But First…Let Me Love Myself. #TheLove14

It’s currently 11:43pm, which means it is the peak time for Mr. Sunshine blog writing. 

Are you ready? 

Let’s take a moment to be honest with ourselves. 

At some point in our lives, we’ve all dreamed of our lives being a romantic comedy.

I mean…who doesn’t want Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds, or Bradley Cooper to suddenly step in your life and sweep you off your feet with the highest degree of swooning possible?! 

Or more recently Gregg Sulkin…because he is my newest romantic crush.

Count me in. 

Sadly, as much as society pushes for us to believe by sticking it in our faces that life is its own romantic comedy or “like a box of chocolates”…it’s not. 

Well…not for me at least.

And this week we get to experience all the sweetness of little chocolate hearts, scents of fragrant roses, the cuteness of stuffed animals, sappy social media posts, and the luxurious five-star dinners as the world celebrates the Hallmark holiday acclaimed to be the day of love…more commonly known as Valentine’s Day.

Excuse me while I go puke little chocolate hearts. (Shout out to my former college roommate Jolie who used to always use this phrase around this time of year.)

And even more than a decade later, I’m still using that phrase. Thank you, Jolie!

While I’m not one to really enjoy this holiday that much, there are a few loves that I’m very excited to share with you all today in my post.

And that, my friends, is what I’m calling:

The Love 14.

I’m going to share 14 songs that I love, 14 foods that I love, 14 reasons I love being single, 14 things I do to self love myself, and 14 random facts I hope will just help you love Mr. Sunshine.

But first, let’s give you some background.

Time for a little trip down memory lane…

Growing up through the years in elementary school, middle school, and even high school I was the one who was poked fun at for being skinny. The one who was looked at as being different because I acted more feminine and enjoyed hanging out with girls more often than not. I was the one who enjoyed theater and music. I was the one who wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune or classic TV shows like I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, and The Golden Girls instead of sports or thriller movies that were considered to be “masculine.” 

I went through the days, weeks, and months of the school year learning to ignore the remarks from those that decided to pick on me, but I still have flashbacks every now and then of those moments that bring up extreme feelings of insecurity. 

When I came out of the closet in 11th grade, it was a huge moment for me in life that was greeted with joy and relief and released an energy of excitement and self-discovery inside my soul. To some people, it was a moment that was supported and loved whole-heartedly while for others, it was just another aspect of life that made it an easy target for being made fun of. 

I’ve been through the bullying. I’ve been through the name calling. I’ve been through the stares that people give because of being considered or viewed as “different.” 

These are the moments from my life that have helped me to become intentional about embracing my single status and learning to love myself.

For me, one of the greatest joys with being single is having the power to involve myself in things that make me feel fulfilled and happy on the inside. Whether it is working with customers to help their businesses grow bigger and better, helping fellow colleagues to improve their personal growth, running 50 marathons to raise money for a local nonprofit close to my heart, or working front of house at the theater that I love with my cohort Jamie, my heart seems to constantly be overflowing with love and compassion to fuel my drive to push forward with the greatest of energy.

These days, more than ever, society tells us (or at least influences us) that we must have a partner by our side in order to be happy. It feels like a social stigma that is pushed on us from all different angles as we live out our daily lives. Whether it is that latest story line arc happening on TV’s most popular show, the plot from the hit movie currently playing at the movie theaters, or the damn advertisements for the next great romantic comedy on The Hallmark Channel, it just seems to be around every corner…something that we can’t escape from no matter how hard we try.

Currently, in my life, I I don’t feel it necessary to have someone by my side to make myself feel “whole” or “complete.” I am my own person who gets to have control over my entire life–from setting the wake-up time on the alarm for those early mornings to determining my own bed time every single night. It’s glorious. And what’s even better is that I don’t have anyone around to judge me on those nights when I want to eat raw cookie dough from the container or the ice cream without putting it in the bowl…that’s right…I do that.

And I embrace it 150%.

And here are some other things that I embrace 150% in The Love 14 that I share with you now!

14 Songs I Love

1. Firework” by Katy Perry

2. “This Ones For The Girls” by Martina McBride

3. “That’s The Way It Is” by Celine Dion

4. “The Way I Are” by Bebe Rexha

5. “America’s Sweetheart” by Elle King

6. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

7. A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson

8. “Starships” by Nicki Minaj

9. “Road Less Traveled” by Lauren Alaina

10. “This is Me” by Keala Seattle from The Greatest Showman

11. “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” from Annie Get Your Gun

