By Lydia Sather
I don’t really like parties. I’ve had a pleasant experience or two at a soiree with close friends or ringing in the New Year, but for the most part, they are terrible and I hate them. For my birthday as a young child, a girl that was invited by my mother would tell me what my present was before I opened it. Every year.
In grade school there were several incidents as well. The standouts are:
- The halloween party in which the “friend” that invited abandoned me me to wander about in a sea of strangers and
- The birthday party that was supposed to be a sleepover but instead I started crying and left when the birthday girl told me she hated the candy bar I got her. It was okay though, “maybe her brother would eat it.”
(New friends chatting at a FYP home party.)
Middle school only got better. A good friend of mine had a birthday party that she invited 12 other friends to. They all went to the same school and I didn’t know anyone else. While my friend watched as the evening unfolded, they oscillated between ridiculing me for being home schooled and ignoring my existence completely. I resorted to playing with my friend’s little brother in another room.
After all the unfortunate luck, I decided it’d be a stellar idea to have my own party. I was in 8th grade and my thought process was this: “If I was the one who planned the activities and made the guest list, at least no one could be mean to me.” I ran it by my mom (for permission) and an older, sophomore friend of mine whom I totally had a crush on (for coolness). They both said it was a good idea so the guests were invited using my mad facebook event skills.I planned out some snacks, games, movies, and even topics of conversation in case it got awkward. No one showed up.
In high school, I didn’t really go to any parties because I didn’t have time for that crap. Between competitive swimming, graduating early, and a part time job, my schedule was all filled up. The summer after high school I went to a lifeguard party thrown by a bunch of coworkers. It started out like a normal pool party, but quickly escalated to drunk minors having sex on the lawn. I had already started to ponder going home after taking a sip of a warm Budweiser Lime-A-Rita and deciding I don’t hate myself enough to drink any more of it, but this was appalling. I left and gave a ride home to a coworker having almost as miserable of a time as I was.
*By this point in writing the article, Courtney Barnett’s “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party” is playing on repeat.
Needless to say parties aren’t my favorite pastime, so when I joined the Find Your Power team and Ivy mentioned this concept of a ‘home party’ I was not thrilled. My first thought was ‘please, God, no’ and the second was ‘multi-level marketing is gross.’ I can safely assure you that neither of these are the case. Home parties are essentially like a community group meeting that connects women for encouragement, collaboration, and empowerment. It is quite literally a mixer where women get together and chat about their lives over wine and snacks.
My first FYP home party experience was completely unprecedented. I went into it fairly vulnerable; what if it was just a repetition of history? What if the other women didn’t jive with me and it was awkward? There were so many reasons not to go. But I did. I knew these things to be true:
- Ivy is awesome. If she’s passionate about something, it’s probably awesome too. I trust her.
- It would only be a couple of hours of my time; what did I have to lose?
The party turn out was two women I had never met, Ivy, and myself. There was plenty of chatting, some storytelling, a bit of advice giving, sharing, a touch of vulnerability, hummus eating, some wine, and a marvelous dose of laughter. I didn’t know that I could connect with strangers on this level after mere minutes. The depth of our conversation and the empathy that circulated is remarkable. I am still in awe of how fun and inspiring it was. For the first time, I left a party feeling encouraged and full.
If you’re intrigued or would like more information on how you can get involved in a home party, contact us at our website: http://www.findyourpower.org/index.php/contact_us/
We’d love to hear from you!