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Student Life

My first Valentine’s Day as a single girl

It’s that time of the year again: chocolate hearts and Hershey’s kisses galore. Overwhelming pink and red confetti in that wretched drugstore aisle when all you wanted to do was buy conditioner. The looming stuffed animals that somehow lose their balance on shelves and end up falling on your head. What? I’ve seen it happen. 

You guessed it—it’s Valentine’s Day! 

I was never a big fan of the praised “V-Day.” In fact, I always avoided it like the plague. Probably because, up until I was 18, I had no one to celebrate it with. My “relationships” or whatever you can call two-week-to-30-day-long makeout sessions, always seemed to fizzle out before that day would come. 

The first time I celebrated Valentine’s Day, I have to admit, was quite sweet. Roses on my doorstep, a box of chocolates under my boyfriend’s arm and a little black dress waiting for me with a note that said “wear this tonight”—a scene straight out of a movie, I tell ya. 

However, the following years were not as special for a number of reasons. 

The “holiday” would often sneak up on me, and I would grunt at the thought of having to clear my schedule for it. Plus, when you work in a restaurant, most of the time, your weekends/nights aren’t your own—especially on holidays.

Valentine’s Day had to be either a few days earlier or later than the initial date. It started to feel like an inconvenience more than a celebration of love. Both of us would get mad if the other didn’t put in the effort. Suffice to say, Valentine’s Day wasn’t our favourite—neither of us would admit it though. 

Our last Valentine’s together was last year, and I was working on the actual day. Long story short, the relationship was no more a month later—for many reasons. 

Now it’s 2020, and your girl is single again—and I still hate the day with a passion. Walking into a Dollarama, Pharmaprix, or Jean Coutu always irks me—what was up with all the pink and red when it was only January?! They take down Halloween decorations a day after Oct. 31, while Valentine’s day seems to drag on two weeks after Feb. 14. I get that it’s a day to celebrate love—but do y’all have to be so loud and obnoxious about it? 

Yeah, yeah, I can hear everyone screaming at me to leave people alone and let them celebrate. I didn’t say otherwise, but I’ve always been averse to this holiday because—and call me a boomer or whatever—in my opinion, Valentine’s day should be every day. 

The stress that comes with it, whether you’re single or in a relationship, is just too much. If you’re single, you’re a lonely spinster who can’t do love right no matter how hard you try. If you’re in a relationship and life gets in the way of your celebrations, you’re a terrible partner! And the ones who don’t care for it are simply heartless. 

I’ve been single for almost a year, and most of the time it’s been great. During the holidays, I will admit, a little pang of loneliness did hit; Christmas time and New Year’s Eve were the worst. For some reason, most of my friends are in relationships, dating, or stuck in the in-between phase of our wonderful hookup culture. In all cases, they’ve all got something going on, while I’m watching Sex and the City reruns.

Therefore, I propose a motion: for Valentine’s Day to be cancelled, and a second Halloween to take its place! 

Photo by Britanny Clarke

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Student Life

The Art of Being Single: Let it go

Leave them alone. Stop thinking about them, stop checking up on them, stop wishing you could go back and do things differently – let it go.

It can sometimes feel like there are two of you sharing the same body. The first is the rational part of you that has left someone in the past. That part of you that got attached to someone you thought was great, that you had so much in common with, that you were falling for. The part of you that got hurt by careless words and actions, your heart stripped of its integrity and your peace of mind shattered. That’s the part of you that, because you suffered through a painful time, knows that now you’re better off without the person that hurt you.

Then there’s the second part of you: the part that’s irrational and does things without thinking. Despite knowing all the pain a person put you through; despite all the suffering you dealt with on your own because of them; despite them being no good for you and you being much better off now than ever, this is the part of you that’s stuck on the attachment you used to have to them.

The thing with having these two parts is that, while the first part is what you lead your life with now, the second one creeps in sometimes – and usually when you least expect it. While you’re out in public or alone in your private spaces, you may be living your life rationally, maybe eating soup or reading a book, and then something might trigger your irrational part to peek through. Next thing you know, you’re searching up that toxic person on Instagram or thinking about every moment you had with them, wishing things had turned out differently.

Here is a call-out to your irrational part: stop it. You know you’re doing more harm than good. You know you’re wasting your time. You know this is the worst possible thing you could be doing for your sanity and for your personal growth. No, you don’t miss them; you’re just trying to replicate the feeling you had back when you were with them – talking to them, thinking about them all the time. 