12. “Try Everything” by Shakira

13. “Lullaby” by Sigala and Paloma Faith

14. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

14 Foods I Love

1. Meatloaf (my mom makes a special recipe called ‘Penn State meatloaf and it is SO good)

2. Mashed potatoes (preferably the Bob Evans brand)

3. Yoplait peach greek yogurt

4. Weis signature whole chocolate milk (it’s a beverage, but come at me)

5. Welch’s fruit snacks (the blue pouch)

6. Utz sour dough pretzels

7. Turkey Hilly black raspberry ice cream

8. Skillet queso from Chili’s

9. Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar cheese slices

10. Peanut butter

11. Salmon (with some mayo on it)

12. Shepherd’s pie

13. Lay’s regular potato chips (the yellow bag)

14. Cheez it’s

14 Reasons I Love Being Single

1. I can sprawl out on the bed as much as I want.

2. I can cuddle all the blankets I want without the worry of hogging too much.

3. I can do what I want, when I want, on my own terms.

4. I can go #2 without the fear of someone using the bathroom right after me.

5. I can eat whatever I want without anyone watching.

6. I can have the freedom to stay up as late as I want without worry.

7. I can involve myself in things I’m passionate about without the stress of not being able to provide enough time to a significant other.

8. This might be TMI, but I’m sorry, I have to say it. I can pass gas without a care.

9. I can take as much time as you need to find yourself.

10. You can have fun nights with your friends, which make life so fun and great.

11. I don’t have to deal with any type of drama.

12. This might sound silly, but you don’t have to compromise on the million dollar question of “what’s for dinner?”

13. I don’t have to worry about heartbreak.

14. I can have fun and just flirt even if the waiters that I leave my phone number for don’t text me.

14 Things I Do To Self Love Myself And De-Stress

1. I take time to journal every night before bed.

2. I color in the lines…but also out of the lines every once in awhile.

3. I will take time to involved myself in a good dishwashing moment–it is therapeutic.

4. I will take a hot shower.

5. I will watch The Golden Girls for pure laughs because laughter is the best medicine.

6. I will eat ice cream direct from the container.

7. I will listen to Katy Perry’s “Firework” if I need an instant burst of energy.

8. I will put my phone on Do Not Disturb every night to give myself quiet time.

9. I will play the Wheel of Fortune app on my phone, but can get angry when I hit the bankrupt or realize that the money I’m winning is not real.

10. I will play music on the piano whether it means using the one in my living room or traveling over to the church to play the Steinway.

11. I will light a candle, lay on the couch, and close my eyes for 15 minutes.

12. I will love at myself in the mirror and give myself three compliments.

13. I will give myself a big bear hug.

14. I will clean the house.

14 Things I Hope You Will Learn To Love About Mr. Sunshine

1. My love language is words of affirmation.

2. Social media is something that makes me jealous and blurs my judgment on the daily.

3. I still struggle accepting compliments from others

4. My least favorite exercise at the gym is pushing the sled

5. My least favorite aisle to go down in the grocery store is a tie between the cereal aisle and toothpaste aisle because there are too many choices

6. This year, I will be house/concession managing with my good friend, Jamie at EPAC, so please come out to a show or two so we can greet you with a smile and pour you a drink

7. I work out with a personal trainer twice a week. Zach is the best

8. I involve myself in a cause that is close to my heart to share joy with others.

9. I embrace the principles of love and kindness and always look for way to display them.

10. I have a wonderful life coach named Daniel who has been a blessing to me for the past 3 years.

11. I LOVE spending time with my family even it means a simple evening of just food, rummy, and TV.

12. I can’t start my day until I shave my face with classic shaving cream and a razor.

13. I love getting hugs and giving them.

14. I love Disney movies and am currently obsessed with Encanto because WE DON’T TALK ABOUT BRUNO!

Do I have moments where I will mute people’s stories/posts on social media because I don’t always need to see the “lovey dovey” photos?

Yes. I won’t deny it. Work in process.

Are there days where I wish I could come home to that special someone ready to greet me with a hug when I walk in the front door after a really rough day at work? Absolutely.

Are there days where I wish that I could have that special someone on the couch to cuddle with me as I watch The Golden Girls for the 1000th time? I mean, duh.

Do I wish that Shawn Mendes would serenade me to sleep every night?

Is that even a question?

But, then I wonder if these thoughts are the ones that society wants me to create in my mind.

Are these the images that society wants me thinking? Will having someone by my side really make everything happy-go-lucky and perfect?

It’s the million dollar question that I will continue to explore the answer for as I live out life.

The Valentine’s Day holiday has become so commercialized and dare I even say that we have learned to love dubbing it “Singles Awareness Day.”

But for now, it is all about The Love 14 for me.

Please, I urge you to love yourself first because at the end of the day, if you can’t love yourself, you will never be able to love others.

And please don’t forget…love should be happening ALL days of the year, not just one.

Sprinkle sunshine always,