You Don’t Have to be Okay to be Here

(in)courage | 11/12/2019 | Staff
mayemaye (Posted by) Level 3
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I just wanted to hide. I wanted to be alone. I needed to be alone. I escaped into the bathroom, leaned my back against the door, unbuttoned the top button of my jeans and exhaled. In here, I could be myself. I didn’t have to carry the conversation, suck in my gut, worry about how loud the kids were being, or keep the party going. I didn’t have to balance the topics of conversation like I was walking a tight rope. Anxiety rippled through me when a guest would bring up religion, politics, or women’s rights. I was always on the other end pulling people back to the center, casually swaying the tide of hot topics back to the weather, sports, or how well the kids could color.

I love hosting, but this year I would do it differently. No more escaping to the bathroom like years before. No more controlling conversations or people. No more trying to meet everyone’s expectations. This year would be different.

Butcher - Paper - Dining - Room - Floor

I rolled out the butcher paper across my dining room floor. With makers and artistry, I had one agenda — change the way I approached hospitality this Thanksgiving. One phrase kept coming to my mind as I prepared for the thirty people who would be coming over for our traditional barbecue turkey, homemade cranberry juice, and sweet apple pie. This phrase was for our family and friends, but it was mostly for me. It would be my mantra. I would repeat it when worry would creep in and fear would tempt to cripple me.

Across the paper, I wrote these words: You don’t have to be okay to be here. It wasn’t the prettiest sign, but it conveyed the message perfectly. With scotch tape and a stool, I tapped this...
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