In episode 9 of the 6th season of Sex and the City, "A Woman's Right to Shoes," Carrie's Manolo's get stolen at a friend's party, and when her friend refuses to replace them because of the steep price tag, Carrie reflects on how much money she's spent on wedding and baby shower gifts for this friend, and how she feels penalized for being a single person. At the end of the episode, Carrie succeeds at getting her friend to replace the shoes by telling her that she's getting married, to herself, and that she's registered only at Manolo's for - you guessed it - the pair of shoes that were stolen.
I've thought about this episode a lot since I first watched it a few weeks ago, and I realized that in the planning for my 30th birthday, I kind of pulled a Carrie Bradshaw - but instead of asking for a replacement pair of Manolo Blahnik's, I threw a wedding-level party for myself, a single person, renting a million dollar home in Malibu and giving my friends 7 months notice to plan their trips out for my birthday.
I won't lie - it was a magical fucking weekend. Seeing so many of my favorite people at the same place at the same time is something I probably won't be able to replicate until I actually get married (assuming that ever happens), and I'm touched by how many people flew out - from New York, San Francisco, Oakland, and Austin - and how many people trekked the dark, off the beaten path road to the house to spend a few hours celebrating with me.
It made me think back to my childhood and how much I struggled with friendship. My best friend in grade school was a girl who I inadvertently made cry all the time, and because I was a child and lacked empathy, I resented her for what I interpreted as oversensitivity and making me look like the bad guy (we still keep in touch and if you're reading this, hi and sorry again for being such an asshole growing up!). During my freshman year of high school, I woke up one day and discovered that the girls who I thought were my friends at school and at my church didn't actually like me, and in fact actively disliked me. I wasn't exactly "friendless" by the time high school ended, but there were very few people I considered close confidantes, and I entered college resigned to the idea that maybe I would never really make close friends, maybe I just don't get along with people, maybe I'm just not a likable person.
Then in college I joined a dance team and found people who were not only entertained by my sarcasm, but also shared it. I found people who wanted to be my friend, and not because it was convenient because we happened to be in the same classes, the same after school extracurriculars, or because our parents were friends, but because they actually liked me and wanted to be around me. I still count my decision to go to Berkeley one of the best decisions I've made in my life, and it's largely because of the network of people I was able to build during that time - people who I love and respect, who will fly across the country to spend a weekend of debauchery with me.
As far as friendships go, I've been on an upward trajectory since college. Especially since moving to LA and becoming single, I've invested a lot of effort into nurturing my friendships and deepening the connections to the people in my life. I've been told that I'm a very reliable friend and it's something that I pride myself on, because it's a trait I've worked hard to cultivate. My belief is that if someone reaches out and wants to make time for me, then I'll reciprocate, because I think there should be an equal exchange of time and effort in any relationship.
This is what my 30th birthday celebration was all about. It was about making space and time for the people I love and celebrating all of the wonderful memories and experiences we've shared over the years. It was about thanking the people in my life for being there, for loving me back, and for teaching me that I am indeed worthy of friendship and love.
And it was about partying. Hard. Let's just be real.
Thanks again to everyone who came out for the party and to everyone who's taken the time to greet me today. I love you all and can't wait to spend another 30 years on this planet with you.