Happy Valentine’s Day!

No, I’m not… I’m not being facetious, I swear. Just because I don’t have a beau with whom to celebrate means that I have to lounge in my pajamas while testing out my Domino’s-Ben-and-Jerry’s combo recipe and watching JennaMarbles bitch about cinnamon on YouTube? No way, man. Replace viral videos with terrible chick flicks starring beautiful people, and I tried that already when I was 18 years old. But a lot has changed since then. JennaMarbles hadn’t been invented. I couldn’t yet buy wine for myself. And I was still living in the Midwest.

Now, I live in Cambridge, a place where all the expectations of growing up in Missouri are reversed. My peers don’t have significant others, and it certainly doesn’t bother them. They are too busy with perfecting the balance of hard work and enjoying their youth. Suddenly, I’m an a place where my perspective on life isn’t just recognized— it’s the norm! Good God, pinch me.

You see, growing in the rural Midwest, people were always suspicious non-obsession with boys. Why is finding Prince Charming not your priority, Kasia? Why are you so focused on school and books and writing? In short, what is wrong with you? Even my sister, who is still in high school, recently informed me in a Skype session that she had found the man for me to “marry.” When, in an irritated mood, I retorted in defense and asked her to stop with this unsolicited advice, she responded, “Well obviously you’re being defensive, so there is some truth to you being lonely.”

On the contrary, little sister. In my entire life, I’ve never been happier. My favorite activities are reading books on my own and dancing with friends, and I’ve done plenty of both this year. For the first time, too, my impulse to not give a rat’s ass about a boyfriend has been received as perfectly normal. Before, I felt lonely for two reasons. First, I was met with that ubiquitous response, “there must be something wrong with her.” Secondly, any “romantic” experience I’ve had so far—whether it be dating or hooking up with a guy in a club—has left me with that disgusting sinking feeling in my stomach…just pure, elemental self-loathing.  If countless hours of pouring over poetry and novels (gross, English major) have taught me anything, a guy worth having should make you feel good about yourself. 

But the fact is, I can finally accept myself as an independent young woman. I now understand that I was never solely lonely (I’ve got the most wonderful friends in the entire world). Instead, I was upset that I was unable to conform to expectations. Now, I know better; finally, finally, I’m becoming comfortable in my own skin. I’m happy for those who are in relationships (perhaps the most telling change of all), which is why I honestly do hope that you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. But if you’re single, this message is for you: don’t despair. If romance isn’t your priority, there’s nothing wrong with you. It only means that you’re driven in some other way, whether it be for your career, religion, family, or whatever else… and that’s just fine.

 I will certainly be celebrating Valentine’s Day; I’m about to shower before cocktails and dancing with my friends. And since I’m on Tumblr, I might as well say it: my ship is Kasia x Self-Respect.