I just spent five days in Napa drinking copious amounts of wine with seven women I’ve known for twenty-eight years. No one ended up in jail. We didn’t get kicked out of anywhere. None of us hooked up with random men. Bunch of old boring bitches you might be thinking. To that I say: we aren’t old.
What happened in Napa was way more interesting than any of our twenty-year-old shenanigans ever was. Because we did something way more scary than getting in a bar fight or almost getting kicked out of the Waldorf Astoria at 3 in the morning (don’t judge). We got real. Getting real is terrifying. Cathartic but terrifying. That’s what happens after you drink for 120 hours straight. To be fair it was more like 88 hours because even we couldn’t figure out a way to drink pinot noir in our sleep.
It feels so freaking good to drop the Miss Perfect act. Keeping up my fabulous façade on Facebook is exhausting. And really there is no need to try to keep up appearances with women who held your hair back as you puked at the after prom party. They know every disaster boyfriend you’ve ever had. They’ve not only witnessed your terrible driving as a sixteen-year-old but they were probably in the car when you crashed it. In short they’ve seen all the lows you’d never post on Facebook. Ever.
All my ugly came out. What started as a tentative sharing of what I think of as the seedy underside of my life (marriage trouble, struggles with my kids, the deep ache of losing a friend to cancer) ended with a big weepy cry at about night three. And while I wasn’t the only weepy mess I won’t sell anyone out. Girl code.
These women gave me exactly what I needed. They listened. I mean really listened. They didn’t try to fix me, or shift uncomfortably in their seats, or change the subject. They shared their stories. They reminded me that I’m not alone. And when appropriate they made me laugh. Because laughter chases the fear away. It takes the power away from the problem and gives it back to you.
As glorious as Napa was what I remember years from now won’t be the fabulous vineyards (full of wine plants), or the fantastic food or, the incredible wine tasting. It will be the magical time I spent being authentic with some of the best women walking this planet.