Adventures In Pity Partying


Today we will talk about pity parties. I have been the event planner for quite a few of these festivities, so I can talk about them with some expertise.

Okay, I’ll stop being modest and just and say it:  I am pretty much the Martha Stewart of pity parties

Here are some of my pity party planning tips:

1) Come depressed. Your goal should be to obsess about how crappy your life is, and to have your guests comfort you as you talk about how crappy your life is.

2) Be selective about who you invite. Don’t include people who will say things like “get over yourself”or “it’s time to move on.” They will ruin everything.

3) Wear the proper outfit. This usually includes glasses, pajamas, and rabbit slippers.

4) Plan your menu! I like to have potato chips as my appetizer, Ben and Jerry’s as the main course, and maybe another kind of Ben and Jerry’s for dessert. An assortment of deep fried foods works great for side dishes. If you want to get especially fancy, add garnishes of marshmallows and tootsie rolls.

5) Mood music is very important! I have a mix tape labeled Kate’s Songs That Allow Her To Wallow In The Depths Of Despair.

This tape contains such classics as:

“All By Myself”- made popular by our mentor,  Bridget Jones.

“Against All Odds”by Phil Collins- you cannot get a more apt song for a pity party than one that contains phrases like “How can you just walk away from me?” “Theres nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face,” and “I wish I could make you turn around, turn around and see me cry.” Classic.

“Baby Got Back: by Sir Mixalot- Wait, how did that get on here?

6) Plan some really fun games! My favorites are “Pin the Tail On the X-Boyfriend” and “The Pinata That Looks Remarkably Like Someone I Used To Kiss.”

7) Make sure to light lots of candles. If the pity party goes really well, you and your guests can burn love notes and pictures as the finale of your shindig.

8) If you want to provide party favors, I can hook you up with some nice pity party T-Shirts. I have soft gray ones that you can wear to bed, hot pink ones with sparkles for when you go out with the girls that come in sets of three, and light blue ones that have “Pity Party” written on them very subtly that are especially nice to wear to church. I also have pity party mugs and pity party signature kleenex.

Follow these tips, and you too can have a great (read: pathetic and soul draining) pity party!

In all seriousness, the reason I am such an expert in this area is that I have thrown many pity parties in this season. I am getting older. I don’t have a lot of years left to have biological children. It has been on my mind all the time, and my patient friends (including you, dear readers) have had to endure a lot of conversations about it. I have been walking around saying “how could this be my life?”

This week, the darkness of this season grew to a crescendo when my long time counselor challenged me to really examine what I would do if I never got married and didn’t have biological children. How would I go about rearranging my life if my only choice to have a child was to adopt? She also asked me if I thought that my life would be valuable if I never had a traditional family. It was almost impossible for me to say yes.

I have been devastated for days. At the same time, though, I am recognizing how much these thoughts have been consuming me lately. I haven’t been sleeping very well. My mind has been mulling over my difficult childhood, wondering if that contributed to people not falling in love with me. I have been bitter towards x-boyfriends for rejecting me. I have been doubting God’s goodness and even existence because he was not given this deep desire. In other words, I have been trying to blame anyone I can for my pain.

This difficult counseling session helped purge this deep sadness in me, and also made me realize that I am spiritually “hung over” and exhausted from the pity parties I have been throwing. I have had the mantra “denial and bitterness, denial and bitterness, denial and bitterness” pounding in my head, and it is stealing away my life.

So this week, I have tried to fill my mind with different thoughts. I have literally repeated the words: “acceptance and gratefulness, acceptance and gratefulness, acceptance and gratefulness” in order to replace the other hopeless words.

Someone asked me the other day “if you were to lose everything you haven’t been thankful for this month, what would you have left?” This really humbled me. I realized that I have been focusing so much on everything I don’t have, and missing what I do have.

I realize now that pity parties are okay every once in a while because they allow me  to express my pain, but  parties that celebrate my life are the ones I should throw on  a more regular basis.

17 thoughts on “Adventures In Pity Partying

  1. That’s awesome. How long do yours last? I prefer to draw mine out for weeks… 😉

    A friend and I were just talking about how much our own moods determine the states of our relationships. She has a boyfriend who’s off at some military training; the scarcity of contact drives her to say, “I have a relationship with myself. Sometimes I wake up in a good mood and we have a great future and sometimes I wake up so insecure and feel we’re fighting.” I thought it was a profound observation!

  2. Katie….I think you are awesome because you throw a tantrum at God….and then tell the world about it…..and then relate God’s goodness.

    I think I know most of your challenges with life…..and I love you because of your human-ness. HUman-ness mixed with true hope. LOVE IT!

    Plus, I am an ENFP, too, and it makes me feel less crazy.

  3. I think all you ENFPs are crazy. At least I can feel with you. But I love you dearly.

    Thanks for inviting us to your pity party. And though our lives intersect little, I must say that your life is INCREDIBLY valuable, even if you never have a traditional family. I can think of one very famous (and divine) man who didn’t, either.

