I have been working on this post since Sunday afternoon.
So far what has tended to happen is that I think for a few minutes about what I want to say and how I want to say it, then I stride purposefully toward my office so that I can sit down and start writing, and somewhere around the 10-steps-from-the-office-door mark 35 years of training leap up and bash me over the head with a giant mallet labeled “HUMILITY”. If that doesn’t slow my roll, it breaks out “SHAME”, and if all else fails, it falls back on “SELF-ABASEMENT” which, as trump cards go, is pretty much always effective.
Which is how I’ve come to spend three days not writing this post. In the meantime, I’ve done some laundry, cooked some food, had I don’t even know how many frivolous conversations with people, wrapped some presents, and watched some television. Heck, yesterday afternoon I took about a 20-minute nap. That is how hard I’ve been avoiding writing this post.
And that’s why it’s extra-important that I write it: because it’s about how I was actually kind of a rock star this weekend. And if anyone else I care about had been a rock star, I’d be all about bragging on ’em. I’d post about ’em on Facebook. I’d write blogs in their honor. I’d take and post pictures, and talk about them on the phone with my mother. But when I’m the one who broke out a little extra awesomeness? Somehow that’s taboo, and my internal filters clamp down like I’m about to share some state secret I don’t even have the clearance to know–let alone to share with the world.
And that’s not ok, when it comes right down to it. “Humility”, they say (where “they” = C. S. Lewis), “is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”…and I agree with that, but I’d hasten to point out that nowhere in there does it say anything about refusing to think of yourself at all. We are permitted to brag on anyone who does something awesome–and that includes ourselves. I am permitted to brag on anyone who does something awesome–and that includes myself.
I’ve written 363 words now and I’m still elbow-deep in caveat. To heck with this; I’m goin’ in.
This weekend was Moon Man’s Fancypants Holiday Office Shindig. and I looked like this:
Some of you may recall the saga of The Dress from last week, when I came to grips with the idea that my nieces and nephews deserve to grow up with an Auntie BW who is confident enough to post a picture of the nice model wearing the dress she herself is planning to wear, even knowing full well that she and the model will look different in it.
And y’know what? I rocked that dress. Yes, the model and I looked different, which is probably just as well because it would be very confusing if everyone on earth looked alike. No, I did not have a team of hair- or makeup stylists. And yes, I totally had backup flats in my purse, because my Mama didn’t raise no fool. But it deserves to be said: I looked cute. I wore the heck outta that dress, and I will probably wear it again for future shindigs (there’s a charity dinner we attended for the first time last year, and I betcha we go again this year, and the dress would be perfectly appropriate for that event). Shee-yoot, I might wear that dress to the grocery store. I felt great, very confident, very stylish, very with-it, and it showed.
And–and and and–I got all the way through the fancypants shindig without throwing, dropping, or catapulting any food! I did not belch or sneeze on anyone, I used my napkin like a grownup lady, I picked the right fork on the first try, and I meandered graciously with a glass of wine and didn’t spill a single drop. I am a total rock star, kids, and don’t you (or I) forget it.
And then the next morning we came home and did the final preparations for the Buffalo Stampede Adopt-a-Family 2013 holiday party. We started this last year, this business of adopting a family through a local children’s charity and having everyone in our group (the “Buffalo Stampede”) either select one family member to buy for or just bring cash to donate to the grocery store gift card we commit to including. Then we pick a date and throw a party, and everyone brings their gifts to show off and wrap together while enjoying warm beverages and snacks and good, festive company.
It all sounds pretty straightforward, reduced to a few sentences like that, but the reality is that there’s a not-insignificant amount of coordination and work involved. For context, I started working on this in October. We had roughly 20 families participate in this year’s Stampede; so for the last 60 days or so, I’ve done Facebook postings, shopping, replied to emails/text messages/instant messages/Facebook messages/calls, fielded last-minute questions about sizes and/or color preferences and/or ages and/or preferred stores, and made sure each person in our assigned family had at least one designated Primary Shopper. I’ve counted cash. I’ve filed gift receipts. I’ve selected and gathered coordinating gift wrap, tissue paper, and gift tags, and picked up garment boxes and gift card holders.
And then there’s the party itself, which needed coordinating plates, bowls, and napkins (I may have gotten slightly OCD with it all). I made sure the snack spread included an actual entree (in this case, a big pot of chili) in case people needed a meal option. I had an entire table of arts’n’crafts supplies for the kiddos, including–wait for it–a planned project (superhero snow globes).
Hilariously, all the families with kiddos had to bow out of the party because of illness or other crises, so we grownups made the snow globes ourselves, and had a blast. Heck, I even made personalized party favors–and wrapped them individually in gift bags with (you had to know this was coming) coordinated gift bags, tissue paper, and a charming candy cane.
I made a bunting, people. With inspirational quotes about generosity and taking care of your fellow humans.
And it paid off like mad–the turnout was pretty good at the party, the insane flu bug running rampant through our friends group notwithstanding. Our goal was to have at least one present per person in our 6-person adopted family and $75 to put toward a grocery store gift card, and at last count, the total haul was somewhere around 50-55 presents and $160 for the grocery card. Which, and let me be very clear on this point, is an awesome and amazing testament to how generous and loving the Stampede folks can be. I’m deeply honored to know these folks, and deeply proud to be counted among their friends.
So y’know what, 35 years of training with your mallets and your inner demons? Out you go. If asked, I would say that What I Most Want to Accomplish With My Life is “make a positive difference in people’s lives”, and my unofficial answer is “…and look cute doing it”.
And that, objectively and honestly speaking, is exactly what I did this last weekend.
In other words, I kinda rule. And I deserve to celebrate that fact.
So this one’s for me. Congratulations, Self, on being a total rock star and an all-around swell gal, and double congratulations for doing so in a photogenic way. High-fives all ’round and a nice shot of victory whiskey for me. Attagirl. Et cetera.
Maybe I should make myself a medal.
P.S.–To everyone who participated in this year’s Stampede, Thank you. Without y’all, I’d just be a madwoman with a Facebook account and insufficient supervision. You are generous and incredible people, and … and I’m about to get sniffly again, so I’m stopping here. Love you hooligans.