It’s #valentinesday2020 and I had started a different post before this one, but I felt moved to write something a little different for today. It’s a day dedicated to love, and I am so fortunate to have so much of that in my life right now.
I’ve never had a partner with whom to celebrate Valentine’s Day – which isn’t something I feel sad about, but I admittedly look fondly toward to the day that I do – so this day of love and romance has typically felt rather dull to me. I think I felt much more excited about it in elementary school when the day was all about creating fun Valentine’s boxes (best homework assignment ever) and then giving and receiving valentines – often with candy – from the entire class (best class party ever).
Every few years, I commit myself to celebrating Valentine’s Day in a different way. Two years ago, during my first winter in San Francisco, I stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to purchase my first ever valentines gift to myself – a Himalayan rock salt basket lamp, bought using one of my 800 Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons that expired at least ten months earlier. I then stopped to pick up a pint of ice cream and a frozen pizza on my way home because #selfcare is the #bestcare.
After spending two years after that Valentine’s Day developing a daily habit of self-care and increasing my self-love, I find myself focusing on a different source of love: community and friendships.
In my last two months in SF – even more so in my last three weeks before I moved – I experienced the largest wave of support I have ever noticed in my life. Since I have moved (temporarily) back to Ohio, that wave is only growing larger. This post is a tribute to those who have filled me with such love over the past few months:
To the thirty or so people – both from SF as well as Ohio – who showed up to my capstone performance, the pinnacle of my master experience and the most vulnerable and impactful art I have ever shared. Your support in witnessing this performance reinforced the work I put into myself and my healing, and gave me the confidence to continue sharing my art and my story with others.
To my two best DT friends, who stood by me in the stress, pain, and anxiety of school, and in the joy, laughter, and stories of life. Your friendship fills my heart with such love; saying goodbye to you both was the hardest thing I had to do when I left SF.
To my Cornerstone SF church community, who has always seen me for who I am and the gifts I bring, even when I couldn’t see it for myself. I knew that every Sunday I showed up made it that much harder to leave, but I also knew that I couldn’t be too sad in leaving a place that filled me with such love every single day I showed up. I always looked forward to serving, and you are one of the biggest reasons I was able to find a sense of ‘home’ in SF.
To my therapist, who worked with and supported me for over two years. I’m a totally different person from start to finish, and I couldn’t have done that without your guidance and knowledge.
To my best friends in Ohio, who make me laugh harder than anyone has ever made me laugh in my life. I am so grateful to have friendships that have withstood the test of time; I know that I can come home and pick up right where we left off. Y’all have seen a lot of my shit and you still love me anyways – that’s true friendship!
To my Grace Point church community – how lucky I am to have such a supportive community that welcomes me back each time I visit home. You helped me discover my faith and encouraged me on my journey to discover my own spiritual relationship. Also, Grace Point VBS is the highlight of my summer. #dreamjob
To all of the wonderful friends who have reached out since I arrived home – spending time with you has been such a joy. Many of you are friends that I hadn’t spent much time with outside of church or school, and I feel truly grateful to have time now to deepen connections and relationships.
To my parents and sisters – wow, does it feel great to be home. It’s hard to watch the family dynamics transform as we all get older and find our own paths, but I am so proud to be a part of this family because "we are a family that shows up for each other, and for others."
To my doggo and feline fur babies, who cannot read this post but know how much I love them. I am especially grateful to my Tucker pupper, who sits in my lap and snuggles with me every day. He is my fuzzy bean and my heart overflows with love for him.
To those of you who have reached out to offer congratulations, thoughts, and connections. Even if we can’t spend time together in person, I absolutely feel your love! Thank you for taking time to connect, even if only through text.
To all of you who are reading this blog post. I’m still finding my footing and figuring out exactly what this blog is and what it’s for, and your support in taking the time to read, comment, and share fills me beyond words. Your encouragement reinforces why I’m investing in this blog and telling my story, so thank you, from the deepest part of my heart, for your investment in me.
Today, I acknowledge and celebrate all of the love I have in my life. I know I have inevitably missed some folks, and for that, I apologize, but please know that your love and support are deeply felt and appreciated! I have never felt more loved.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
With love and gratitude,
(Cover image photo credit: Yousef Espanioly from Unsplash)