    Does reading through 1 Cor 7 help, especially vs 38 and 40? It seems to me so amazing that Jesus has freed all of us from the ‘my life only matters if I pass on my DNA’ cycle that dominated all of history. (Okay, I’m stealing that from Tim Keller.) But then, I know that I’m emotionally not affected by the question the way you are, it’s easy for me to say! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  4. I know I am a guy, so people like to think we do not think or do not care or feel our own biological clock. Sure it is not exactly the same, but do I really want to have my kid going to college when I am 60 or 70?!? In the last few years I have kind of thought about and accepted the fact that if it takes much longer for me to find someone, I may have to adopt. the good thing is I have had friends who have been and known people who have adopted children for whatever reasons. All of these people seem fine and all are considered a family, only long true friends know they adopted or were adopted, to everyone else they are a family to one another, as it should be of course.

    I also see such bad parenting, through neglect or abuse, and feel like it would be such a great thing to adopt. I actually though once to myself that if I stay single much longer, I might want to adopt anyway, even if I dont meet anyone… but I know society is a lot more comfortable with a single female, rather than a single male adopting.

    p.s. – I dont go around sharing these thoughts to everyone, mainly my best friend known, not even my family. I dont think they really get how lonely a person feels when they are single and how much love they feel they have to give to another person, but it is all bundled up inside waiting for a spouse and/or children (Family of their own).

  5. Oops, Somehow I only read the first half of the post (the funny part). Just got through the 2nd part. What an insightful counselor you have! But you are pretty gosh darn insightful yourself girl! Way to start with the positive self-talk! So many singles feel the same feelings. Sometimes the Lord asks us to let go. And it doesn’t mean that once we officially “let go” that MR. Right will be right around the corner. (pat answer! bleh!) But it does mean that the Lord meets is in that painful place.
    Love you friend!

  6. I commend you for considering adoption, and I think you should seriously look into it (and you don’t have to adopt kids outside the US either). I personally don’t understand how a serious Christian could have their own kids in the first place, considering how desperate the world is for adoption. Look around! We’re in crisis mode! Orphans in other countries don’t have enough resources to survive, orphans in this country grow up to be just like their irresponsible parents and have more orphans. Jesus and the New Testament writers never encouraged child-bearing, but what they did encourage over and over is taking in the widows and orphans. I hope that doesn’t come off as harsh, and I know this is a lot harder of an issue for a woman than a man, but this life really isn’t about you and your happiness; it’s all about God’s glory and bringing Jesus to as many people as possible with our few years on Earth. 🙂

  7. I relate to way too much of your post to go through everything in detail. I admire you and am praying for you. And listening to sad FM for singles trying to have an anti-pity party of my own. And I’ll throw in praying for more compassion and less self-righteousness for the good man Miles above while I’m at it.

  8. I can’t remember the last time I had a pity party, I think part of that is simply coming to the realization that it will do you no good and the realization that ultimately all people want to be happy and sulking over past failures really gets in the way of that. interesting post 🙂

  9. Ugh, Kate I SO SO get what you are talking about. I turned 35 this year, but look like I’m in my early twenties (as I’m told). But inside, I am so terrified. It is awful. Fortunately the terror has not reduced me to “settling”. Quite honestly, I think I am perfectly capable of waking up one morning and deciding that I want to just be a single mom, going out and finding a willing biological father and doing the deed. And please dont reply with “adoption, because I also intend to adopt someday, but I don’t want to do it in addition to carrying a child. And adoption is not easy, cheap, a fun process, or a guarantee of success from what I have seen.

    Also, I’ve been on a huge health kick, am taking pro fertility supplements that I got at the healthfood store and did extensive internet-research on, and try to eat as much raw organic produce and juices, and wheatgrass shots as my budget allows. I’ve been trying to get enough sleep every night as well and keep my life low stress. I figure by doing this, I may even give myself another potentially fertile 10 years. A lot of this is me convincing myself to NOT be afraid and to NOT worry so that I won’t end up desperate and married to the wrong person.

    Oh, and one of my worst moments with this? Two years ago, when I was 33 and starting to really feel panicked about all this, I spoke with my mother about it. She recommended freezing my eggs! Totally innocent comment on her part, attempting to troubleshoot my life. It absolutely devastated me. I cried for days. So. Hard. To sum up the emotions I was experiencing, I was terrified that if my own mother, who has hope for ANYTHING for her kids, and who has faith that moves mountains in her prayers, would suggest that I freeze my eggs must surely mean my situation is absolutely HOPELESS. I recovered from all that, and the Lord gave me peace. Each month he has to do it over again, as going through my cycle every 3-4 weeks keeps it front and center in my brain. Sigh.

    I will say though, that the Lord has made promises to me and has given me a lot more peace than I had two years ago. But this is such a difficult thing for women, and probably some men!

  10. Kate thank you so much for expressing what so many of us are going through. Your words bring me hope and comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Plus you’re really funny!

    Acceptance and gratefulness, acceptance and gratefulness….

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