Step Away From the Drama, You Can Be Your Own Valentine

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GREG KANTRA

As I woke up and looked at the calendar, I was surprised to see the date: February 11th. Not only was I surprised to see how fast this year has gone by, I also remembered:

It’s almost Valentine’s Day.

This is probably one of the only years of my life I haven’t thought about Valentine’s Day at all. Despite Hallmark aisles, flower sales, and candy hearts sprinkled around town, I haven’t given the “holiday” any meaning this year, nor have I taken it seriously.

It’s not that I haven’t been dating or had prospects. From two different guys who both took me out for my birthday (who both happen to be fellows at the Harvard Kennedy School) to meeting my cute neighbor at the convenience store where I was visiting a crush, my dating life has been full of synchronicity, farce tales, and hilarity.

There has been so much chaos over these past two months that I haven’t even thought about Valentine’s Day.

Most of my Boston dating experience has been right here in the squares of Davis and Harvard. I’ve had countless first dates at Foundry on Elm, walked out on a sexist rant Border Cafe (which I secretly recorded), and was told my stories were hard to follow by an aggressive man at Beat Brasserie.

I could write out a full walking map of all of my bad dates with stories to accompany each location.

I can’t run or hide, either. A little over a month ago I went to Diesel Cafe for a coffee date and pool. As we walked down the street to grab lunch afterward, we passed the guy (one of those Kennedy School fellows) I had been seeing for the past two months. He had told me he was in Toronto for the holiday, so you can imagine the look on his face when I looked him straight in the eye and said “hi!” Since this occurrence I have found dug up some unfavorable information about him- whether or not it’s true, I’ll never know. I can’t read Farsi. Sure, I wasn’t innocent being on a date that day- but I would say casual dating is a lot less offensive than his lies and fake British accent.

I think this was the beginning of the end.

Just the other day I caught up with a dear friend who knows me from my time in Mississippi. He knows my crazy stories and my struggles, so being able to vent to him was very helpful. I told him about my recent guy troubles and filled him in on the other aspects of my life. Then, he texted me the wisest thing I’ve heard all week:

“Maybe it’s time to start caring about Kristin and not these Boston boys.”

What a concept.

Why did it take someone else to tell me this? It’s almost as if I completely forgot everything I have ever said about “self-love,” “self-compassion,” and “self-sufficiency” Sure, I’ve enjoyed having someone to do things with every now and then, going to good meals, gathering ridiculous dating stories, and eventually writing about them, but it’s been damaging to my mental health.

Was I getting addicted to the drama?

Alex was right, it was time to care about Kristin.  Sure, I know the things I need to do to feel whole- exercise, meditation, healthy diet, daily writing.  I know all of these things.  However, time after time, I would find the same type of guy. Academic and intelligent; someone who continually praised me. Over and over, from the restaurants they took me to to the kind of work they do, there have been uncanny parallels in my dating life this past year in Boston. Why? Was I looking for validation? Am I subconsciously looking to settle down? Do I think one of these guys will complete me?  What exactly was my motive?

Over the past few months, dating has only clouded my judgement, created chaos, and caused me stress.  I needed to take a few steps back to truly move forward.

Just the other day I had a glorious afternoon. I strolled through Harvard, enjoyed some time by the Charles River, visited my favorite metaphysical store, and went into Boston for a few errands. Once the train rose above ground and approached Charles MGH, I was in awe of beauty of the city- almost as if I was given new life and I had seen the skyline for the first time.  “This is why I moved here,” I thought. The view, the energy, the opportunity. What have I been doing? Sulking, listening to sad songs, eating too many Snickers bars? I didn’t move here to whine- I came here to live.

I got off the train at Downtown Crossing and eventually roamed over to Boston Common. Snapping photos all along the way, a rush came over me. That writer girl- that independent girl- that sassy girl- she was back. Victim no more, I realized what a waste of time dating is right now. Sure, I’d like a partner. It was fun to hold hands strolling through Harvard Square with one of the December guys, eating tacos upstairs at Felipe’s and roaming the Coop on a Thursday afternoon.

Those are all of the things I do by myself anyway.

I don’t need a “Valentine;” I am my own best friend. You can be yours, too. TC mark

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