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Day 84 - Tribal Xmas, You Tube Channels & Photo Books.

Last night was Tribal Christmas...if you don’t know who the hell The Tribe is then you are going to have find the now seemingly ancient post for a complete description.

Every year my girlfriends and I get together and we celebrate each other with food, drink, laughter and of course gifts. Lots of gifts. I hosted this year and it was so lovely to have a dinner party at my house. This was the first gift. I grew up with entertaining parents (in all meanings you can get right there). There were dinner parties and cocktail parties and my default job was to prepare for these events then disappear to watch the sometimes very interesting evening unfold. I watched from the upstairs bannister while the uptight military officers and their even more uptight wives got loose by getting tight. It was often a sight to see. I stopped really watching once I hit high school because I was busy getting tight myself...and had my own way more interesting shit going on.

But I grew up with a family that had elegant dinner parties without fine china or silver. My parents had a different style, a hipper more sophisticated style. There was crystal but instead of Wedgewood, my parents had Dansk. They had simple but elegant stoneware with contemporary, mid century modern flatware. I always had the job of setting the table. My dad a strict but complimentary teacher. From about the age of 6, I could set a table better than any fine hotel staff. I knew where the water goblets went, where all the spoons and extra forks went. It made me feel a part of the party to set the table. It made me feel like I was, in fact, setting the scene for the party that was about to unfold. That somehow my place setting, created the magic of the evening.

So yesterday I cooked, cleaned and set the scene for my girls. I took my time and didn’t rush through any of it. It is a rarity that I have a dinner party, cook or even entertain in my home. This is something that I am bringing back in 2020. I am going to host a once a month dinner party for 6. Intimate. It is a goal.

So my first gift was to set the scene for our Tribal Xmas. I had a lovely time occupying my home and seeing how much of me was spread throughout. My flatware and stoneware. My linens and decor. It was lovely to feel like I, who so often feel like someone passing through my own home, was present and soaked in the home I created.

When they arrived. We sat in the living room and ate charcuterie. We talked of our holidays. We talked of our kids. We talked about men...of course. It was lovely.

Then we ate. Sitting at my carefully set table. We shared the food we each prepared and laughed. We talked about our issues, our problems, our fears. Looking back, I think we spent more time talking about some of us than others. This makes me feel badly now. Sometimes it is so easy to get carried away with ourselves. I am sorry my sisters that were slighted in the conversation.

My next gift was Jefe telling me that she thinks that this blog needs to move to video. The rest of The Tribe chiming in. They had good points. MFJ pressing me hard as to why I was resistant to this idea. I felt supported and challenged which is very normal in this group. I could not really come up with an answer for her in that moment. Being on screen something that makes me afraid on a whole new level. It is one thing to write about one’s most inner most is another to put yourself on screen and then share that too with whomever will tune in. That feels really naked. In all honesty, it terrifies me. My perfectionistic asshole immediately taking over and making me feel like I am going to fail before I even begin.

As much inner resistance as I can feel with this new idea, an idea that I have honestly never considered, I know I am going to have to do it. I know she is right that people have more time to watch a video than they do read a blog. I feel scared to the point of terrified but I know that I am going to have to do it. Or at least try it, if only, because it scares the pants off of me...and that is something that I committed to managing when I started NRT this year. To move toward the fear and panic. Not away. Not anymore.

My mind swirled with obsession and desperation to be able to come up with a really good reason as to why I could not possibly start a vlog. I had nothing. I spent the rest of the night invigorated and terrified. Walking the very narrow tightrope between the two. Feeling like at any moment I could and would plunge to my demise.

Thankfully, I was saved from my death spiral by gift opening.

We sat together in the living room. Each taking a turn to open all the gifts. We always say that we are just giving one person gifts in Secret Santa style. But we never, ever follow that rule. We all delighted in the gifts given and received for each of us. Perhaps more so than we delighted in our own. The level of knowledge and spirit each gift contained fully expressing the deep, abiding love we have for each other. The intimacy we share and then communicate in the presents themselves.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow but I was amazed at the generosity, the effort and the love that went into each and every gift. When it was my turn, I didn’t feel awkward like I usually do when opening gifts in front of others. I felt at home with my girls watching. Fully supported, known and seen. That was perhaps the best gift of the evening. Being fully known by these women. They know my fears, my insecurities, my strengths, my passions. They know me because I have allowed them to. They see me because I am there, present and willing to be seen. A lifelong struggle for me, resolved.

Badass had me for Secret Santa this year and I have to say she brought the house down. She gave me a beautiful crystal Buddha necklace and funny coffee mug. Then I opened my big gift. It was a photo book with my first 29 days of my Mansbatical blog. I started to tear up. Just looking at the cover, my heart was singing that tune that can only be sung when you feel completely and totally present. I felt overwhelmed with joy, anticipation and love. My girls sat there watching my face as I opened the beautiful cover...

I flipped open the first page and to my surprise there is this young bearded man standing next to a red convertible corvette. The girls smiling and laughing as they watched me thoughts went like this:

Oh shit, who is this guy? I know he must have significant meaning, but for the life of me, I can’t remember why...

Wait, did I fuck him or did one of them fuck him?

Then I turned a few more pages...

The book was literally cover to cover with this guy, some cute blonde girl, the red convertible corvette, and their trip to Texas. Now this is funny on many levels.

First, I hate Texas. All of it. I have always hated Texas (sorry to all of those who love this state - not trying to alienate you. I am just not a fan. I am sure there are lots of good things about the state...I just haven’t found any). When I met my ex-husband and found out he was in the Navy, I said to him, “I will follow you anywhere in the world...except Texas.” Of course, when I left him he moved there, I think to make a point. I was like, “Dude, I left you, you don’t need to move to Texas, I am not coming back.”

Then it was made even more hilarious because there were multiple photos of BBQ and alcohol. Two things I gave up a long time ago. There were photos of the Ft. Worth Stock Yards which nearly made me fall off the couch.

So we laughed hard and for a long time at the Target photo processing people’s fuck up. Somehow, in cyber space the beautiful book Badass created for me got mixed up with this young couple from Massachusetts trip to the less than great state of Texas. Making this the most perfect gift ever! I was saved from losing my shit and bawling like a baby just in time. What a great metaphor for life....just when life appears to have given you something to cry about, you open it up and then there is something happening that is so fucking ridiculous you can’t even! Those tears postponed for another this case whenever the Target photo people get their shit together. I am so looking forward to reviewing the beautiful book. I am grateful I will be able to do this in somewhat privacy because I do not think I have ever received a more thoughtful, loving gift. Wait, I am sure that I have but this one is definitely at the top.

Then we all laughed our asses off at the young couple who received their photo book that was likely the first 29 days of my posts on the Mansbatical! Imagine their surprise! I hope they find me...I hope they reach through the inter webs and reach out. I really, really do. I so want to hear their shock and amazement when they got my book instead!

The evening wound down. The girls packed up their loot and moved toward the car after the appropriate number of Tribal selfies. As I watched them get into their respective cars and drive away, I felt boundless joy and love. I held them in my heart as I do every day. I thanked the stars outside for their arrival and presence in my life. I walked into my candle lit house feeling whole, complete and loved. I can only pray that they felt the same. Rejuvenated and supported by this crazy tribe. As we say, long live The Tribe.

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