I love to throw parties.
Since my own wedding reception, I have had this fixation on taking up any viable excuse to throw someone a party.
Leo's birthday provides at least one party a year. His dedication ceremony reception. A friends birthday. A friends baby shower.
I just love it.
Except, there's the thing. I don't. Not really.
I have creative surges, and I get ideas, and once I am anchored in that fixation, there's no reaching the tidal surface where logic and priority are still surfing the waves without me.
And once I start, there's no take-backsies. Why? Because I've most likely already ordered everything I need from decor, cake boards, props, themed table bits, activity elements, right down to the cupcake sprinkles.
No turning back. Because until that point, I can make it happen easy peasy. I'll just "whip it up" over a few nights.
In the past, I have spent several full days on elaborate cakes.
Handmade tissue tassle garlands to cover metres and metres in the duration of full seasons of Lost, yes Lost. The seasons that went on forever.
And you guys, so far this year, I've spent 3 week, at least 5 nights a week, making activity parts, designing and printing what I need, researching free from desserts for the dessert buffet, oh, just endless jobs.
Then little things, barely necessary things. Like making labels and posters to indicate activity actions and instructions for the self led parts on little stations at the party.
I've wrapped tin cans in covers of pokemon adorned printed sheets for tin can toss games.
I've hacked out 30 circles from double thickness corrogated cardboard trays and glue gunned 30 paper cups to it them, and that's not the end of that activity prep by a mile.
And just when I think I've got one activity down, I remember I still have to make more parts for it to actually work and stay on theme.
Because I'm disgustingly committed.
I made a list, I've still got about 14 nights worth to complete what I've planned, excluding baking time. 15, actually, now I just remembered another.
Friends have said "but you'll feel so proud when it's done! Leo will love it. Everyone will have a great time!"
And they probably will. However, my choice to do this party, to run with the elaborate concept I designed, was only self fulfilling. I had an idea. I wanted to do it.
Even on the day, I'll screech and panic and my mother, sister and mate Hannah will take on the hosting with grace and ease to help me through, and I know this, because it happens, every, single, freaking, year.
Now I need to add, this is not regret. I don't regret starting. It'll be a super party. I'm a creative, and Leo is loving seeing what I'm putting together for him.
But honestly, it's not the party part that I love. In all honesty that bit sends me twitchy and sweaty. I'll own it at the time and be immensely grateful when it's over.
And then I'll say, "Hey babe, remind me not to do this next year."
And then I'll start the cycle all over again next opportunity.
I've realised what it is that feeds that side of my artist life. I have no hesitation.
Perhaps that's an autistic trait. I don't come up for breath before I dive in. Maybe it treads into obsessive compulsion which may be an autie thing, I'm unsure, I'm still learning.
But I'm like Tinkerbell. I'm fuelled by applause.
That may seem like a vain statement, but i consider it a big neon sign flashing above my head saying
"MY LOVE LANGUAGE IS AFFIRMATION. PLEASE RESPOND TO MY PRACTICAL APPROACH TO CRAFT WITH SMILES AND TELL ME I HAVE VALUE."
I go full Audrey 2 and get ravenous.
And you know what I was actually really looking forward to doing after Christmas?
Writing my book. Watercolour painting here and there.
You know what I haven't done since way before Christmas?
DINGDINGDING 10 points to the pretty babe at the keyboard.
So how do I remedy this?
I need to find my ADJACENT POSSIBLE.
My other close outlets which can lead to reciprocation of some sort in the form of literally just appreciation. That's it. That fills my tank.
Just those happy, available outlets.
The outlets that actually stayed on the surface of the damn ocean and cruised the waves with logic and practicality while I clung to that anchor below.
In the future, i need to be kind but assertive with myself, and remind myself that I can express my need to receive that love language by finally finishing my book and getting it in the hands of readers.
I need to consider getting my artwork back onto stickers and prints and reopen my etsy shop.
I need to paint my friends cards, and see their faces when they enjoy them. And let that be the healthiest dosage.
AND JUST MAKE THE KID A BAD ASS CAKE AND LEAVE THE REST TO A SOFT PLAY CENTRE TO HANDLE.
And to those who come to Leo's party, tell me to chill when i'm freaking out, and make me sit down and enjoy what I've put together literally painstakingly for my child. It'll be the best My Little Pony / Pokemon fusion activity adventure party you'll ever go to, and I feel assured i can toot my own horn given the narrow likelihood of any comparative experience of that specific bracket of weird.
And tell me my book is waiting for me.