My father grew up speaking Spanish but when we moved from LA to Bellingham, Wa., we were not only separated from our larger family but the culture that came with it. I didn't learn Spanish-- save for some slang and swear words-- until I took it in high school and college. One of the first phrases taught is always "yo soy," or I am. Of course it's followed with a qualifier, but I appreciate it "as is"; an affirmation of self: I am.
When I practiced pre-natal yoga, one of the mantras our teacher had us chant was I am. I remember sitting there, feeling the heaviness of my growing belly, overcome with anxiety and fear of the imminent change that would take me from woman to mother. I cried silently, saying those words: I am. Yo soy.
It’s Valentine’s Day today and though I’ll celebrate with some takeaway from Pok Pok Wings and mini cupcakes for the redhead, I want to use this day to teach her about the importance of self-love and self-compassion because we're all we've got. I'm enough. Yo soy.
While I’d love a flurry of last-minute shoppers to buy gifts for their loves, I also want to encourage people to recognize this day as a reminder to take care of yourself, even in little ways. With that in mind, here’s my short list of Valentine’s gifts to treat yourself:
- A nice pen. I start my day writing in my journal and nothing feels as satisfying as a pen that glides across the page. Words become effortless. The best part is you can get a good one for $3 or less.
- Oat milk cappuccino. After trying the oat milk cappuccino at Fairlane, I’m hooked. Unlike my usual half-caff drip, this one costs a bit more, forcing me to slow down and savor.
- Cheesy love songs. These aren’t gonna bring the house down during karaoke, but if you're close to my age(ish), you'll be surprised to discover you probably already know the words:
- Red lipstick. I wear mainly black and gray so when I want a hit of color I go for bright lipstick. One of my favorites is Zip from Glossier, a matte red that you can layer for a deeper shade. Bonus: it’s cruelty-free and vegan.