What are you really saying?
July 31, 2017

It was, for a while anyway, what I would’ve called the happiest day of my life. I still have the video evidence. Almost everyone I’d ever loved had assembled for a special occasion. You can see on the VHS tape how dreamy the setting was, how thick the crowd had become, and how festive the atmosphere seemed. Look a little closer. Do you notice that guy leaning in to talk with me? He’s about to offer some advice.

Which was?

To relax.

I was playing hostess -- and considering how many different people from wildly different backgrounds had assembled, it was not a stress-free occasion. I was trying to make sure everyone was happy because I was young and clueless enough to think that was my job.

The day had been perfect. Dreamy. I’d done it. I’d orchestrated what was reportedly a magical experience for everyone. Nothing bad had happened. I hadn’t even remembered the exchange with this gentleman until I saw the tape, and I was struck by how not helpful it seemed. It wasn’t, “Hey, good job! I hope you’re able to take a break from attending to other people to kick back and have a little fun yourself.” It was more, “You’re letting them see you sweat, kid. Shame on you.”

Did he think hearing that would help?

And yes, I learned to relax. Eventually. Sometimes. With less “help” from people like him!