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Being single can be awesome. 7 illustrations capture that.

Valentine's Day or any other, there is a leisure sometimes in being on one's own.

Being single can be awesome. 7 illustrations capture that.

What if being single isn't a status to run from but to revel in?

That's the question these seven images practically beg us to ask. Idalia Candelas sketched a series of drawings depicting a content woman in solitude, capturing the free-spiritedness that being alone can sometimes afford. There will be times we are trying out a relationship, and there will be times we are neither in a relationship nor seeking one. So why not absolutely live life to the fullest in each of those times?

By and large, people aren't that down about being single, it seems.

I asked several single people about their feelings toward Valentine's Day, and refreshingly, so many indicated that the day for them is just about love — whether that love is for a significant other, friends, family, or themselves didn't diminish the meaning of the day. It's just another opportunity to make a fuss over the people they hold dear.


Most said that looking back on Valentine's Days spent alone or with friends compared to the ones spent with a significant other, they prefer the easygoing, expectation-free single occasions.

"I prefer my Valentine's Day ALONE! SO MUCH ALONE! There are so many weird traditions and expectations embedded in the holiday when you're dating someone. Gifts, money, awkward conversations about the stage of your relationship, crappy late reservations at an average restaurant that costs too much and is loud and covered in papier mache hearts. No thanks- give me my wine and my couch and call it a day!" — Bee S.

And yet, the majority of respondents also said they still believe in love and, while content being single now, do see themselves trying for love again someday.

"I like falling in love. I love love! I like being part of a team. And I like the idea of being with someone who I love and respect and laugh with, unfettered by petty resentments, etc. But I'm also willing to wait — maybe forever? — for this to happen." — Karen R.

When asked what one word sums up being single for them, these were the results. Most were mixed, but the ones that kept recurring were "content" and "free."

And maybe that's why these illustrations touch the chord that they do in viewers. Some of us are perfectly happy being on our own and are surrounded by love. Love of the simple pleasures in life, love of silence in which to think creative or serious thoughts, love for indulging in our favorite pastimes without worry about another's happiness.

Take a gander for yourself.

All images by Idalia Candelas, used with permission.


Soak up the utter luxury of alone time these images convey. Are we appreciating the current phase of life we're in as much as we could be? If not, drop what you're doing and do something lovely for yourself. Settle into your comfiest spot with a book you've been meaning to get to or take yourself to a movie. Eat something wickedly delicious. Call a friend on the phone and giggle about something ridiculous going on in your lives.

Being good to yourself isn't corny ... it's part of respecting yourself as a worthy human, no matter your relationship status or day of the year.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

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