More Of Me To Love

Will you be my valentine?

No, seriously. This time of the year always grabs me in the most uncomfortable of ways. The hopeless romantic side of me is swept off her feet ready to bask in the glow of budding emotions over that guy I’ve been eyeing across the office floor for months. He is the sharpest dresser at my job and he has the absolute nicest butt. Truly, drooling over him gets me through the corporate struggle. This half of me believes that “this is my year,” and all those articles I’ve been reading about taking the reins will totally get me over my crippling social anxiety.

Then on the other hand, the practical side of me just walked past Valentine’s Day cards at the grocery store and thought, “Who actually asks anyone to be their valentine past 5th grade? I bet that chocolate tastes terrible.” And then I ended up at the checkout counter with a pint of ice cream, a bottle of wine, and two heart-shaped boxes for myself.

This year in particular, I am left pulling myself side to side over what I should do for the occasion. I have had some pretty fun and exciting Valentine’s Day dates in the past. I’ve done the dinners and the movies. I’ve gone on romantic trips out of the city. I even had an ex-boyfriend put together a grand, full-day scavenger hunt through Austin, TX riddled with fun couple activities (or so it was supposed to have turned out, but really ended in rain, mud and a sprained ankle) – A for effort.

But should I really reach out to that cutie pie purely to feel validated by the over-marketed sentiment of this one particular day of the year? Which roughly translates to: do I actually want to get all dressed up and put my face on for someone I may or may not get along with while we wait for who knows how long at some stuffy restaurant?

Not to mention, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, meaning if that date were to go horribly wrong somehow, I would have to see Mr. Cute Butt & Tie the next morning. Do I really want to face that nightmare for such a silly demi-holiday (albeit a sweet and romantic one)?

I’m thinking that it’s gonna be a no. This year I’ve decided that I’ll spend a relaxing February 14th at home engaging in some much-needed self-love. I’ll probably skip the card asking myself to “be mine,” but besides that the night will be all the way on.

I giggle at the idea of going all out and making an event of a night at home alone but it can truly be liberating, enlightening, and refreshing. So, what will my Evening a la Moi consist of?

I’ll start the night off with lighting some sandalwood incense which is amazing for relaxation because it’s woody and exotic but not overpowering. When I breathe in deeply, I’m whisked off to a bungalow over the water in Bali with the cutie from work, and we’ve already worked through all the awkwardness of getting to know each other. Oh yes, it’s that nice.

After I’ve come back from my moment, I’ll start dinner. Let me tell you, I have become a master at single serve cooking (should I be proud of that?). To me, cooking is not at all a chore if you can take your time, have fun with your creation, and taste test every tablespoon of wine the recipe calls for just to really make sure it goes with the rest of the meal. I’m going to go indulgent with this meal because, well, I’m worth it! Besides, calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day, right?

Once I’ve finished cooking, I’m going to settle into the couch with a fork in one hand and a glass of wine in the other – an image of pure beauty, bliss and romance if I’ve ever seen one – and turn on the ultimate gift to myself: a movie marathon of my one true love, my original man crush, Heath Ledger.

The only man to hold my heart from the age of 5, that beautiful Aussie man was the heartthrob of my adolescence – troubled as he may have been. My love-at-first-sight moment happened in 1999 when I saw him in the movie “10 Things I Hate About You.” Who doesn’t want their crush to fight for their hand as passionately as Cameron James fought for Bianca? And again, in “A Knight’s Tale,” where he made the intense journey from poor stock-boy William Thatcher to championed knight beloved by nations Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein. His rugged charm holds my interest a little TOO well even today, 16 years past the release of the movie. Where you all may recognize him a little better was his most recent, and final, role as the Joker in the 2008 Batman rendition, “The Dark Knight,” where he passed before the completion of the film.

Heath was the love of my life, taken too soon to realize that we belonged together (sorry, handsome pants from work, Heath had me first). I could think of no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day: a night of romance and self-love by spending hours reminiscing over the definition of Man Crush Everyday.

I can remember a time in my younger life where I would laugh at the thought of a Valentine’s night spent alone, thinking that meant the person was lonely and unloved. But now, I bask in the moments of solitude when I get to reflect inwardly on myself. Any time I get to spend some time on me, I notice all kinds of new and special things about myself and the growth I have made over time. I feel refreshed and ready to dive back into society the next day. Self-love is a practice I try to work into as many days and nights as I can, but there’s something purely special about taking the time from an evening defined by relationships to put some work into the number one lover of my life; the person who will be there through the years, who truly has my back through thick and thin: me.

Ashleigh Baird,

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What’s new with Ashleigh? “Lately, I’ve been finding myself really connected to nature and needing to be outside more and more everyday. I’m an avid skater and these days I’ve found myself preferring my longboard over my car for transportation. I find the most inspiration for writing, drawing, and composing music when I’m in nature with my favorite Pandora station on — Sublime + Bob Marley + Erykah Badu. It’s like the perfect zen, soul-satisfying mix!