Rock Star Endings & Growing Up

by Elisabeth

It was a Saturday in mid-October and I was invited to a “Rock star party.” I was still in “shut-in” mode and really didn’t want to go, even though the theme was pretty cool. We were all supposed to dress up as rock stars. Sometimes (many times) I find myself going to social events that I don’t really want to go to; out of obligation, or manners, or some other made-up reason. The idea of the party itself was awesome, and a bunch of friends were going to be there.

I dressed up as Courtney Love. It was an easy costume because I never completely grown out of my 90’s penchant for the  kinder-whore look. I had the remains of that all-pervasive phase strewn around my room. A black slip and the torn fish nets: check. All I needed was a blonde wig. I arrived around 10pm, but Nick wasn’t going to make it until after closing the restaurant. He works nights. By the time he arrived at the party I was ready to go home, as I work office hours and get pretty tired by midnight. However, once Nick got there I got my second wind- he was dressed up as a banana which made his costume by far the best. I was, by then, into my second bottle of wine.

At some point, Nick and I decided to pitch in for more inebriants and handed money to a girl who I’d never met before. She was not dressed up. She had taken it upon herself to procure them. We were covering for several people and therefore gave her quite a sum. A little later, when we went to get our hands on some of the intoxicants, she acted as if we hadn’t given her any money. She flat-out denied it.

What ensued was story-arc of Nick freaking out, me yelling at her and accusing her of being a thief, other people at the party defending her because she was their friend, and finally- at the end of the night- she “discovered” that she did (indeed) have our money. It was in her purse which she had repeatedly refused to check- until the hostess located it and confronted her with it. We got our money back.

The following day I found out that people from her camp were angry with my behavior. This girl was a friend of a friend’s boyfriend and now “we won’t be able to be in the same room together.” I ended up sending apology emails out to the friend, the boyfriend, and to the girl who had our money.

This was a turning point for me.

You see, I am still convinced that the girl was trying to steal our money. Her behavior didn’t add up- refusing to check her purse, not “remembering” that she had taken the money in the first place, and then upon “discovering” that the money was in her purse she acted highly insulted and resentful that anyone would think that she was a thief. I couldn’t put myself in her shoes because the story didn’t make sense.

The reason I apologized was because I knew at that point, that I didn’t want to be that person again. Dramatically and drunkenly accusing someone of stealing (even if she was.) Getting mad about money, at a party I didn’t really want to be at. All over libations. Silly. I am leaving Montreal, I thought, but THIS is what I really want to leave. I need to grow up.

There was a time when this heavy drama was a larger part of my life and experience, but I knew at that moment that I didn’t want it any more. The “friend” who I apologized to wasn’t a close one. We never really hung out together alone, we only saw each other at parties. I was indifferent about her boyfriend too. Really it was no sacrifice to apologize for the greater good.

I’m not especially proud of my behavior that night, but it illuminated to me what I really needed to change.

I needed to stop spending time or committing to be in places I don’t want to be- especially when my obligations are extending to people I don’t particularly feel close to. I’m not doing anyone any favors by showing up anyways- a party is best enjoyed by people who want to be there. I need to trust my instincts. I have never before been at a party where anyone has stolen money. If I had followed my intuition, I still would have never had that experience.

Endings beget endings.

I felt funny after that all went down. I started taking stock of my relationships. I had to evaluate who I felt close to and who I didn’t. It was a little sad to find out that my list of close friends in Montreal was shockingly small. But it was clear-as-day who they were, and who was not.

I learned a lot about myself through this process. How lazy had I been with friendships, and how lazy had I been with my time? How many times had I tried to create connections that clearly were not there? How many times had I tried to rekindle a friendship that had long died out? Was I willing to continue to live this way or would I make a change?

I’m thankful that a physical move has caused such a profound succession of endings within me. There has been some melancholy to it all- endings are sad in a way, even when you’ve instigated them. I find it still so interesting that once you start changing one aspect of your life- you kick up all kinds of buried issues. I never considered that my friendships and relationships required examination and yet, I’ve realized that the people you surround yourself with are reflections of who you are. I want to be a better person.

So maybe it’s time to put my Courtney Love circa 1996 costume away. There are different ways to be a rock star.