Last weekend, I went to Vegas where I danced like a muppet on a pogo stick, played rambunctious volleyball in the hotel pool, turned a brilliant shade of speechless vermilion as a room full of sixty people tried to find me a date, felt wretchedly insecure, shouted myself hoarse, cried a lot, and found many new people to adore. It's tempting to dump extra glitter on the already shiny pieces of a Vegas weekend and stuff the less pretty parts under the pillow and hope housekeeping doesn't find them until after you've checked out. But the not-so-pretty parts - like the time I couldn't walk into dinner because I felt like I was going to fly apart or sat under a restaurant table at 3 a.m. while everyone else ate pulled pork - were actually the most valuable.
Feeling your lowest and most vulnerable can help you find your people. People who will willingly forgo all the fun they could be having to sit with you while you regress twenty years and forget approximately 97 life lessons. Who will remind you that oxygen is a good thing and you should really help yourself to some of it. Who will sit there with you so you feel less alone.
People who will generally prove themselves the best human beings and not just because they are enthusiastic dancers and some of the funniest people to grace Twitter. So you will spend the next three days loudly informing them that they are your favorite and they are now required to be your best friend, other life plans notwithstanding.
Caryn, me, and Brandy. Please note Brandy's hair, hair that never fails to bring great joy to the world.
It wasn't all sad panda. It wasn't even mostly sad panda. It was mostly this - wild dancing and pool lounging and buffet-attacking. Plus all the love - in me for everyone and flying at me from every direction. At least when I let myself notice it. But that was the difference, I think. When I feel vulnerable or unsafe, my usual response is to shut down completely. Throw up walls and lock everyone out. This time, I let people in.
It was tempting to get mad at myself for having all the feelings. I was in Vegas for three days with some of my favorite people in the world. What kind of a jerk feels sad and insecure when lounging by the pool and eating unlimited hash browns and having 60 people in a room briefly devoted to finding her true love? I MEAN, COME ON, SELF. GET YO SHIT TOGETHER.
But feelings are just feelings. They aren't good, they aren't bad. They just are. Until they aren't any more. Sometimes, especially when biology is working against you and you aren't sleeping well because you've just uprooted yourself in a dramatic way less than a week before, maybe you're allowed to be a little more prone to feelings.
Things I Re-Learned In The Midst of Having All The Fun. Fun Including Mostly Naked Women Because, Come On, This Is Vegas.
- You're allowed to feel insecure sometimes without actually being insecure.
- You don't have to be happy and shiny all the time. People won't shun you.
- You're allowed to not have fun in a place where everyone else is having fun. It's okay. Just sit there and breathe.
- You're allowed to flip the switch three minutes later and start having fun again. Your feelings don't own you.
- Just because you feel something doesn't make it true.
- Letting yourself have the bad feelings allows you to have the good feelings again. Only bigger this time.
It's easy to ignore the bad in favor of the good. I really wanted to do that this weekend. Concentrate on the joy of dancing like a frog on crack and playing volleyball in the pool and watching topless women bending themselves in half and laughing so hard my mouth stopped making sound. I wanted to forget about the crying, the feeling insecure for no good reason, the sitting under a table at 3 a.m. because I wanted to be a part of things but felt so awful I couldn't sit in a chair like a real human.
But spackling cement over the one to concentrate on the other would rob me of something. Like new friends. And the feeling of falling so far down only to rebound even higher. And the knowledge, sinking deeper this time, that things don't have to be perfect to be amazing.