Remember that you have the rational part of you, the part that knows what’s best, and that thinking about the toxic past isn’t what’s good for you. So be rational and stop letting toxicity from the past hinder your life now.

Let it go.

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Student Life

The art of being single: Cuffing season is here!

So cuffing season is upon us and everyone seems to be frantically trying to find someone to hold on to for the upcoming months. Cuffing season, if you don’t already know, is the time when everyone is trying to settle into a relationship of some kind. It may seem like it’s made up, but cuffing season is actually a thing.

According to a Cosmopolitan article, cuffing season is from October to March. This happens because of the cold weather outside — temperatures drop, days become shorter and there’s less sunshine, and people’s testosterone levels rise. So, what’s the logical thing to do? Cuff up with someone for six months, apparently.

Very honestly, because that’s how I do this column thing, I’ve never been cuffed and the idea of trying to find someone for this period wasn’t so present in my life. It’s also never really been a prevalent thing in my circle or even in my general surroundings. I’ve realized that’s because I’ve mostly been around people who have been in long term relationships or just couldn’t care less about being with someone, regardless of the time of year.

But this year, things are different: those who were in long term relationships are no longer, those who didn’t care about being with someone suddenly do, and I’ve made new friends who now think of it too. It feels like there’s a shift in the air — people are searching everywhere to try to find someone to keep them warm and cuffed until March. 

So where does that leave me? It stresses me out.

I already can’t seem to find someone during the “regular” season (literally always) so how am I expected to keep up with the high, fervorous and tension-filled time that is cuffing season? Sure, I could just go about my life like I have for the last couple of months, waiting for the universe to plant someone at my doorstep, but I’m no different than anyone else — the cold weather, lack of sunshine and incessant seeing everyone else cuffed up just makes me want to be cuffed up too. 

But if you’re like me and never get cuffed, fear not. Remember, people get cuffed because they’re lonely and cold. All you need to get through cuffing season alone is a bunch of blankets, cozy socks, all your favourite movies, all of the snacks, and your friends. If I can get through cuffing season, so can you.

 

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

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Student Life

The art of being single: Know that you’re not alone

What do you do when everyone around you is getting in a relationship, always going on dates, in multiple people’s DMs? What do you do when, even in a crowd full of people, in a room full of friends, surrounded by a family that loves you, you feel all alone? 

Relationships are weird. You spend so much time going about your life, living it alongside those around you in a neat little existence, minding your business and taking things one step at a time. One day, you meet someone – you bump into them on the street, you’re in the elevator together, you follow each other on Twitter, you match and start chatting on a dating app – and your life changes.

No longer are you simply living your life in a little bubble following a neat little existence alongside your friends and family. Your life now revolves, in some respect, around the person you start talking to, and eventually start dating. It’s great, life feels full, love is everywhere around you.

But what if you’re that friend on the sideline, on the outside of all this? The one that was living that neat little existence beside you, with no sight for a relationship anywhere nearby. What if you’re the friend who’s single while everyone else around you is living their best taken/dating life? Obviously, you’re happy for your friends, your family, whoever it is that found love – but what about you?

The idea that the more love there is around you, the more love you feel might be nice in theory. But it can feel very lonely when everyone else around you is experiencing love. Yes, there are my friends and family, maybe even some strangers, who love me; yet nothing can fill that little void you feel when you’re missing out on it all.

Yes, I know that the people around me love me and care for me, but not having someone to love more than in the capacity of just a friend or your family can be quite lonely. It’s not the worst thing in the world, of course, but it’s still a prevalent feeling.

Yes, I know it may suck for all it’s worth, but really try to focus on the positives: at least you have friends and family and maybe even strangers who love and appreciate you. Know that, while you may feel alone when it seems like everyone else in the world has someone except for you, you aren’t really alone. You’re not the only one feeling that way, your emotions are valid, and your time to find that love you see everyone else around you have will come one day – just maybe not today.

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Uncategorized

The art of being single

I debated sharing this with everyone, with however many strangers and my mom (hi mom) are going to read this, but I think there’s a valuable point to my story, so just hear me out.

This is the first summer in about four years that I wasn’t on a dating app. That doesn’t seem like a very big deal and, in theory, it isn’t. But when you spent many years on and off dating apps trying to find someone you connect with, I guess it kind of is.

