Despite listening to T-Swift’s hit an embarrassing number of times, and knowing that the haters are indeed going to hate…there’s this feeling that I, against my best efforts, keep thinking about…and I have yet to shake it off.
It creeps up in me before I think about inviting a friend over. It bubbles up as I go to take an at-home selfie. And it gives me anxiety as I visit other people’s places and wonder how they afford their marble counter tops and glass tile backsplashes. How they found the building with in-unit washer dryers.
“Where I live is not good enough,” my brain screams at me. What if it’s too old? If it’s too ugly? How will people realize I am succeeding in life? How will people know I am destined for greatness when I have 4 different kinds of hardwood flooring in a one-bedroom apartment? (yes, first world problems, I’m more than aware)
And isn’t that the most millennial trend, trying to figure out how our peers afford their lifestyle and comparing ourselves to them? Something can make us so happy and fill us with joy (as my apartment usually does for me), but seeing someone else’s whatever can somehow make us feel less than.
The basement flooding and my sink breaking last week did not help the case, adding fuel to the fire in my mind that my place was a disaster. A total cluster of an old Chicago building. Paint chipping. Water dripping. The likes.
All I wanted was to one day have people over who enjoyed being there. Who wanted to spend time with me, in my house. Bring people on my home turf.
I know my place is quirky, vintage, and unpredictable, but I like its charm.
And then, an opportunity came up that I knew deep inside I couldn’t turn down. My inner voice made me. It volunteered me to host a St. Pat’s brunch. Low key, couple hours, potluck style.
Scared the crap out of me.
The guests would be mostly comprised of people who had never been to my place. And many of the invitees were my friend’s friends.
I worried that people would hate being there and try to leave as soon as possible. I was concerned no one would have fun. Despite the main theme being drinking, I was scared people would somehow be bored. But most of all, I was terrified to cook for others.
I stayed up until 3am preparing the night before. Plates. Check. Beer. Check. Stress? Check.
I might have gotten more sleep if I hadn’t decided at 1:30am that I needed a party playlist…and no pre-made Spotify St. Patrick’s Day playlist would do. (Is that what #diy means?)
9:30am. The guests were trickling in, each person telling me my place was nice, thanking me for hosting. But yet, I didn’t believe them. These are just things people say, I told myself.
My negative beliefs about my apartment were so strong and so loud, that’s all I could hear in my head.
And all of a sudden, it was BREAKFAST TIME. Time to get cooking.
I could feel myself blushing. My social anxiety creeping in. I don’t know how to cook. Not really. I thought…how have I come this far in my inner work, only to let this get me down?
So as my life coach always reminds me, I outsourced what I’m not good at.
I recruited a chef to make some eggs, actually giving the only sober (and pregnant) attendee an activity to do besides shots lol. We were starting to make all the food, and set out what everyone had brought.
All was well until someone asked for a cookie sheet.
I blushed ruddy pink. I didn’t have one, and was now convinced that everyone would think less of me. Less of a woman somehow? FOR A MISSING COOKIE SHEET. All against my feminist beliefs.
As I admitted I didn’t own one at the moment and needed to replace it, I braced myself for the impact. For the judging glares. The hushed condemnation.
But, yet, no one batted an eye.
THIS IS WHAT I WAS I WAS AFRAID OF?
It’s amazing the things we convince ourselves of. And what’s even more incredible is the pressure we place upon our own shoulders.
Despite that I had decorated, hosted, organized, and played hostess, I had still been worried it wasn’t enough.
But it was. I was enough. More than enough. Things started clicking in my brain.
And the validation came rolling in. Hard.
- “You’re place is so cute…I can tell you’re into interior design.”
- “You’re place really feels more like a house, a home.”
- “Can we see more of your artwork?”
And as if that wasn’t enough, actions speak louder than words.
We stayed at my place for over 4 and half hours. Hours longer than we thought. Almost forgetting we’d need to leave at some point. There was a dance party, shots, pics. People took photos of and at my place. Documented fun happened here. Ha!
Breakfast became a celebration. I felt like the star of the show. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Everyone felt welcome and at home.
I truly got everything I wished for. And I couldn’t be more grateful.