Happy 4th of July to all my American friends! I bet that's a tricky one....good luck!
I did my second party in two nights last night. I am SO looking forward to a night in with Mad Men and a hot chocolate....
(In the old days I'd now be on a weekend long bender in order to postpone the inevitable hangover, anxiety and self loathing).
I am getting used to sober life now, but parties, whilst getting easier, I still struggle with. It's also one of the topics that people e-mail me about the most.
I no longer get that fizz of anticipation leading up to a big event. But I don't dread events any more either. Now it's just mild, but mounting, anxiety.
I don't worry that I can't do it. I know I can. I don't even worry that I won't enjoy myself. I know I will, at least for a few hours.
What I still worry about is being seen as boring.
I used to pride myself in being unconcerned by what others thought of me. Now I wonder whether I ever achieved this state of 'blissful lack of concern' sober! I suspect it's yet another thing I have to learn to do unaided...
So, last night was a party that some friends throw annually. Each year there are a handful of new people, but most of us have known each other for ten or twenty years.
I find that sort of event harder than walking into a room full of strangers. Too much (drunken) history, too many past (accidental) insults, too many (uncomfortable) questions.
An hour into the party I was chatting in a small group and this girl bounded up and hugged the people I was talking to. She turned to me, all Hollywood smile, frozen frown lines and fake breasts, and said "Hi, I'm Blanche."
I knew she was Blanche. I knew last year on the two or three occasions that we met that she was Blanche. I've known for the last decade that her name was Blanche. She does this to me every time!
What Blanche was actually saying, as she flicked her hair and pouted at me was "you are far too insignificant for me to bother to remember."
I was, as you can tell, livid.
But then it struck me that I have done that sort of thing many, many times. At the same event in previous years I would have talked to the same handful of people (other big boozers) and ignored everyone else (too square and boring).
Last night I made a point of building bridges. I had some great chats with a lot of lovely people. I left at midnight and drove home (still a thrill!) as the party was ramping up a notch.
Needless to say, I didn't say goodbye to Blanche.
I'm starting to realise that the boozers probably don't think you're boring because they're too drunk themselves to notice what you're drinking. And the non boozers think you're a hell of a lot more interesting and less rude than you used to be.
So now it's a lovely, sunny, Saturday morning. I have the joy of Mr SM's hangover to remind me what I'm (not) missing, but the pain of having to explain to #3 that her tadpoles have died in the heat wave.
Poor little tadpoles who never made it into frogs (there's an analogy there for another day!)
Happy independence day to you all. Here's to freedom!
Love SM x