe it will be with a copy of one of Simone's books so she can "share the love" on Valentine's Day.

With love!

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