In the first issue of The Art of Being Single for 2019-20, I wrote about how I’m a go-getter in all aspects of my life, dating and love included. All my time on dating apps over the last few years have been to potentially find someone I would maybe spend my life with (big claim, yes I know, but it does happen!)

If you’ve been following along with my column, or if you know me in real life, you know that my search over the years has been futile. Sure, I’ve spoken to and gotten to know a lot of cool, interesting people, but also some people that, looking back at now, I wish I hadn’t invested so much of my time in.

I’m not going to say that I necessarily regret spending so much time on dating apps over the years, because every single one of those people (and trust me, there’s been a lot, all who’ve eventually ghosted) have moulded me into who I am today. Each person has left me with memories, with inside jokes I still laugh at sometimes, with things that remind me of them in everyday life. They’ve all helped me know what I want and don’t want, what I like and dislike, how to maneuver through the world of dating. All of these people have shaped my view on the dating world and made me into who I am today.

So, this was the first summer in a long time that I wasn’t on a dating app. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t wasting my time swiping left and right, updating my profile to sound interesting, engaging in conversations with people that would end up ghosting at the end. This was the first summer that I wasn’t completely engrossed by my phone looking at profile after profile trying to look for love.

This summer, I felt free. And you should try it sometime too.

 

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Opinions

The art of being single

Don’t give up on finding your person

In the last issue of The Art of Being Single, I spoke about ghosting and how it sucks because it leaves you with many unanswered questions about the situation and yourself. It leaves you feeling defeated. But ghosting isn’t the only thing that can make you question yourself or someone’s behaviour towards you while building a relationship. You know what else sucks? Breadcrumbing and haunting.

If nothing else, I hope this column is at least teaching you some new things. According to Urban Dictionary, breadcrumbing is “when the ‘crush’ has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention.” So they’ll keep messaging you and being all flirty but things will go nowhere. Haunting, on the other hand, is a little like ghosting but the ghoster is keeping indirect contact, usually by liking your posts on Instagram or viewing your Snapchat stories, even though they have your number but never message you.

You know why these possibly suck even more than a simple ghost? It’s the fact that you’re constantly being reminded. You’re constantly being reminded that you never got any answers. You’re being reminded of the awful feeling of being ghosted in the first place. You’re constantly being bombarded with the idea that you’re flirt-worthy but not relationship-worthy. You’re being reminded of a failed relationship, the good moments (if any) you spent with the other person, the chemistry you thought was so intense a scientist somewhere in Antarctica could feel it amidst the blistering cold.

You begin to think it’s normal, that anything that doesn’t result in ghosting, breadcrumbing or haunting is a miracle. You might even begin to believe that love doesn’t—and can’t—exist, if this is what the dating scene is all about.

You know what sucks about it all? You begin to give up.

But don’t. No matter how hard it is to believe, there has to be something, someone out there for us that won’t leave us hanging. So no matter if you’ve been ghosted, haunted or breadcrumbed for the first, third, 64th time—don’t give up on finding love.

 

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Opinions

The art of being single

Just do it—just shoot your shot

Shooting a shot, in the context of any type of relationship, according to Urban Dictionary, is “to let go of your pride and pursue someone you are interested in.” Shooting your shot can happen in many different ways: sliding into someone’s DMs, directly tweeting them, commenting on their selfie or, you know, in the real world, going up to them and saying, “Hi.”

I know it’s easier said than done. You’re probably going to overthink the possible outcomes of shooting your shot and weigh the pros and cons, more than actually going through with it. I know it’s hard. You’re probably going to freak out about actually doing it.

Well, I’m here to be Nike. I’m here to be Shia Labeouf in that video. I’m here to tell you to stop all that and just do it. It’s not that scary, I promise. Ever since I can remember, probably way back in elementary school, I would always tell the boy I liked that I liked him. Ever since I can remember, I’m almost sure I got shut down every time.

While it might be scary to put your feelings out into the open and admit it to the person—and to yourself—it’s really not that big of a deal. Whether it’s that cute mutual follower on Instagram, the person in your class that keeps looking over at you, the friend that you might be falling for—just do it.

While it’s best to not keep your hopes up, it’s good to share and communicate your feelings. Not only is it healthier than keeping everything bottled up, or being left with that feeling of “what if,” but it might also work out.

