to host or not to host.
I'm suffering from an internal dilemma at the moment. it involves the throwing of a party.
who knew hosting could provide so much stress? so much inner struggle?
the problem is the host, me, my lovely beau, Paul, and our home, which is actually my grandmothers.
we have toyed with the idea of hosting a pumpkin carving party. we have a beautiful indoor dining porch and enough space to have some friends over to gather and celebrate the season. Paul found a recipe last night that involves a simple but stunning "entree" and I have a few fall food oriented tricks up my own sleeve. but...
the dilemma is this: I am a giver by nature. I am the party thrower. the people gatherer. the friend seeker-outer. I love this about myself but often it becomes a mode of operation that I use to protect me, and advance me on a straight and narrow path. the one I've *essentially* laid out for myself. I will write a list and say, I will invite these people, I send out invitations, I do all the necessary cooking and cleaning and preparations, I give and give and give, then I'm spent. completely and fully exhausted, and admittedly, hardly satisfied.
let me explain. I love to reach out to people, but often times, I reach, reach, reach and never consider that I'll be OVER-stretched and under-SATISFIED. it's a tough call, to KNOW when to stop talking. I'm a talker. I'll ask you 1,000 questions about your life. but sometimes, often I'm realizing, I will hang up the phone very dissatisfied with a conversation I just had. or I'll leave a friends house feeling like I hadn't once been tapped into. explored. navigated. questioned. searched.
my mom always told me I'd make a damn good lawyer. I'm analytical and interrogative. I'm hardly afraid of asking questions, though sometimes I admit I am for fear that I won't be able to handle the response and adequately respond to it. this is challenging. all of it. it's handfuls of information, very little having to do with hosting a pumpkin carving party. sorry. getting back to my point.
the giver in me wants to throw this party. make & send hand-made invitations. plan and purchase and prepare food to delight my friends' bellies. decorate and clean and purchase a pumpkin.
but there is a quiet voice inside of me, scared and hardly willing to hear her own words for fear of not knowing what to do with them. she is brilliant, but wading along the sea side, afraid the waves might crash her down. she's wondering if she ought to speak up this time, tell Stephanie to wait this one out. plan this party for next year, if you really want, take some time to take some time. respond to other people's invitations this fall, even the small ones they offer to you. instead: throw a you & Paul pumpkin carving party. host and delight him. instead of always giving, refocus on receiving. "drink other people's milkshakes" (the small voice loves Wally lamb)
but I'm still torn. I still need to listen to the clear call. to sit with it and discern a bit. I like the idea of hosting friends, laughter and jack-o-lanterns. I don't like the idea of seeing everyone leave and feeling empty-hearted (because I'm sure I'd have a pumpkin to hold).
I say all this hoping that the reader understands I'm not that black and white. I do get a little even when I give give give. I give a little even when I receive all day long. it's just pressing on my heart. this pumpkin carving party list in front of me. the idea of having the energy for it all and not having love and friendship restored unto me. or having it, but having it because I had to ask for it. that's a huge step in and of itself.
my birthday party this year was magical. hardly expected was the ease and delight that came with it. the only missing piece (the would have made it complete) was Emile---but his close presence these past few months, getting to know him and delight in his presence---that was a gift I could hold onto not just at my birthday party but all my life through. I don't write this to express a burn about party throwing, or a lack of receiving of attention and invitations and love, but only to juggle the weight of this action, what it means in the friendships I'm hoping to build here, and the future of those relationships.
a few final thoughts:
*Michele had her birthday party over the weekend and it was delightful. at some point during the party (probably when I requested another glass of wine), I had to almost demand that no one call me her "life coach." "too much responsibility," I stated. well yesterday she and I were running up dog hill @ Cherokee park and she said to me: "I've decided you're not my life coach and I won't call you that anymore. you're my personal motivational speaker."
*a while I told Paul last night that I finished a conversation over the phone and felt very empty, totally untapped into, and almost passed over. he so easily formulated this response: "well I know that leaves you feeling poorly, but you have to recognize that you have built these friendships to be this way. Friends expect your advice, your calls, your concern."
The little voice is sounding much more clear, after all.