Recently I was talking with a friend about how anxiety-inducing it can be to mix groups of friends. I talked about how I originally wanted to invite everyone I knew to celebrate by birthday last May, but thought twice when I imagined what that scene would look like. I imaged somebody from one group eyeing somebody from a different group and coming to the conclusion that they didn't know me after all, if *this* was the sort of thing I was into.
The truth is that I'm into it all. And I have friends who have absolutely nothing in common but whose company can bring me equal amounts of joy. I think most of us are like that. And I think most of us do tend to avoid the chemistry experiment that would result from trying to combine the disparate groups.
Today's New Activity: Leap of an Invite
So over a month ago I was invited to join some friends for a Halloween gathering at their favorite dive Asian bar. Exactly one year ago come Halloween was the first time I'd seen this group of friends in years (at the same bar), and that's when most of them learned of my separation. I felt like it was an important kind of anniversary for me, and that I would very much like to return to the scene a year later and just see how different I felt.
Only recently I'd also decided that I'd like to celebrate Halloween with a different friend of mine. And I started to wonder how awkward it would be to simply invite the one to join the others. Thinking about it was really kind of stressing me out about it, such that I avoided making definite plans with either party.
Then, somehow...I got over it.
I just took the leap and decided to invite my friend--who, it turned out, was excited at the Asian dive bar prospect and the prospect of meeting others of my friends...that's a good start--to join in the long-planned other festivities. I realized that part of my rediscovery of self this past year has involved me accepting myself exactly as I am, and my own refusal to repeat the pattern that emerged in my marriage, wherein I bought into the idea that I was flawed and needed to make serious changes on a fundamental level. This acceptance involved accepting all the parts of myself...the parts that like all different sorts of people. I understand now that any friend of mine whom I could truly call a friend would be interested in knowing the people I know, even if they don't have anything in common except for their friendship with me.
I'm sure this sounds like pretty basic stuff for people who have long felt comfortable with exactly who they are, but it is serious headway for me. And to take this step is also a nod of acceptance to my friends themselves: I like you and accept you exactly as you are, and I'm happy to present you to others :)
I'd say that's a good thing for everyone involved...