A year ago I opened my mouth on Twitter and opened myself up to an amazing opportunity in which I organized a house party with Amanda Palmer. I spent a year imagining how it could go, and honestly every dream, every imagining I had was blown out of the water by what did happen.
I offered to organize a house party as a backer reward for Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter. It’s amazing what happens when you say yes. Fifty strangers offered me up money, with no guarantee that I wasn’t a psycho going to run off with their cash. One of them offered up her house. We came together, brought food, brought drink and made something magical happen. We were strangers, loosely bound together by the fact of being in roughly the same geographical area and being fans of AFP. Using social media we were able to connect, people who may never have connected in this way.. we connected, unsure of the end result but willing to give it a chance. It was an act of trust, of faith in humanity – which I wrote about how doing this restored mine. We’re a community, unbound by geographic restrictions.
The day of Amanda texted me, stuck in traffic – this non Portlander will never again forget that the Seattle-Portland corridor gets massively backed up every afternoon and will warn every person who tries to make the drive. We texted back and forth for a while, talking about traffic and that night. But mostly how that week had been a tough one, and well, regardless of what had been happening, I was confident there would be a lot of love and friendship waiting in the party house. I didn’t really know how right I was. I had hoped… but really, I’ve never felt so connected to people I’ve just met.
Amanda arrived, walking around the corner of the house to the backyard. A silence dropped. I got up from my seat and ran over to her, I’d promised a massive hug. There was a moment, a hug, a kiss, a thank you. A moment where all that mattered was, we’re here, we’ll make things okay, celebrate life, embrace the shit. A hug. A kiss. A thank you.
You don’t realize how powerful eye contact is, how powerful touch is, how powerful simple words are until you find them (almost) missing from your life. Researchers say you need 8 meaningful touches a day to maintain emotional and physical health. I’ve counted days where I never touched another person. Every hug I got that day, every kiss, every moment of eye contact was a salve on my psyche and my soul. These strangers, many now friends, created this bubble of trust and happiness. I think for everyone. I don’t think I’m the only one who can say that last night changed me.
Amanda sang, and we sang with her, she read from Neil’s new book, we ate and drank, we played Mafia/Werewolf. I cried. I had too many feelings. I think mostly I cried because I was so fucking happy at what we had created. Fifty-odd people cuddled into a den, the only light a lava lamp. Singing sad songs, listening to Amanda sing. All. the. feels.
I got to have them because I trusted the people I was around. It was okay. People I’d only just met gave me their hands, led me their strength. We felt a gamut of emotions, collectively breathing in something bigger than ourselves.
Early on in the night I got to talk about social media, and how it really is just a tool, no more, no less than the people who use it. How I wrote a portion of my master’s thesis on studying how she did things. The thesis that landed me my job. Getting to hear Amanda tell me that I got it, that I understood was an amazing validation. Fighting the good fight got a little easier. Comrades.
I know I missed moments of brilliance shared between others. I couldn’t be everywhere. I hope everyone went home a little bit healed, a little bit happier, a new friend made. I made friends with another dancer. I sat on the floor with Amanda while we got back massages from some lovely people. A moment of release and contentment. I was told I was gorgeous by a lovely girl. I got to hug people. My friend and I were able to give someone a couch to crash on. Many made a concerted effort to take me aside, look me in the eye and thank me for organizing this. I don’t think I could ever really say how much that night could have been different if they hadn’t been there. If they hadn’t been willing to be a part of it. It was our party. I may have orchestrated a few things, but everyone there made it what it was. So if you’re reading this: thank you.
Last year I wrote: Sometime next year I’ll be hanging out with some new friends and our favorite musician, enjoying life because we all took the chance to trust a stranger and make magic happen. I don’t think I knew how right I’d be. We made magic happen.