Friends, family members, and Henry, our friendly neighborhood cat, I have a confession to make. I have a deep, dark, dirty secret I’ve been keeping from public view. But first, I have to say…
I love potlucks. I really do. In your twenties, potlucks are an excuse to be with the kind of family you hypothetically want to birth in your thirties but not before you’re done taking risks and having fun. I love choosing recipes for this family, putting my sweat and blood (the best kinds of spices!) into dishes, feeding friends, and having an excuse to get together with the people I care about. I love getting to be in people’s lives in such a regular way, to create those places of laughter, love and support. And I love love LOVE the food.
But there’s that deep dark secret. Yes, here it comes. I can hold it back no longer. I stand here in front of you today, one woman against the world, opening the contents of her mind for all to see. Friends, family members…Henry.
There’s only so much potlucking a woman can freaking take. Let me explain.
When I moved to Austin and got my first potluck invite, I was over the moon.
I knew this would be a great way to make friends. And I like friends. I like them a lot.
Plus, the people I met at my first potluck were awesome. They were smart, they talked politics, they loved delicious, healthy organic food, they did the coolest things, and they were mostly all in a similar stage of life as me. Read: They were headed somewhere, but still kind of figuring it out. I had found my place, and I had no qualms about cooking for them.
But then something happened. As I networked and met more people, I got invited to more events. My social calendar filled up with fun things to do. And I got more work gigs. Lots of gigs. Too many gigs. And then?
Everyone I ever met in Austin decided to have a potluck in the same week. The horror. The horror.
I tried to keep up, I really did, but with how much I was working (am working), the stress of making something good quickly became too much. Soon enough, I felt like I was this girl:
Stephen tried to help, but his tips weren’t all that relevant.
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to see all of these wonderfully diverse friends, but I felt like I couldn’t attend these zillion and one potlucks without putting effort into a dish.
The guilt of bringing something pre-made or not bringing anything was too much to bear. So I just stopped going.
But I miss my friends. I love my tight knit friend hamlets. I love that everybody is so generous with their energy and time. I love coming together over delicious meals. So the only thing I can think to do is to implement a new policy – a compromise built on honesty.
The real problem, of course, is me. I love people and adventures and so I cast a wide net, but then, inevitably, I’m picking quantity over quality, and what I’m really craving is time to hang out with fewer people at a deeper level.
And I feel ashamed just to say all of this, given how lovely everybody is and how much effort and caring I’ve seen. I do hope you’ll keep on inviting me, because I love seeing everyone, and I hope I don’t sound ungrateful or snotty. But I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. So, this is what it is. This is what it has to be. Okay? Okay?
Now…who’s up for takeout?