June 17, 2015
Let me just begin by saying that before Saturday, my idea of throwing a party was to send out a mass text and invite a whole group of people to dumpster dive for just-expired chips outside a local factory. (I was in high school and following the lead of my friend Patrick who was a seasoned diver, but still. It was a good time. Don’t knock it ’til you know what it is to have a closet full of slighty-stale but completely free Cool Ranch Doritos. THANKS.)

And speaking of things that are COOL, one of the coolest things about the past few months has been seeing so many people come forward and share their talents and love to help bring something together. And what was extra humbling about that sudden flood of talent, time, and effort, is that it was for us. And there is something so pure and so human about people putting themselves and their efforts out there, as an expression of love to another human being with no thought of “what can I get from this” or “how crafty will this make me look” or “how will you thank me adequately” but really just giving to celebrate and share with others.

My friend Eliza gets married this week, and besides having a rad name, she is a rad friend. If anyone deserves celebrating, it is her. Ours is a story of fated friendship love. DESTINY, people. We found out we were both serving missions in Minnesota, with the exact same departure date, on a sister missionary Facebook group a few years ago. We then proceeded to meet up and become temple friends. And then best friends. And then a few months later, we were both early to the MTC and terrified until we saw each other and put our luggage under the same bunkbed and hugged like the world was going to end. We served our whole missions around each other, and now, we’re moving into this next phase of life the same summer. It’s one of those things where I’m like, I GET IT, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FRIENDS FOREVER. And I’m not mad about it.

So, inspired by the kindness and talents of my mama, sisters and sisters-in-law, who plan parties and craft like it is as natural as breathing, I decided to crawl out of my metaphorical comfort zone dumpster, and throw a REAL PARTY for the first time in my life. (But of course, there were still chips.)

IT WAS A BACHELORETTE FIESTA. Because something about Mexican food and the summer time just soothes my soul.

And even though it was kind of a sprint all day Saturday to get things together, the actual party was so fun, and so simply rewarding.

People who genuinely love Eliza came and were so happy to just join together in love, time, and celebration. And the outcome made all the hours of preparation and effort and risk factor of crafting in public worth it. I was smiling about it the rest of the day.

And it made me think.

My friend McCall, who is all kinds of brilliant and knowledgeable, taught me one day about the importance of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is individual perceived ability. Basically, it’s how much we believe or trust in ourselves and our ability to DO things. And sometimes, it’s the best thing we can do for that little voice that says, you can or you can’t, to throw a wrench in and add a little risk factor. Do something new. Go beyond yourself. Attempt, for craps sake!

In the spirit of fiesta, I’m going to call these little risks “ay yi yi’s.” Because that’s how they make you feel at first glance. AY YI YIIIIIIIIIII can’t throw a party or craft thingssss. But when you look back on YOUR figurative fiesta (the intimidating thing you thought you couldn’t do, but you did) maybe you also want to say that – this time in victory. AY YI YIIIII DID THAT. And it brought people together. It added a little more good to the world.

Now, I’m not somehow implying that we all run out and throw parties to feel good about ourselves or bring the world together. I’m just asserting that there is a simple and bald truth, ageless and universal, that doing something worthwhile and beautifully uncomfortable, most especially when it is for someone else, is soul-stretching and so important to experiencing life.

We all need a little ay yi yi in our lives. We all need a little bravery and a little gumption to try something new or out of our element. THAT, is the life experience.

So how are you going to add spice and ay yi yi to your week?

(Besides make those toquitos because they are literally all things good in life wrapped in a tortilla.)

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