Take time out to love yourself this Valentine’s Day

By Ryn Gargulinski: Local columnist

TUCUMCARI — When you are trying to quit smoking, everyone lights a cigarette.

When you’re on a massive diet, the only trucks that ramble by are owned by Sara Lee.

And when, like I am, you are moving 1,942 miles to the West Coast and leaving behind five goats, a dog and a person you love, every store window is littered with pink and red hearts.

It’s a conspiracy.

A madness.

Either that or it happens to be Valentine’s Day.
I’ve lucked out for the past few years as it seems to make me feel like a high-school loser with a giant zit unless I have a valentine.

Last year, it was a kind-hearted intern in the New York City office who gave me a box of cheap chocolates just to make me feel loved.

It worked, even though I promptly meted out all those dark brown chunks full of mysterious pastel cream to every coworker who came within 30 feet of my desk (except the intern, of course. When he walked by I held the box in my lap and pretended to chew).

Two years ago, I got a red and white teddy bear from a man who later stalked me and threatened to throw my dead body in a dumpster. So I’m not sure that really counts.

And this year, although I have been promised one of the coolest gifts I have ever been blessed with, I am still moving into another time zone.

Alas, we need not brood and sulk just because it may seem we don’t have one of those cupid-inspired relationships every Hallmark card insists upon on Feb. 14. Most of those relationships don’t exist, anyway.

But it may still often seem like everyone in the world is married or dating or locking lips on some Aspen ski lift while some of us may ramble home to an empty house.
“Everyone’s in love!” we may scream, but that is certainly without truth.

Just remember the tabloid racks full of that Brad Pitt-Angelina-Anniston thing.

Besides, there is really only one thing we need to feel complete on Valentine’s — or any other day for that matter.

Sure, pets help with their unconditional love. But even they, too, may get a little weird. Like when my rat thought my thumb was a pasta noodle and wouldn’t let go. And dogs may still chew up our pillows or decide we didn’t need that $50 art appreciation book anyway.

Goats just love you in their own way that I’ve yet to witness on a Hallmark card.

But we do have one thing that serves us forever. One thing that will never depart. One thing that deserves all the love, attention and lavishness we bestow on our furry friendly puppy (who happens to smell like a goat pen):

We have ourselves.

Regardless if we never get chocolates from a teenage kid training to be a lawyer, we must never forget to be kind to ourselves.

This Valentine’s Day, make it a point to get out of the pity pot and into the cauldron of self love.

Like Walt Whitman penned in “Song of Myself:” “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

Treat yourself with something beautiful. Get a massage. Get a facial. Dye your hair dark burgundy and paint your toenails bright pink.

Guys can indulge in the above, of course, but they may prefer toenails done in a darker shade.

Other ideas include treating yourself to an ice cream cone, a T-shirt that makes you look sexy, a lingering drive to Santa Fe. A jaunt around a mall with $100 just to spend on yourself.

If money is an issue, take a bath. Explore a wilderness. Write a poem a la Whitman about how wonderful you are. Stick sticky notes on the bathroom mirror that say “I love you.”

Mean it.

You’re the only you you’ve got. And, I promise, you ain’t going anywhere.

Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact her at 505-461-1952 or by e-mail: