Thursday, June 29, 2006

I remember my first real party... know the kind I mean, the kind with--*drum roll*--alcohol? As a teenager, I was fairly clean-cut. I did what my Mom and Dad said, for the most part. Once when I was 14 I had a few drinks from a friend's beer bottle at a school dance, but other than that....clean.

In Grade 12, we moved to a new town even smaller than the one we had been living in for two years. The kids at the school were nice enough, but they had known each other since Grade 1, and I was definitely the outsider. One day, Shirley asked me if I wanted to come to her place for a party Friday night, beer and barbecue. I couldn't believe she had even asked me...she knew I was the preacher's daughter! I lamely said I'd ask my mom, never expecting her to say yes.

I asked my mom straight out, with no pleading or "I'll be good!" She looked at me and smiled and said, "Go ahead, honey. Sounds like fun." Was this trust? Yes, it most definitely was! There was no lecture, no warnings about the evils of alcohol...just trust.

So I went to the party. There were only 33 kids in my class, including me, so almost everyone was there. Most of them were drinking beer. I remember one of the guys standing at the barbecue pouring beer over his steak, something I had never seen done before. Someone asked me if I wanted a beer. I said no thanks, but is there any soda pop? Sure, in the fridge, help yourself. I think I had half-expected to be mocked and ridiculed for turning down the beer, but nobody even noticed.

I remember "White Wedding" howling through the speakers and all of us singing along with Billy Idol.

I didn't stay really late, but I had fun. I felt like a bridge had been crossed, like I had hung out on alien turf and been accepted as I was. Perhaps it didn't dawn on me then, but I had also accepted these other kids as they were, without expecting them to clean up and come to church or youth group or Bible study. It sure made a difference in how I was treated at school...not quite as much of an outsider, a little bit more like someone who belonged.

I hope I remember to trust my daughter when she wants to walk on alien turf. It's a good place to learn about people, a good place to learn about yourself, hanging out with the "aliens". You realize there really isn't any difference at all, to speak of.


Commenter said...

I hope you can trust your daughter too. My mom must trust me too, because she lets me go to parties without a curfew most of the time. I never get drunk at them, and I honestly think that if I had been sheltered from it, I would probably drink at all of them.
That's cool nobody judged you for not drinking... people always ask me why I don't.

Kim said...

That is really cool and trusting. I wonder if my parents would have trusted me that much when I was younger. I mean, after I became an adult, they never thought of controlling my life, but when I was in High School...? I was never invited to parties in High School, so I really don't know.

Even after reading that post where you finally gave up on God, I still have a hard time acquainting young "good" Paula to "rebel" Paula to now Paula (which just sound like a lot of Paulas). And yet, very cooly, each experience you had, for good or bad built your life and who you have become. I'm glad you're you and I'll leave it at that.

Belladonna said...

I read this story and thought of the posting about kids striving for popularity that's over on Papa Herman's blog. This one was a very nice contrast. Wish more kids could learn to accept themselves and those around them instead of feeling so driven to do all they can to gain approval of the A crowd.

At my first drinking party I poured half my beer into a potted plant. I thought it tasted horribly nasty but I was too hungry for acceptance to admit that I did not usually drink. Wish I'd had more sense. (for that night and a whole lot of other stupidities of youth).

Thank God for repentence, and so glad those days are done.

RC said...

isn't it interesting how you rarely get ridiculed for saying no?

My experience was similar.

But there was no soda pop and it was my 1st couple weeks of college...

so i drank nothing & no one cared.

--RC of

Amber said...

It bothered me when my high school aged friends got into drinking. A mixture of concern and judgement I'm sure. Now I enjoy an occasional beer, and other assorted beverages. As long as drinking and driving / alchaholism aren't factors. Sometimes sensitivity with situations, and certain individuals also come up too. But I haven't encountered that too often.

papa herman said...

i sometimes think back to the party i was invited to when i was in jr. high but did not go to because i did not feel like i belonged to the group that the person who invited me belonged to.

i did not step beyond my fears.

thank you for sharing what can happen when one steps beyond their comfort level.

Spoke said...

I was told as a teen, DON'T DO DRUGS. Drink was never really SPOKEn about. Dad said to get as much sex as I could...hmmmm. Being a family of the English, ale is a staple in (their) diet. My folks NEVER got drunk, yet drank nightly. They could never understand why people went overboard "in this country" (canada). Ale, cider etc. was meant to be enjoyed, not abused. (incidently, England is now plagued by a new thing...binge drinking. "officials" don't quite know what to do about it.)
However, in saying all of that, I drank to excess every chance I got "growing up". I beleive I did it simply because I liked it at the time. I'm from a good, loving, supportive, providing family. The moral compass was way off is all...