As a single female in her thirties I’m sure you would expect, considering it’s Valentine’s Day, that this would probably be a rant about how I don’t have a man to send me flowers or take me out on a romantic dinner date, it being just another day that highlights that I am still on the shelf, rejected by the opposite sex. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not what this is at all. The way I see it, even couples who have been dating for years or are even married don’t treat Valentine’s day like it’s marketed to be treated, instead they cry the cliché “National Hallmark Day” and go about the day as per normal. No teddy bears, no heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate, not even a decent shag. Then again, if you happen to find yourself in a relationship that does do those things on Valentine’s Day then well done, bravo, I condone that behaviour. But from my perspective, no I don’t feel excluded or that I’m missing out; if anything I wanted to take this chance to acknowledge the kind of love that I do have in my life.
Recently I went back home to Australia to spend time with my family. What I noticed was that I don’t have a great relationship with my sister or brother: we’re like aliens from different planets that struggle to communicate with each other. My relationship with my parents is the stock-standard relationship that you have with your parents: fueled with unconditional love but riddled with conflict based on being generations apart. As for my childhood friends, the more I’m away from them, the more those relationships become strained due to the lack of time invested. So, I’m left with a group of people that I now call “My people”; a family that I have created for myself.
In my thirties, I’m starting to realise the things that are really important, and the meaning of ‘life’ seems to ring louder than it did in my twenties. In a way I loathe this, mostly because when I was in my twenties ‘older’ people would say this to me all the time. “Oh you’re only 25? Trust me when you’re in your thirties you’ll know what life is really about.” “When you’re 30, you won’t feel this way.” I resented their wisdom based on me seeing it as an insult of how ‘young’ and ‘naïve’ I was, but the truth of the matter is, I was young and naïve, especially when it came to ‘life’ and ‘life lessons’.
In my thirties I now see that it doesn’t matter how many friends show up to my Birthday party, or how big my circle of friends is but how many friends I can call in the middle of the night in a panic or if I’m having a crisis will pop around to my home or meet me at the pub in a matter of minutes. I’ve always been a person who has put everyone else in my life first. I’ve always worried, cared, loved my friends much more than I actually think they worry, care and love me in return. In my thirties, I no longer want those people in my life, selfishly I need this to be a two-way street, what I put out I deserve to get back in return. Or at least it’s healthy to recognize the friends that do do this (and may always have).
So, this is a shout-out to my pals. Will you be my Palentine? I have a group of people currently in my life and I want to show a great deal of gratitude towards them. These people know who they are. Kelly, Jane, Paul and Mikey to just name a few.
Thank you for taking my neurotic phone calls.
Thank you for hearing my way over-thought thoughts.
Thank you for just hearing me. Even when I’m being outrageous, you know me, so you know what my reaction is really about.
Thank you for being patient when our catch-ups are mostly dominated with my day-to-day silly dramas.
Thank you for making me feel sane when the rest of world is constantly testing my sanity.
Thank you for making me laugh when I want to just cry.
Thank you for loving me in a way I sometimes forget I deserve to be loved.
So, I ask again, “Will you be my Palentine?” Because I want to let you know that being my pal is everything to me these days. I know that ‘Galentine’s Day’ is now a thing thanks to the TV show ‘Parks And Recreation’ but I don’t want to reserve this honour for just the women in my life but the male friendships I have too, because they are bloody fantastic ones.
Yes, I will choose to spend today acknowledging the great loves that are in my life. I will also choose to acknowledge that the great loves in my life don’t have to just be the opposite sex. I can and will celebrate the love I have with my dearest friends like Jenna, Effie and Bel, my oldest friends like Asha, Leon, Caitlyn and Pippa, the friends I don’t see all the time but crazy support me like Ronnie, Yvie, and Lyndsey, my new friends since moving to London, my colleagues, my cousins, my aunties, my nephew, my niece, the close relationship I have with my Mother. I can just celebrate love in general because I am truly surrounded by it, I just need to recognize it when it is staring me in the face.
I guess that song is true Kweens: when you’re open to it, love really is all around.
Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨
Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