Many years ago, before we got on well, my sister made a joke that I didn’t really have any friends. And it hurt, because I think there was always a tiny little piece of me that felt like, “what if she’s right? what if none of the people I spend time with don’t actually like me?” It bears noting that this was while I was in college, and there was a time during my freshman year that I kind of didn’t have friends? I was going through some serious homesickness, social anxiety, and adjustment to college life away from home in the wake of 9/11. You know. Like you do.
I did eventually find friends – real friends that I made a point to take pictures with and bring home occasionally so I could say, “SEE – SOMEONE LIKES ME IN PERSON!” And during our transition from tolerant sisters to friendly sisters, she would joke that “oh, they’re just putting up with you” or “you sure you’re not paying them?” and despite knowing that these people were my friends, I would occasionally have that niggling feeling of, “Are they just putting up with me?”
Fast forward to this past January. I had told my friend A that the Boy and I were engaged. She was so happy for me, and I think part of it was also that she (and her husband especially) really like having the Boy around as another male counterweight to our feminine excitement. Anyways – A said she wanted to host/organize a bachelorette party. I said, “sure, why not”. And when asked if I wanted it to be a surprise, again I said, “sure why not,” which turned out to be a mistake. I had forgotten that I hate not knowing things in advance, and when a few weeks later I got an email saying, “It’s all settled – this is the time and date, someone will pick you up,” I started to fret and to ponder.
Who would come? I was told it would be an big outing as part of entire day – who would want to deal with me for that long? I mean, I can hardly deal with me for that long. And then people started to let slip that they would be there. People who live longer distances away. People with children. People that I haven’t known for decades. It was kind of exciting and humbling. People – friends – wanted to join in and help me celebrate. Granted, all of them were also coming to the wedding, so I knew they wanted to help celebrate in that way, but being invited to a wedding to me always felt like a slightly lower barrier entry to attend. There’s usually a bar, and dinner, and dancing, and even if you don’t know people, you can find a way to have fun.
But a whole day that’s about me? Other people would be interested in that? It goes back to that thing above with my sister – the worry that, “do they want to be here? is it out of obligation? am I really their friend the way that I feel they are mine?”
The resounding feeling I got on Saturday was YES! These were my people, and they really like me and wanted to be there. I had such a good time, and it was so nice to have friends from different aspects of my life meeting and talking to each other. It was also a nice way for them to get to know other people before the wedding so that they can say, “Hey – I remember talking to you at the bachelorette party!” or “We both loved that one cider!” or “You got that crazy hole in one at Monster Mini Golf!”
It’s just so humbling to know that I have all these people who care about me. Who took the time out of their schedules to be there (or to be at other events coming up) for me. Who braved long drives or metro rides, who came to an event where they knew no one – because they cared. About me. ME. I’m so lucky to call all those ladies (and more!) my friends.