Buenos Diaz! It’s Valentine’s Day, that day on the calendar that makes singles sick, lovebirds swoon, and people with kids wonder whether they bought enough Valentines for everyone in Timmy or Jenny’s class and whether they’re bad parents for choosing the store-bought cupcakes over the homemade and Pinterest-inspired. Today is also confession day here at Buenos Diaz. Gather round now, come in close. Can everyone hear me? OK, here goes.
I, Vanessa Diaz, am a girl, and sometimes I act like one.

Honest to God, 97.6 percent of the time I don’t mind and even enjoy being single. Knowing how to be alone and relish it is something I’m quite proud of, really. I like that I can go see a movie, take a trip to the Farmers Market, sit at a restaurant or coffee shop or lay out in the park all by my lonesome and not feel a desperate need to be accompanied if company isn’t in the cards that day. I’ve been very independent for as long as I can remember, so tell me why this year there is something about this saccharine-soaked, commercial concoction of a holiday that for whatever nonsensical reason really has me thinking deeply about my life choices. It feels pathetic. I will elaborate.

I hate having to admit this because it makes me sound like one of those girls, the ones who bitterly denounce “Singles Awareness Day” by sulking on their couch listening to Adele and eating Godiva. Maybe it’s the flower deliveries to people not named Vanessa at work or the emotion bubbling beneath the surface of my composure every time I realize I am quitting my job in 3 weeks. Maybe it’s because my favorite of favorites is no longer a well I can draw from and that person is going away and shacking up with someone for the love-filled weekend while I’m sitting here noshing on Gourmet Inka Corn (corn nuts for the grown and sexy) with a glass of Nebbiolo (I wrote this Friday night, I’m not being a booze-hound before 9am).

I just suddenly miss… affection. I miss nervous first kisses, or warm, familiar ones that melt you; I miss butterflies, anticipation, cutesy gestures, intense bouts of eye contact; hands in my hair, hands on my face, eyes wide open, eyes wide shut. I miss hand-holding, flirting, passion, surrender. I miss hearing someone call me pretty. I miss feeling pretty.
The worst part though is the feeling of guilt, that sense of “I’m not supposed to feel the feelings!” that eats at me as someone who normally thinks of themselves as strong, independent and not at all why-aren’t-I-in-a-relationship centric. I feel like I should be impervious to these juvenile affectations, like its sacrilege to miss the warmth, the smell, the feel of a man and still call myself a feminist. This is especially true now that I’ve reached an age where I think I’m supposed to be enlightened and above all of this mess, so now I’m not only feeling out of sorts but feel dumb for feeling that way to begin with. I feel like I’m betraying my own ideals.

I’m not betraying anything though. I’m just a woman. I’m allowed to feel and need and want. So I will confess that I do in fact feel and need and want and that doesn’t make me any less self-possessed. Yeah, I allowed myself those thirty seconds (ok, minutes) of feeling sorry for myself, then I decided to get up, turn on the lights and think of V Day as just that: V Day. V Day as in Me day. I may not be in love, but I am loved and I do love. The rest of this blog post will focus on that love. Here are some people who aren’t obligated to love me out of a blood relation.


I have a friend who shares my not-so-guilty pleasures plus love of steak, bright lipstick, beautiful white boys and getting on planes. We Snapchat our workouts and pics of food afterwards. In the young and ratchet days when on a crowded Vegas dance floor getting the bump-and-grind treatment from a brotha with plans, she motioned to me, pointed down at the guy and said, “V, do you want a hit?” because she didn’t want me to be left out. That poor guy looked at her hurt like, “Are you pimping me to your girl right now?” and I just about died from laughter.
I have a friend who calls me at 6am to tell me that she’s proud of me, who two years ago looked me in the eye over brunch and said, “So you’re not an author yet, but you ARE a writer, Call yourself one.” She’s black and from LA’s Valley and I’m a San Diego Latina but somehow, someway, she is my twin. We bond over books and beautiful words, delight in sarcastic wit and get into good song be it Jay or Jill or that trap music. She’s been telling me I was pretty since the day I met her and one of these days I’ll believe her.

I have a friend who for years now I’ve been calling the poster child for pursuing your passion. She pushes me in ways both overt and covert and though we may not speak often it’s meaningful when we do. She brought me to wine, let me lean on her at low points, and never made me feel stupid for loving someone I couldn’t have. She once put a slice of salami on my sangria glass because we were all out of strawberries and has dared me to dream recently in a very big and international way.
I have a friend who knows it all, the good, the bad, the ugly plus the emo, the insecure, the crazy and the expectant, all of it wrapped up in big hair and too much jewelry. He’s talked me off a ledge, showed me lightening in summer, sends me YouTube videos of hilarious throwback rap jams and tags me in stuff about books and pretty places. He’s brilliant and witty and maddeningly stubborn, pushing buttons and boundaries and schooling me in emoji warfare. He knows what I need to hear/feel and knows when things are hard for me, he tells me I’m important because I need to be reminded and even when we’re not agreeing are close in an atypical way. He encourages my honesty even when it isn’t easy, like he wants me to be sassier, louder, braver, a bigger pain in the ass if it means coming into my own.

I have a friend who reminds me that I’m talented and worthy of more than I’m sometimes brave enough to ask for, who challenges me as a writer and gets me to do things in the name of “research.” As undergrads we spent the night before final exams dancing to Afro-Cuban beats at Zanzibar, banking on my freakish memory to get us through the tests because sometimes you just have to dance. She’s shared a $300 bar tab, a stash of emergency chocolate and many life conversations with me and reminded me last night in a moment of “help, I’m a little lost” that I’m not busted. She gets my struggles and I get hers, and she’s the only person I’ll let speak cutesified Spanish to me so please don’t try it because one is enough.
You know what’s awesome- I could go on for DAYS. I have a ginger who frolicks on bays with me, who encourages me and laughs with me about words that rhyme and unattractive dance moves; I have a boss who’s a BFF who let me go supportively because she knew I’d found my passion and because she shares that passion too. I have a gypsy life-shift Sherpa who takes me on Baja adventures and tells me to keep on dreaming. I have so, so, so much love in my life that it almost seems silly to want more.

If today you find yourself madly in love with someone who loves you too, I’m truly very happy for you. I encourage you to revel in love because love is an amazing thing and even if it’s corny and cheesy to make a big deal out of it on Valentine’s Day- so what! Go for it! The world needs a little more love. Go be sappy and happy about it and let the haters hate. If you’re single like me, I salute you just the same! Love is probably all around you like it is for me, you may just have to make a list and write it out to remember that. Do it, you’ll surprise yourself.
I am now about to go enjoy my V-Day with a group of beloved friends that I am lucky to have in my life. I’m also going to lather on the SPF because I live in San Diego which has a blatant disrespect for winter. I will leave you with some wise words from Hugh Grant, a classic quote from a classic movie.

“It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.”
Happy Valentine's Day!
Bookishly Yours,