Recently, I decided to host a party at my apartment, because sometimes my brain tricks me into believing I want something then laughs at me when it becomes miserably obvious that THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! Thanks, Brain. You give false advertisements. This brought up some old memories along with a weird type of social anxiety that I rarely experience. Now I’m scared of my own party. More accurately, a potentially failed party.
As most of you know, I have some anxiety issues. I don’t like to talk about it, because talking about it worse. This is not only upsetting, but irritating. To everyone. Despite what naively positive people believe, anxiety is not something you can “just get over.” If it were that easy, none of us would suffer, none of us would know what that word meant, and we would all live in castles made of gumdrops which would be gross because it would melt and get all gooey anytime it was warm, rainy, or both. You couldn’t even eat them, because gumdrops are kind of gross. Unless they’re Dots, and then like one of those mini boxes is okay or maybe the cinnamon ones, but not in large quantities. We would have no nervousness about the melting though, so that’d be cool.
The idea of hosting sounds so great at first. It starts with being lazy but also wanting to hang out with people. “What if I could go to a party, but all I had to do was walk into the other room and wait for friends to show up? I could wear WHATEVER I wanted. I mean, it’s MY house. If I feel like putting on pajamas at some point, I could just do it! It’s not weird, because they’re ONE ROOM AWAY!” My mind is its own pyramid scheme.
It’s actually a lot like Mike Birbiglia’s stand up bit about how hard it is to wake up. I also have a hard time waking up, but really, becoming a party host is a lot like this.
Secretly, I’m always aware that it’s a lot more work than just being there. But I write it off. “No, this will be good!” I insist. I even tell myself that I really needed to clean the house, and the only way is guests. That part is true, but it’s never something that feels voluntary the moment that I actually am forced into cleaning.
In high school, I was something of an extremist. I used to go from one social event to another until I collapsed from exhaustion and missed school. Hosting was easy, because I lived 3 minutes from school. So if I invited people over after, they couldn’t turn me down. How? Walking to my house took 15 minutes (20 depending on what side of the school you started on). If I was late, my boyfriend could come over and pound on my door (that happened). When I was sick, my friends could drop to see how sick I actually was (they did, because it was almost always chronic fatigue, so rarely was it contagious).
Ever since I joined the work force, even if I’m not working, the idea of putting on pants and leaving the house fills me with dread. There is nothing worse than going to an event and realizing that you would have had much more fun doing nothing at home. I didn’t understand until I worked full time, and then I really questioned the kinds of events I was committed to attending.
All of this might have slipped by me. Except another friend posted an event the day after mine. He made an awesome pitch. People want to go.
I’m not good at selling my parties. I can never be like “YOU GUYS THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST.” Mine are more like, “This is what I’m going to be doing…you guys could do that too. It might suck. No, there’s no promise after that, I’m just saying it might.”
At some juncture I decided not to have parties at my house anymore. It’s not even that I temporarily wised up to my own act of the simplicity ruse. There’s no specific reason I can point to for this turn of events, but I can narrow it down to a few things.
Oscar the Grouch meets Ernie is kind of a terrible host
My family has weird traits that get passed down from generation…and some of the weirdest ones are the ones that affect both sides. Like the Joni Mitchell song except about genetics and nurturing. When people talk from time to time about what genetic problems their family members typically suffer from (note: not necessarily what kills them), most folks say things like heart disease and cancer. Then my friends look to me and say, “What about you?” and I’m obliged to say, “Depression, suicide, and alcoholism.”
No one makes movies about that one. Both sides of my family hoards. My husband’s family hoards. Apparently, the women in my family never learned how to clean (I say women not because I’m being biased, but because guys in my family do know how to clean). At some point, my mom’s house got so bad that I just stopped inviting people over. Fortunately, one of my friends from high school ending up hanging out with me all the times since neither of our parents are very good house keepers, so we were the only people we weren’t worried over inviting to our houses. It sounds terrible, but if you can’t bond with people over mildly to completely traumatizing experiences, then how can you bond with them? Don’t answer that, just keep reading.
What’s Up, Richie Rich?
I went to a high school where many of the students came from affluent families. Many, although not all, of my friends came from medium to low income families. Which meant that the friends who DID host all of our cast parties had fantastic homes, because how else can you fit a cast of 30 somewhere? You can’t. You need large, entertainment rooms.
Must escape vs. escaped too much
Introverted affairs like avoiding my mom’s tough emotional outbursts from the end of high school until I moved out after college and living in Texas for 3 years also didn’t help. My high school writing teacher once told me that one of my weaknesses was accepting criticism, and every year I’m alive that becomes truer. Now I don’t know how to make parties cool. My problem with having plants is I’m either too involved or too absent, and I struggle with that aspect everywhere in my life, including parties.
The party hasn’t happened yet, but there you go. If it’s extra awkward or amazing, I’ll try to give a full update. If it’s somewhat forgettable, I’ll try to find another subject to post about and slip it in fast.