The Best Piece of Chicken
Valentine’s Day 2009: Harold F. Scott Elementary School, Miss Nelson’s classroom. It was 4th grade and I had outfitted myself in a red turtleneck from the GAP and flare pants in celebration of the glorious holiday. It was the year we would all hit double digits and conversations about first kisses and who “like-liked” who began stirring. It was the definitive end to cootie culture as I remember it, and a pivotal turn in the transition from kid to tween.
I knew this year the classic CVS Valentine’s day card was NOT going to cut it if I wanted to win my crush over. I wish I could remember who my crush was back in those days. Probably someone with a bowl cut and a navy Abercrombie polo who made sure I was not picked DEAD last for kickball. (Even though I certainly should have been. I used to whiff in kickball… like literally swing my leg and have the ball roll behind me, absolutely terrible.)
Anyways, I will never forget the sheer pride I felt when I saw how much of a hit my Valentine’s day cards were amongst the prepubescent males in my class. These fellow fourth-graders, doused in their Axe cologne, and complimentary hair gel, were freaking PUMPED. You see, as soon as you opened them, they expanded into a miniature football field, equipped with an orange plastic post and an extra piece of cardboard to serve as a triangular “ball”. Yeah, that’s right. I got Valentines that doubled as finger footballs. As I said, it was sick. I’m pretty sure I signed them a classic “XOXO, Abby” as if I was the only Abby in an elementary school of hundreds. Pretty presumptuous of me to not even toss in the last name. Who the hell do I think I am? Fergie?
So now it’s 13 years later and Valentine’s Day 2022 is among us. I tend not to write about my love life much on here because well I am not sure exactly sure the internet is the best place to share those things, but I will say I have enjoyed some wonderful Valentine’s day over the years. Some with a great guy, some with my family over a delicious meal, and some with my best friend Katie Shoemaker, two molten lava cakes, and a box of wine. Yeah, you read the properly. A box of wine. Real classy stuff. Regardless, Valentine’s day has never looked the same for me besides the fact that I try to spend it with a person, or people that I really adore, doing things I love.
Love looks different to everyone, especially at this twenty-somethings age and I think that is the coolest thing. I was reminded of this concept when watching a YouTube video that surveys kindergarteners asking them what love means. Their responses are innocent, yet profound in a way that simplifies a rather complex subject. This is what a few of them said.
- “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
- “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”
- “Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
The adorable list goes on, but you get the gist. All these six-year-olds probably understand the roots of love better than most people, removing the complicated questions and confusion that often come from trying to navigate the subject, and equating it to a piece of chicken. Now, I can be territorial about my chicken so maybe that’s something I should work on if I ever want to get a ring on my finger, but, we’ll see. Maybe I will marry a vegetarian and it will all work out for me, or I’ll end up alone with no diamonds to show for, but rather a heaping bucket of KFC. (No disrespect Colonel Sanders, but I pray it is not the latter).
I think there is a common fear of being the “cat-lady”, or in my case, the “chicken lady”. To be the person who doesn’t exactly find theirs. This fear of loneliness is a natural reaction, especially on a rather commercialized day of love. Where everyone in the world seems to be engaged or celebrating three great years together, it can be overwhelming for those who feel like they’re just not “there” yet. But I promise whether you’re married, working on yourself, getting over someone, finding yet another Patriots fan and IPA drinker on Hinge, navigating a situation-ship or in an in-between “I just graduated college but live at home so how am I supposed to bring someone from the bar into my family’s basement without breakfast tomorrow being dreadful” phase, there is still so much love to celebrate if you are open to seeing it. Your life and happiness do not by any means need to be defined by a relationship, and if you are someone who has found someone who enhances your whole, that is freaking awesome. But if you’re not, just remember you are still whole, still complete, and still awesome regardless of your personal romantic timeline.
As Valentine’s day approaches, you’ll probably be nursing a Superbowl hangover after watching King Burrow do his thang and trying your best to stay focused during your 9-5 on yet another cold winter Monday. The day may come and go and that’s fine, but in years past, these are ways I have tried to make the day fun. As a disclaimer, this is good to do on any random day too and is not subject to Valentine’s day itself. Also, if these five things aren’t doing it for ya, it’s all good. I understand they are not the most original ideas to ever exist, but maybe give ’em a shot!
- Wear an outfit that makes you feel good. It can be a prom dress, a flannel, whatever your heart desires. When you look good, you feel good, and feeling confident is always a great way to tackle a Monday.
- Write down 5-10 things you absolutely love about yourself. There is no relationship in your life that is more important than the one with yourself. Never stop practicing self-love, ever…. never.
- Next, think of people who fill your life with love. A few years ago, a friend of mine wrote me a note for Valentine’s Day of reasons she loves our friendship. It was an awesome thing to receive and I still have it to this day. Try to write two or three to people you care about to remind them, sometimes we all need a bit of a reminder.
- Do something kind for a stranger. Whether it’s buying the person behind you in line their coffee or going out of your way to help someone you may not know. It’s a win-win. You’ll feel good and so will they.
- Do something out of the ordinary for yourself. Whether it’s ordering expensive sushi, actually buying the items that have been sitting aimlessly in your Aritiza cart for weeks or spending an hour indulging in the book you just haven’t had time to read. Do something that makes you happy. (And yes it’s okay if that happiness comes from a long-sleeved bodysuit or a spicy tuna, no judgment here whatsoever.)
These five small steps are somewhat simple, but I promise you they go a long way, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy February 14th, and every other day the kick-ass single/cuffed/engaged/married/whatever else person that you are.
As I wrap this us, I won’t exactly provide any sound advice on how to find your soulmate but I will say this. If you see someone at a bar and want to know more, or think they have the potential to win your best piece of chicken, be direct. I’m a big advocate for making the first move, going after what you want, and handling rejection with confidence in knowing you put yourself out there if you wanted to. Shootas shoot sis, shoootas shoooooot!!!!!
So whatever you’re shooting for in the love department, whether that be an engagement ring or a year of absolute radio silence from your preferred party, I hope you go after the things you want and keep all the people/places/things that bring love into your life close.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, you’re the best, and if I had any finger football cards leftover from 2009, I’d sign yours….