Two minute friends and The Party Of My Life
But hang on a minute - this does not make any sense: We are talking about a total birthday-phobic here. I don't do parties. Ever. In fact I hate them. The term wallflower does not even begin to describe my overall approach to social gatherings. It's more wall-thistle with super-size thorns.
Whatever happened to my fight-or-flight-approach to birthdays, which over the past 15 years were either spent in blissful solitude (OK with hubby - but same difference :-)) somewhere on a beach without cell phone reception or I invited the mother hen of all crisis around for the occasion and spent it alone in my room sobbing hysterically over some minor dispute (also with afore mentioned hubby) torturing myself with mental images of old women in stretchy nylon dresses and with flaky pink lipstick smeared over thin bloodless lines previously known as lips whose only purpose remains in telling the story of a life full of disappointment and rejection. I could go on - but you get the picture.
As the dreaded day approached, I knew I could not do another year of this and I decided to go for broke: I invited people - dare I call them friends? - some of whom I have known for a long time and others for about 2 minutes (this is of course about you M). I rented houses on an idyllic beach, organised caterers, duvets, music, even the weather and generally kept myself busy panicking over party logistics which helped to bridge many moments of insanity leading up to the event. Naturally I was convinced, nobody would show up anyway and I would spend the day in mortified embarrassment sitting on mountains of food and drink and ending it with a screaming marital dispute possibly resulting in a nervous breakdown on my part.
Imagine my surprise when B-day kicked off on Thursday after my Nia class and I suddenly found myself in my living room surrounded by 15 sparkling women (plus 3 mildly bewildered but very helpful men serving us sushi and kir royale), most of them in sweaty floaty dance outfits, laughing, chatting, drinking, eating, generally having a p a r t y . Colorful cards with poetic, loving and funny messages were piling up on my birthday table and the most amazing gifts materialised out of nowhere.
As I looked around in wonder and disbelief I felt the strangest sensation running and bubbling through my body - sushi gone bad? champagne induced giddiness? it turned out to be plain and simple happiness.
The party pretty much carried on for four days in the same spirit - everybody who had said they'd come arrived. And as the days slowly and quite dreamily melted into each other we all found ourselves caught inside a strange time bubble, where everything just seemed to happen outside the limitations of minutes and hours and days.
Time stretched and compressed itself according to everybody's natural time.
Food appeared whenever we felt like eating, people seemed to literally float in and out of each others space (and without the aid of mind altering drugs I might add - well mostly) participating in all the fun things we had lined up and still finding moments to be relaxed, take in the scenery, spent time with our kids, friends and even with new people we hardly met before (rent a crowd does have its own merits :-)).
It all culminated in the most spectacular party being kicked off by a Nia/drumming event on the top deck of the party house, with the sea and setting sun as a back drop and a visit from 6 little fairies in pink frilly outfits. I had speeches (no, not me - still need another 50 years to work on that one!!), and hugs and kisses and cheers and in one sudden blinding and mind altering flash it all became clear to me:
This is the party Of My Life. A party that I could have started years ago, but which for reasons that might or might not become clear to me one day is only beginning now. At 50! I look at the people around me and not only do I dare to call them friends - I love everyone of them. And they are all here because of ME, to celebrate ME and to be with ME (savouring an ego-manic moment here). As hard to believe as this is to a seasoned party-pooper - it became staggeringly obvious in the way we all dared to be ourselves and just let go of everything else for this one magic happy party night: 2 minute friends or life long companions - the looooove easily stretched - like my new party dress - and covered all the little flaws and kinks to make one big and cozy nest for us all.
(and the piece of art we all created for posterity is featured above...thanks as always my friend Brooke)