By Aayana Anand; Blog Staff
Notice: This blog post was delayed in light of the recent tragedy at MSU. If you’re looking for resources (GoFundMes, Mental Health), some are linked some below. Please take care of yourself, and look out for your fellow Michiganders. What the F sends all of our readers love during this time.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), call 734-764-8312, email email@example.com or visit caps.umich.edu.
Here I am. 2023. It’s my 19th Valentine’s Day alone.
I’ve never received flowers or a love letter. I’ve never had any real prospects either – the few guys I’ve been involved with happened to fall in the later part of the year. They’ve all been assholes anyways. And yet, despite my losing streak, I still wake up every February 14th with a sliver of hope that the cute guy (in my 200 person lecture hall) will look at me out of everyone else. I’ve been trying to do a better job recently of silencing the anti-feminist devil on my shoulder. I’ve been trying to unlearn lessons from society that tell me I need to be cuffed or that I need to look a certain way in order to be validated on Valentine’s Day. Part of this unlearning has taken an unlikely turn – falling in love with my neck.
My neck has always been one of my biggest insecurities. Why? I couldn’t tell you. But ever since I hit puberty, I’ve had a reflex to check out my neck in the mirror before going out: Angling my head at different angles, scaling the area with my hand, pinching at skin that I find unflattering, pulling my hair to the side to see what it looks like from behind. For a lot of my life, I made a conscious effort to hide my neck. In freshman year of high school, I picked the worst shade match for my foundation possible and applied 2 coats of it to my neck every morning. In freshman year of college, I got too lazy for makeup, but I strictly wore higher-necked tops and turtlenecks to make up for it. Whenever I didn’t take these precautions, I felt wildly insecure. I often found myself holding my neck to cover it up from the front. It was like I was, metaphorically, but somewhat physically, choking myself, being upset at my neck just for showing up to the party.
With all of this being said, I’m happy to report that I’ve come a long way. In the past year, I’ve found ways to build healthier relationships with my body and mind. In particular, I’ve begun to wear tops that reveal – dare I say accentuate – my neck. When I went shopping recently, I opted for a V-neck over a scoop-neck. When I get ready to go to class everyday, I prefer to leave my neck exposed rather than adding a necklace. Don’t get me wrong – I still love wearing jewelry, putting on makeup, and wearing granny-style turtlenecks, but I wear them when I genuinely want to wear them, not to fuel a problematic motive.
This year, my neck is my valentine. but instead of being conditional and flaky like a boy in my lecture hall, I get to be with my neck everyday. I’m committed to my neck forevermore. Even the imperfections of my neck – uneven skin, discoloration, etc – are things that I’m learning to love. Like all love, my relationship with my neck is not perfect, but I try to make positive choices everyday to ease strains and mend insecurities from the past. And on the days when loving is hard, I vow to try again the next day.
I may have never had someone buy me chocolates or take me out to a fancy dinner, but simply existing as an individual in this blip of time, with my neck, is what I deserve to celebrate today.