First order of business: Thank you. For reading my admittedly very vulnerable post yesterday. To be honest, I was very scared to publish those words. Scared to put myself out there. Before publishing, I read those words to Husband and he said to go for it. That those words were honest and raw and heartfelt. And that they were me. And so. With shaky hands, I hit publish. And then I sat there, shrouded in soft silence, waiting for you. Your words. And they came swiftly and sweetly. And, throughout the day, I lapped them up, your sentiments, thoughtfully strewn here in my space. And, magically, meaningfully, I felt stronger. More secure. Before I knew it, smiles, real smiles, returned.
And today? Today I am happier. Happier because I allowed myself to stop pretending and strip down for you. Happier because you allowed me to be something other than polished perfection. You allowed me to be me. Today, I am happier for another reason though. Last night. Last night was pure celebratory magic. Last night was another Happier Hour. The third I've hosted so far. This time, the party took place in a gorgeous four-bedroom apartment with fabulous city views in a new building on the Upper East Side called The Azure. We women sipped delicious wine donated from a wonderful Argentinian label called La Linda and talked about Commitment & Celebration. And my co-host was the incredible Jes Gordon. And because I know many of you are new here (welcome!), I will read you what I said to the cluster of sixty or so women who gathered to listen and learn.
Welcome all to this beautiful apartment on this beautiful evening. Many of you know the idea - both simple and profound - behind Happier Hours, but it's worth repeating for the rookies here. The idea is that a chilled glass of wine is a scrumptious way to bookend a long, hot day, but that conversation and connection are what truly make us happier.
And tonight, I am plenty happy. I am happy because my first novel Life After Yes debuted a little over two weeks ago. Some of you might know that I had a bit of trouble coming up with a title for my story. Up until the last few months, it was called BlackBerry Girl. But then one random Wednesday afternoon, as I was wrangling my little girls on the Wild Wild Upper West, my editor called and told me - very diplomatically - that we needed a new title.
At the time, I wanted to cry - and I'm pretty sure I did - but after many brainstorming sessions at Starbucks, I came up with Life After Yes. And it is the perfect title if I do say so myself. Because, yes, it captures the subject matter of my book - an engagement and a maybe wedding. But more so, because, really this story is about something bigger. It is about saying Yes. About commitment. Not just to a man, but to happiness, to a city, to a career, to friends, to dreams.
And what is life, but the commitment and re-commitment to people and places, to passions and purposes? And so. Tonight, we celebrate commitment. Tonight, we commit to celebrate. Conversations and connections. Life and love and literary ventures.
But my book is not all that is making me smile. Hardly. Tonight, I am giddy because my good friend and event planner extraordinaire Jes Gordon is here with me. Sure, Jes is a rock star in her own right. She runs her own very successful business and she too just published a book. But what means something to me, a great something, is that once upon a time, Jes planned my wedding to Husband. I remember waltzing into her studio with Mom, sitting and talking and dreaming about my big day. I remember her showing me the tiny white ski vests that became our totally ridiculous, over the top, and amazing save the dates. They said: "Take a snow day!" Jes was incredible to work with and thanks to her love, creative genius, and imagination, my wedding day, the day on which I committed to my forever guy, was perfection. Not fairy tale perfection. But my kind of perfection.
So, thank you, Jes. For helping me celebrate my commitment more than five years ago and for helping me commit to celebrate many magical moments in my own life after yes.
Like this one.
And then I turned things over to Jes. Unlike me, she had nothing planned. She did not clutch a piece of computer paper between quaking fingers. Instead, she just talked. About her story. About her commitment to helping people celebrate. She was articulate and engaging and wickedly funny. She threw around a naughty word here and there which made us blush and giggle. I wish I could tell you everything she said because she was really that good, but I will stick to one thing. One brilliant thing.
Jes talked about being naked. About how writing a book and putting it out there in the world is like standing naked for all to see. She also said that this is what happens when we are brides; we think we are there tucked away in our expensive tailored gowns, but in reality, we are stripped down, naked, there to be judged. And that this is a scary and amazing thing. As Jes said these things, I stood beside her, smiling and nodding. Yes, because I love me a good metaphor. But more because she is right. I remember my wedding day. Standing there in my vast princess dress. Surrounded by people looking, watching, judging.
And that is how I feel now. My book is out there. Which means I am out there. A piece of who I am is floating about. But I am also still here. In my yoga pants and glasses. Behind a soothing screen. A human being. One with dreams and doubts and fears and flaws. One who is just now realizing how powerful, truly powerful, vulnerability can be. How it can free us, and connect us, and make life real and good.
Thank you, Jes. For your unique and unwavering friendship and support. For making me - and all of us - realize that buttoning up and playing it safe is not what makes us happy. No. It is being naked from time to time - at our weddings, in our words and wishes and ways, that makes it all worth it.
Today I am happier.
Thank you, Jes.
Thank you, all.
- Do you agree that there is an immense power inherent in vulnerability?
- Do you agree that life entails constant commitment and re-commitment to people and places and purposes?
- Do you have a hard time stripping down and letting go?
- Are you good at celebrating life's sweet moments?
- Are you afraid of commitment?
- Did you feel naked at your wedding or at other times in your life? Was this scary or amazing or both?
- Do you think that in blogging we are in many ways stripping down, exposing emotional and existential skin?