Friday night was the annual Hen Party. This party started several years ago when a friend was going through a hard time after her husband left her for another woman. The usual. We wanted to take her out and have a girls evening to buck her up, but it was winter on the island and nothing was open. I had a great girl’s pad and we decided we could open it up to lots of friends and make our own cosmos. It’d be cheaper and there’d be no last call.
I heard the term “Hen Party” from my British friends. This is what they call a bachelorette party but I just loved the term so I stole it. But since none of my friends are getting married, I didn’t want to waste it on that. Instead, it’s a mid-winter, cabin-fever, losing-perspective, need-some-girl-time fun. The crowd changes every year, but there is usually one or more of us needing bucking up and we’ve created a safe, supportive nest where we can regroup and watch each other fly. I never know who is coming. We keep it the first Friday of March, and the theme martinis, tapas, and chocolate. It started out just martinis, but we learned the first year (still a classic), we needed some food.
I will admit I was a little concerned this year. The back and forth about the democratic primary has generated some strong feelings and I was wondering what the evening would turn into. It seemed to be all anyone was talking about around here, and since the caucus is today, I thought some martini-fueled controversy might be in store. But I needn’t have worried. Though there were certainly those of us on both sides of the debate, it was discussion filled with mutual respect and questions about how to achieve our common goals. We listened to each other. With respect.
We talked a lot about truths. Some of us spent years believing our life partner was honest and true, and experienced the glass ball come shattering down. As we shared stories, I thought about the ways we each handle this. Some look at future options with a new and more discerning eye, some are unable to truly trust again, some get caught in self-blame and stay there, and some grieve and move on to a better, happier place.
Truth. Why do we believe what we believe? What kind of decisions do we make based on those lurking doubts, or clear truths that turn out to be mirages? What kind of trickle-down effect does it have on our children? What do we do when speaking our truth hurts someone, as it surely will? As women, this social taboo––hurting others, keeps us silent and repressed. It feels crappy to think people don’t like you, or are mad at you for your beliefs, or misinterpret you. We don’t like to feel crappy, so we stay silent. How do we overcome that and blossom in a world where opportunity is often a false front? And how do we know which is which? In college I had a leadership teacher who said, “You have to have people hate you. Otherwise, you are doing nothing.” I understand the tendency to surround ourselves with like-mindedness. It’s safe and comfortable. Our world makes sense that way. I find myself wanting to turn off the news about those who think differently; those who are willing to accept someone who preaches intolerance and greed. It’s scary and my mind tries to make sense of it in order to find peace in my universe. But turning away is what happened in the holocaust. It’s too much to bear that this could exist, so we deny it. And in denying it, we promote it.
Why is it we can believe liars and doubt truth tellers? Maybe it’s all about what we want to believe.
There are evil geniuses in this world.