Case of the Motivational Mondays: Love and embrace your circumstances this week

Best Valentine's Day EVER!  (No, it wasn't because I had "four dates")

Whether I'm single or whether I'm in a relationship, Valentine's day isn't the biggest deal to me.  If I'm in a relationship it's a great excuse to spend time and show affection towards a significant other, but if I'm single it's not as though I'm on suicide watch.  It's just a day after all, and while there is a history to it, it has been pumped up on steroids by the greeting card and all forms consumerism industries.

I wanted to share with you the best Valentine's day I ever had, because it's an incredibly unlikely one!  It was 2013 and my love life was kind of neither here nor there.  I had split up with my boyfriend about two months before and had gone on a few dates with a few different guys and actually had plans with one of them for Valentine's.  He had to cancel earlier in the week though because of a schedule mixup (he did make it up to me that weekend and either or, it was like our third date or something so he was far from obliged to do anything!).  My really good friend Bryce had just started seeing his then girlfriend (and now fiancee!!!) Larraine, but because they were so new they didn't want to do a big thing.  All of Larraine's friends were girls and single, so they were all going out at this restaurant in Denver in one of my favorite neighborhoods.  Bryce invited me to tag along with them.  I obliged, but while I love female company I was also not the type that joined a sorority so I invited a few more dude friends to even out the testosterone levels because being at-for all intents and purposes-a lady singles party with one couple seemed kind of intense.

We all met up and it was pleasant enough.  The girls started leaving on the earlier side because they were all teachers and had to be up super early.  Bryce, myself, and my good friends Cameron, Kevin, and Alex all decided to stay out.  First we went to a bar down the street and had a blast.  The night would have been great if it ended there, but then we decided to make it one for the anti-romantic Valentine's Day record books by going to a porn store AND gay strip club down the street.  (Some of the people in our party were gay men).  The gay guys brought up the idea earlier in the night halfway as a joke-in the sense that it would be entertaining to see who the hell goes to a strip club on Valentine's Day- but we decided it was just weird enough that we should do it!  Frankly, this was the best idea my friend group has ever had!  First off, we got to watch one of our gay friend's give one of our straight friend's a dollar to put in one of the stripper's G-string (a "gentleman's agreement.").  Then one of the strippers took off his pants to reveal he was, you know, sporting an ankle monitoring bracelet.  (You can't make this stuff up).  Tons of other inside jokes were formed that night, but I'm not sure they're appropriate for this blog!  My point on why it was "the best idea" my group ever had was that while I maintain I don't care if I'm single on Valentine's Day, it felt super liberating to do something on the side of dark humor of things on such a fluffy day.  That fact that it organically manifested and was with people I genuinely love made it all the better.

Maybe you're judging me big time that I thought the most fun Valentine's Day ever was at a strip club.  On paper, I totally get it-it sounds really messed up!  But here's the thing, as much as I love going to nice dinners with boyfriends and getting dressed up...there's a million other reasons to do so. I hate the cliche aspects of Valentine's and how showy people get about presents or wanting to be seen at restaurants.  (I'm also allergic to flowers, so they don't do anything for me either...).  Hanging out with four of my favorite people and laughing our faces off from our new inside jokes because what we were doing seemed wrong to do on Valentine's Day...made it completely special.  The above photo is literally one of my all-time favorite photos.  I love everyone in it and I love that we all had fun that night and still reference it to this day.  In fact, Valentine's is now a tradition in our friend group because we try to repeat 2013's misadventure and include any significant others we've accumulated since!

My point with this whole anecdote is that to me, love is about way more than romantic love.  We all go through phases where it's too easy to focus on what we don't have, but we all have things to be thankful for too.  Two years ago I chose to be open minded, go to a pseudo singles party that I wasn't all the way psyched about, and ended the night with my face hurting from laughing so much and being so appreciative for the people in my life.  Regardless of your current lot in life this week, love yourself, love the people who mean a lot to you (platonic or romantic), and do something that makes YOU happy this weekend.  Sometimes the rest just falls into place and you land where you need to be...

"To find someone you love, you gotta be someone you love."-Nada Surf

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