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m not telling you to keep shooting your shot once someone gives you a clear indication that they’re not interested. Make sure you’re not making someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable by how and when you shoot your shot.

While I’ve not yet successfully shot my shot, every single time I try, I’m glad I did because I’m left feeling accomplished and strong having overcome my fear of going through with it. While I’ve not yet successfully shot my shot, it won’t stop me from continuing to try and do so when I’m into someone—it shouldn’t stop you either.

 

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Opinions

I’m an independent woman—with or without a relationship

You should be able to work on yourself, whether or not you’re with someone

I recently got out of a long-term relationship. After three years, things started to go downhill and it just wasn’t working out for us. He was my first love. Going through the breakup—the process of no longer speaking daily, of understanding he was no longer part of my life, of telling friends and family we are no longer together—was hard and is still hard at times.

When talking with friends and family about how I felt, I often got the same general advice: “It’s okay, now it’s time to work on yourself.” It’s a piece of advice I understand but have a hard time grasping.

As an only child, I learned to be independent at a young age. I’ve learned to rely on myself for everything. I’ve also learned that I can be alone, because I’ve always been alone. As a kid, I only had myself to occupy my time, aside from the time I spent with adults. And even that allowed me to become more independent and grow up quickly.

So the concept of “working on myself” after this breakup sort of baffles me. I’ve been working on myself for years, since I was in my early teens. And even when my boyfriend and I were together, we didn’t necessarily do everything together, so I was working on myself while I was with him. I had my life, he had his, and we grew individually throughout our relationship.

Despite the break up, I know I’m going to be okay. I know what I have to do: I’m going to do what I’ve always done, even when I was with him, just without him. I’m going to continue my education, continue my search for the career of my dreams, continue working at my part-time job, and continue spending time with friends and family. The only thing missing will be him.

There’s this misconception that circulates, which is that your relationship status is a way of defining who you are, whether you’re single, in a relationship or somewhere in the realm of “it’s complicated.” And I’ve always hated that concept. Why do I, an independent woman, have to be defined by who I’m seeing or not seeing? Why is my worth dependent on my relationship status as determined by Facebook? Why does working on yourself only happen once you are removed from your relationship? Why can’t you work on yourself while also being in a relationship?

I am an independent woman, no matter who I’m with or who I’m not with. If you can find someone who allows you to grow while also being in a relationship, then that’s even better. And that’s how I felt when I was with him. And that’s still how I’m going to feel now that I’m not. My relationship status does not define me as an independent woman. It does not define me as a woman who, more or less, has her life figured out. I am still me.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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Music

Mixtape: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day.

The holiday named for Saint Valentine, the patron saint of overpriced lingerie.
It is a day couples revel in. A chance to atone for 364 days of sexless bickering. Fellas, time to purchase a $17.99 box of mass-produced chocolates at the pharmacy, and whichever three-pack of condoms offers the best comfort-to-price ratio. Ladies, appreciate the B-effort your lad is giving and wear that sexy nurse outfit your friend bought you as a joke four years ago and enjoy Side A.
Single people, I know this day hasn’t been too kind to you ever since that boy/girl you liked in third grade didn’t put a card in that wondrously decorated paper bag on your desk, but don’t let that get you down! Think of all the discount chocolate you can eat tomorrow! Until then, enjoy listening to Side B while eating a microwavable burrito alone in the bathtub.

Side A – Tied down

1. “Sunshine” – Lupe Fiasco – Food and Liquor
2. “Girlfriend” – Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. “S&M” – Rihanna – Loud
4. “Lovelier Than You” – B.o.B – B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
5. “Right Thru Me” – Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday
6. “Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz – Demon Days
7. “Stadium Love” – Metric – Fantasies
8. “Angel” – Shaggy – Hot Shot
9. “Downtime” – The Gandharvas – Sold for a Smile
10. “Sexual Healing” – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love

Side B – Ridin’ solo

11. “Us Remains Impossible” – Matthew Good – Vancouver
12. “Black” – Pearl Jam – Ten
13. “Amsterdam” – Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
14. “Heartless” – Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak
15. “Like Spinning Plates” – Radiohead – Amnesiac
16. “The Passenger” – Iggy Pop – Lust for Life
17. “Wonderwall” – Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
18. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers – Hot Fuss
19. “Friend of the Night” – Mogwai – Mr. Beast
20. “Under the Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Listen to this week’s mixtape here on 8tracks.com

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