This past weekend some of my closest friends in Los Angeles threw me the sweetest lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Ivy at the Shore. I can't imagine a more beautiful setting, the facade alone is enough to steal my heart, the abundance of pink bougainvillea spilling over a pretty pale pink and green trimmed Spanish style building. It was a perfect backdrop for the millions of pictures we took and coordinated well with my unintentional, but very Carrie Bradshaw-esque, all white ensemble (links to shop below). The table was stunning, the cocktails as delicious as they were pretty, and quite potent to be honest. The food was amazing, my friends brought a fun and not too cheesy game to play. The girls and I had a really lively afternoon in Santa Monica, to say the least. It was a perfect celebration and I was so incredibly touched by the sweet gift they created for me, despite my request for no gifts. Overall, it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me and reminded me of how important these girls are in my life. 

So I’m almost embarrassed to admit I was completely touched by a celebration that I didn’t exactly want to happen. I had originally said no to the whole bridal shower idea from the day I got engaged, in addition to my choice to have a sister weekend in lieu of a bachelorette party. I think almost anyone, let alone the people who know how much I cherish any reason to get people together and celebrate, would be surprised to hear I wouldn’t want to partake in some of the most arguably common traditions we have celebrating American brides. And to be honest, I didn't exactly know why I felt this way after getting engaged, why I felt so much distance from the idea of celebrating myself and this special time in my life. I certainly had a ready response for inquiring minds, but it really wasn’t until this weekend, when I sat with these ladies, reading the loveliest book with messages from each of them and even a few who couldn’t be there, that I started to notice what my hesitation really was about.

To start, I’d like to be candid about my initial block. I identify as a feminist, a position that is not always popular, but for what it’s worth defending, to me means equality between all people, women and men and everyone in between. More on that here. Obviously I believe in marriage, but it’s always frustrated me the amount of pressure I’ve felt as a woman to be married, and the priority of attracting and maintaining a marriage, above everything else. And so as much as I LOVE attending and planning these celebrations for my friends, I suppose there was some deep rooted guilt about spreading a message that this is the main ways to be celebrated as a woman. I know we all have birthdays and other life moments, but haven’t you rolled your eyes a few time at the friends that do “birthday weeks” or want to do something fancy and expensive for themselves, with their friends? Have you ever shamed a friend’s splurge on nice shoes, aka that episode of Sex and the City, or questioned why a female would travel by herself? I’ve always seen these subtle, but powerful messages about what’s more important, missing a friend’s wedding or birthday party? The weddings always seem to rank higher, despite the fact that divorce rates do too. So I suppose I thought that if I didn’t partake in these celebrations, I’d be silently pleasing this part of me that often questions the status quo. 

But what I realized was that’s only half the puzzle. The other piece is the guilt I feel about letting people celebrate me. This is weird because I’ve always been extremely outgoing, on the surface it probably looks like I “celebrate myself” everyday. Remember readers, this is a curated lifestyle blog— not reality. But I think it hit me when I walked in and sat down with all these special friends, with the realization that this whole lunch would be about me and felt a tad uncomfortable. What's crazy is that this is something I talk about with my clients all day- do I not feel worthy of this appreciation, love, gratitude for my friendship? Do I lack self-love or the ability to be recognized for my contribution? I am still not exactly sure the answer to these questions —hey Freud please help. What I do know is that I’ve become more aware lately about how I accept praise. How I take a compliment without a funny, albeit, self-deprecating comment. To sit and listen to my clients, co-workers and mentees that I’ve helped them change, learn or grow. Perhaps there is a part of me that hasn’t fully allowed myself to accept praise, even though I do enjoy being appreciated. I’ve also thought that maybe it’s something a lot of people struggle with, maybe we are taught that humility has to equal selflessness. But maybe selflessness is just a deterrent to self love, a healthy confidence is perhaps something we all deserve. I’m still evolving with this one. 

One thing I know, however, is that I am worthy of this and extremely fortunate, to have such wonderful friends, who despite my extreme hesitancy to have a bachelorette-like weekend and bridal shower (she called it a lunch for my sake) strongly encouraged me to be celebrated. 

They say that we learn to love by the people who love us, and I must say, I’m still learning. Being appreciated, being shown attention, being celebrated are all things I know I want and need, and I’m working on accepting just that. 


Shop the Post


No comments