At various times I have been the life of the party, but I have to tell you, it’s exhausting. It requires a whole lot of energy to put yourself in that situation and to maintain your standing in that circle.
There’s a reason party girls travel in packs. There’s an unspoken rule that you bolster each other so you all get a break at one point or another. But, there’s another inevitable unspoken rule that if you don’t carry your weight you’ll be thrown under the bus.
I’ve been the girl with the band – I’ve even been the girl in the band – and it can be lots of fun, but it’s always tinged with the idea of what’s next. What people conveniently never mention to those who wish they were with the band, is that it wears a person out. You always have to be “on.” There’s a reason lots of people in that lifestyle end up in rehab – they needed some help to be “on” all the time.
Different versions of this play out on large and small stages all the time – from middle school math classes to movie premieres, and everything in between. You see it on Twitter and you see it around the water cooler at work. (Well, if one has a water cooler – substitute whatever the modern equivalent of that is.)
Gathering into groups is something we seem to do by instinct. Yes, it’s true, cliques are a natural phenomenon. Unfortunately, it also seems natural for us to always be looking at one we’re not included in as desirable. Why don’t they like us? Why don’t they include us? Why don’t they see the error of their ways in leaving us out? The reality is probably far more distressing – they probably haven’t given us a thought – so there’s no reason they would consider including us.
Oh, we could worm our way in, and then they would eagerly include us. But, you know what that takes? Energy. Lots of energy. And vigilance. Because to stay in you have to keep putting out the energy. It’s a vicious circle.
I see most of life as an equation. I run the numbers and I do a cost/benefit analysis to reach a conclusion. Should I get involved in this relationship? What’s the chance this is going to end with my heart broken? Is it going to be worth the pain? Then I make as educated a decision as I can with the details I have available.
It’s just too costly to be the life of the party. It takes more energy than I’m willing to expend. Been there, done that. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The party will just have to come to me. It will find me contentedly writing, reading, painting and thinking while sharing my life with friends who accept me for who I am, not an artificial, hyped version of myself striving to be the life of that other party..