I was never much of a theme party person before this year. It's weird, because my nature is to be generally down for things, but I suppose I just never had the chance to attend a theme party because nobody I was hanging out with was throwing them.
But my branching out this year started with my friend Brian's Mad Hatter birthday party (the theme aspect of which I actually opted out of, merely for lack of time to prepare), and the passing months have given me a number of opportunities to dress up for various themes and explore alter egos :). Theme parties are fun, and kind of addictive, if you actually decide to go all out and participate...
Today's New Activity: Nasty Bedazzling of an Already-Ugly Sweater
So I guess I was sort of itching for one final ultra-cheeseball bash to close out the year, and it was with this in mind that I oh-so-subtly hinted to my friend Kenneth that he and Peter should throw an Ugly Sweater Party (I believe my exact, subtle words were: "You and Peter should throw an Ugly Sweater Party"). I'd never been to one before, but there was something so appealing about the idea of trolling the thrift stores for a uniquely qualified monstrosity and wearing it with a special sense of pride.
Which is how I ended up wearing an article of clothing that started like this:
and came into its full glory as this:
Do you even need to ask if I took home the prize for evening's ugliest? Well, I did. The prize was a snowman coffee mug, which I was very happy to bring home to Kalil, as he's developed a recent obsession with coffee mugs (I swear he played with a travel coffee mug for an entire day, and I had to wrestle it from his grasp just to get him down for a nap).
Anyway, there was plenty of ugliness to go around at this party, and fortunately it was limited to the attire.
Tonight was really refreshing for me. On the way home I was thinking about the change in my frame of mind since I first reconnected with the friends I'd become virtually estranged from during my marriage. Just about a year ago, when they'd first started inviting me to join in festivities, my desire to reconnect was bordering on desperation. I'd come to feel very isolated--far-removed from so many of the people I knew and had once cared about. I think I also welcomed with open arms anything that could take my mind off the constant rumination about my separation and what lie ahead.
But it's nice to get to the place I am at tonight, where I feel happy for the chance to see some friends, but not in any way like I need a mental escape. It was just a couple of hours--likely the only hours I'll have for these particular friends during the month of December--to laugh, catch up, and get all itchy in our horrible (mostly) 80's sweaters together.
My life feels rebalanced again, with plenty of connecting, of laughter, of friendship to carry me through the spaces in between. And having now accepted that my life is here, in the East Bay, I was eager to get back home early tonight--back to the house decorated beautifully for Christmas by my Mom (the Queen of Christmas), back to the bedroom where my son was sleeping quietly, back to my warm, inviting-though-less-than-comfortable bed, back to my dreams, which continue to grow at once wilder and more within-my-grasp than ever before...