My Dad Was My First Valentine, And I'm So Thankful He Set The Bar Where He Did
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I've never been someone who really worried too much about Valentine's Day. As a kid, I'd buy valentines and M&Ms; for my friends, passing them out happily in each of my classes.

After handing out my punny store-bought cards and packets of candy all day, I'd come home to a classic candy heart, a small gift from my mom, and flowers from my dad. That's how it always went, every year.

As I got older, the little ritual of passing around valentines at school eventually stopped, but my parents never stopped doing their part, and today I am so, so glad that my dad was my first valentine, and not a boy who broke my heart.

Freshman year of college, I started to watch people around me find love, and it was beautiful to see. And come Valentine's Day, I expected myself to start caring about the fact that I didn't have that. When the day came, though, I didn't find myself feeling down. Instead, I was excited to make my trip to the post office to pick up the flowers that my dad had gone out of his way to have delivered.

I walked out of the campus post office carrying a big bouquet of flowers with a "Love, Dad" note attached, and my heart was happy. It's that simple. For me, I don't really need anything more, and I attribute that to the fact that it has always been this way.

When I look back on my 20 years of Valentine's Days, I have only happy memories.

I don't have to think back to celebrating with anyone who hurt me in the end, because my dad was always my valentine, and honestly always will be.

I am so beyond grateful for the strong bond I have, and have always had, with my father. This bond only has only continued to grow stronger, and this past year brought us our biggest challenges yet. Coming out of a year of grief and struggle for our family, my dad and I are even closer than we already were, and I am so lucky to have such an amazing man as my father.

Some people who have never been in a true, long-term, serious relationship might get down on themselves or find themselves feeling awkward about it. Me, though? I honestly couldn't care less. I don't need to occupy my time feeling "awkward" about something I can't change and something that ultimately shaped who I am today. I am proud of the person I am today, and I think everyone should be. If you aren't, I think it is worth figuring out why and doing what you can to change that. I have no regrets, and I am so glad I never allowed myself to rush into something I was unsure of, or to put myself in a certain position just for the sake of being able to say I was in a relationship. I don't believe you can force love and I do not believe you should try. When love is ready, love will come.

I am finally at a point in my life where I have accepted the fact that I need to stop trying to make things happen. I need to stop searching, and I need to, instead, allow things to come as they are meant to. I have finally accepted this after years of doing everything but.

Dad, if you're reading this, thank you for always being my valentine, and my only valentine.

When I became old enough to truly understand the concept of a valentine, I'm glad you were the one the day led back to.

I could go on and on and on about how I couldn't ask for a better dad. I could go on and on about what makes him the greatest. Truth is, though, there simply aren't enough words.

So, instead, I'll leave it at this: my dad was my first valentine, and I am so okay with that.

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

I Asked 11 Strong Independent College Girls Why They Plan On Staying Single Alllllll 2019

We don't all need a man to be happy.

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Listen. Not every college girl wants a ring by spring or really even cares about finding a man. With the popularity of going to college just to walk out with a Mrs. Degree, all the confident and single ladies tend to get overlooked.

Well, ladies, in case you haven't caught on to 2019's biggest dating trend, I'll share it with you—it's loving yourself and staying single. Here what these 11 strong, independent, college girls say about their plans to stay single alllll 2019.

1. Boys are dumb. Simple as that.

"The male species literally is incapable of using their brain at 20-years-old, I'm going to wait until 30s so maybe they will know how to use their common sense. Sorry boys." - Shelby, 20

2. I want to grow on my own.

"I want to focus on learning more about myself and challenging myself. Also, relationships are complicated so I'd rather spend that time worrying about or focusing on school." - Molly, 18

3. Self-love is the best love.

"I need to learn to love myself more than I have been the past two years. I just got out of a two-year relationship (which I am still severely heartbroken over) but I am actually excited to be living life for me." - Caitlin, 20

4. The time spent on focusing on gaining someone else's love will now be spent on finding love within myself.

"It's not that I plan on staying single, I'm just not going to actively put myself out there and fine tune myself. I have spent the past couple of years doing everything I could to find a guy, dating apps, blind dates, letting my friends run my dating apps, socializing a little extra and it just makes me so tired. I want to focus more on myself and what I like to do. Take myself out for a nice dinner and spend time with me. Not watching Netflix but actually getting to know who I am and love myself again, because how you can expect somebody to love you and know you if you don't even know or love yourself?" - Leah, 23

5. Time for some power moves, sister.

"I'm achieving my career dreams without any man holding me back or making me second guess myself or my decisions!" - Jenny, 21

6. Someone print this on a damn t-shirt or something.

"I'm trying to get A's, not Baes." - Holly, 20

7. Well, to put it simply...

"Men are trash." - Bobette, 22

8. Your potential should not be defined by a relationship.

"I've found there's more to life then having a boyfriend. Right now, I'm transitioning from being a college student to my career and I think the last thing I need is to worry about starting a relationship. I'm going to focus on loving myself this year." - Sarah, 21

9. So much time has already been wasted...

"I plan on staying single because boys have been too much of a waste of my time already." - Erin, 21

10. What's the move in 2019? Self love. That's the move in 2019.

"For myself, honestly. I just want to focus on me." - Lex, 19

11. I'm the best me when I'm single.

"I just function better when I'm by myself. There's no extra stress and no need to please or impress anyone." - Jordyn, 20

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To The Girl Who Still Believes In Dating In 2019, But Feels Hopeless, Never Stop Trying

I know hookup culture is around us, but dating has not been erased.

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It is 2019 and it's no secret to anyone that hookup culture is not only normalized but a major preference. So many around us would rather spend their time jumping from person to person or having a designated "friends with benefits" than a real relationship. Sex has become the importance for connection and while that's great for some, there are still many that don't want that for themselves.

Sex is great and all, but the power of a real relationship, with love and romance and a deep connection with another person is incomparable. Not to mention, when you have that, sex is a million times better. But that's beside the point.

I've "dated" guys in the past, that always claim they want a relationship then it later turning out they weren't ready or weren't "into that kind of thing."

I know so many girls that feel discouraged. The ones that so badly crave that deep relationship. That want more than just someone calling them on Friday night asking to "Netflix and Chill."

To those girls, the ones that still believe in dating and falling in love, you can't stop trying.

While the hookup culture has become the norm, dating has not disappeared. There are still plenty of people out there who feel the same as you. That know that the joy of finding that person to spend your life with is so much more than just hooking up. That knows the fun of dating. Getting to know the ins and outs of someone's personality. Learning everything about them! From the way they eat their steak to the strange routine they have before they shower.

The reason behind the hookup culture is the fact that for so many years, sex was a "bad thing." It wasn't meant to be talked about and you shouldn't be having it with multiple people. Now that it's become more normalized, everyone wants to, not take advantage of it, but explore themselves sexually.

Just because everyone else does it, does not mean you have to.

I was told by so many friends to have a "hoe phase" and those aren't my words—it was theirs. And while I never judged them for the decisions they made, I just was never comfortable doing something like that. I'm a very shy and inclusive person. I'm like that with my friends as well as who I date. And even though the pressure would get to me on some days, I knew what I wanted.

And I knew that other people did too.

If I gave up on dating, any of the times I considered it, I never would have found the guy I'm with now.

I never would have realized that the struggle and heartaches of searching would've led me to him. He's proven to me that dating hasn't died.

Love hasn't died.

To the girl that still believes in dating, never stop trying. That one is out there, you just have to find him.

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