Just a brief note: The quotes and research referenced in this post were targeted at women, but the overarching idea applies to everyone regardless of gender. No matter who you are, this post is for you. Much love.
I’ve written this blog post half a dozen times. To those of you who read my October post on Family Haunts for the Love Romance Reads Blog, that might sound familiar. It’s part of what I love about writing posts for LRR, I always have an idea of what I want to write, but what actually makes it to you, dear readers, is never what I originally intended.
Here’s an example. This month, I started writing about my very unromantic feelings about Valentine’s Day. Surprise! The romance writer isn’t a fan of the mushy holiday. It and I had a contentious relationship long before my recent divorce, which was another topic consideration for this post. A few paragraphs in my Inner Voice reminded me, “It’s a blog post, not a novel. Those topics are too heavy. Snark might be better than angst.”
Fair enough, Inner Voice.
Taking my own advice, I began writing the hilarious (to me) story of posting quotes and pictures around my sister’s dorm room years ago to brighten her February 14th. Yes, nothing like a giant red heart and song lyrics to really put you in the right mood for Valentine’s Day. Granted, the lyrics I’d chosen were from Mary Poppins’ Sister Suffragette. Specifically: ‘Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid!’
“Humorous anecdote,” Inner Voice snarked at me, “but possibly offensive.”
From there, my train of thought chugged along to my favorite romantic lyrics, but Garbage’s “Beloved Freak” doesn’t usually top the swoon-worthy song lists. So we jumped tracks (pun intended) to the subject of famous romantic couples. Much as I adore Gomez and Morticia Addams, they make most people think Halloween, not Valentine’s. Nothing felt good enough. Nothing felt right.
That brings us to earlier this week when I happened to catch an NPR interview with New Orleans born singer-songwriter-producer, f.k.a. D∆WN or Dawn Richard. In the interview, she said “I know a lot of women who relate to the idea of being unapologetically open about saying, 'No, I'm not accepting anything but this, because I am worth it.'”
A bold statement. One that resonated with me. Yes! We are worth it. Worth loving. Worth wanting. Worth effort and adoration. Every single one of us is valuable, and we shouldn’t accept anything but the love we deserve.
“Perfect topic,” Inner Voice agreed. “Time to forge ahead.”
While that was percolating in my head, I popped in my headphones to listen to the audiobook I’d recently picked up, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I found myself unexpectedly struck by another profound statement. I’m clipping right along listening about impromptu gigs, internet communities, and interesting roommates when Palmer drops some info researched by professor and TED speaker Brene Brown. Through her research, Brown found that “women tend to feel shame around the idea of being 'never enough'... at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough…”
I found myself nodding in agreement. Inner Voice resorted to a loud record screech. “Wait. What?”
I instantly knew that these very unromantic notions needed to be the subject of my very brief and very pointed Valentine’s-ish post.
Here’s the deal, dear readers. We all get that feeling that we are never enough. That vague seed of doubt can fester until it is a vicious little demon buried deep in your brain and your soul, repeating horrid lies about how little you are valued. But that’s the sticking point. This demon and everything it says is A LIE.
February is supposed to be a month of love. It’s supposed to be a time we share one of the best possible human emotions with people we care about, not just significant others, but friends, and, dare I say it, ourselves. It’s time to let some winged cherub shoot that ugly, lying beast in the butt with a pointy arrow of truth. It’s time for all of us to stand up and say that we are worth more than that particular thought of “not enough”. We don’t have to believe the lies or accept anything less than perfect, unconditional love.
Please take Valentine’s Day, February, and every single opportunity you can to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved. I promise you, you’re worth it.
The Arts of Love: Stories of Sensual Creativity
Harley Easton is a Renaissance woman dabbling in everything life offers. She's worked at a theme park, found expert witnesses, guest lectured at a national museum, and worked with medical students. Putting experience and insanity to good use, She's found her favorite job, writing. Now she specializes in erotic, romantic, and speculative fiction. Who knows what kind of trouble she'll get into next.