I went to a ball last night to celebrate the 125th birthday of my old school- the one my triplet girls go to now. It was a fancy, black tie affair and much anticipated by the school community.
I fully intended to write a blog post about all the pretension and pomp. I was going to hoe into some snobbery and sequins and stuck up noses and girls who can’t walk in stilettos.
But do you know what?
There was NONE of that! And my new high heels from Nine West didn’t even hurt! I didn’t have to do a barefooted walk to the taxi with shoes in hand and I didn’t have to look anyone up and down and judge them for being stuck up and private school-like. (says me- who went to the same school).
So what DID I get from it all? What made it such a great and memorable night?
I went to the same school from grade 1 to year 12 (matriculation) and it wasn’t until last night that I realised just how many friends, acquaintances and ties I had with the school and its people.
Generally and as an HSP (highly sensitive person), I shudder at the thought of frocking up to sit in a huge room with hundreds of other frocks, alternate meal placements, a loud band and speeches. But in this huge room, overlooking Adelaide Oval and the fireworks of the OzAsia Festival I simply felt comfort. I also felt frocked up in sequins, low stilettos and pumped up hair.
It was a comfort of belonging. As a family we are now connected to this school rich in history and rich in community.
Sure- there are things that as a parent I don’t totally ‘gel’ with and there are good changes and bad. But essentially, the school and its community spirit remain the same.
I spoke with old friends and new. I caught up with some of my old teachers who now teach my girls. One old teacher, now retired, remembered my name even though I wasn’t one of the cool girls at school. He liked all the cool girls.
I saw my old P.E teacher who helped me when I broke my arm in grade 4. She’s a mayor now. I saw the school maintenance boys in tuxedos and teachers relaxed. I saw some of my clients not wearing active wear and I did the back of a dress up in the loos for a girl I’d never met. But it didn’t matter. We were all there as kin.
We were all there for our children. That was the connection. We weren’t posting on our stories, snap chatting or making TikToks- although I could have absolutely rocked one by the end of the night.
As parents we felt connected and valued in a community which listens and nurtures our daughters.
In the tech age of social media, we might forget that a basic human need is one of belonging. We still need these valuable interpersonal relationships to survive and remain healthy.
It wasn’t until I was in that big, loud room -well next to the gin bar actually, that I realised just how important and influential these community ties and comfortable shoes really are.
We all talked, laughed, reminisced and danced. It didn’t matter how many virtual likes we had, what was on our selective and self-made stories or how many streaks we had going.
It didn’t matter who was wearing what, who was saying what to who or who was or wasn’t invited. It didn’t matter whether you went to the school as an old scholar, how long you were there for or what year your daughter was in.
No one cared what you did for a living, where you lived or which table you were on.
If we break this right down to the basics it comes to this.
No matter how long ago or what age you were or where you come from, we ALL need connections. Personal, genuine, valuable connections. We all affect each other.
For long lasting health and survival, we need to belong. We need to feel heard and loved.
Sequins are optional.
Where do you feel comfortable? Who with?