Full disclosure: This post is the result of facebook stalking at work. So there, I said it. Weird sadness/nostalgia feelings, displayed without shame (mostly.) I’d like to talk about my friends. Specifically, my girlfriends. (Disclaimer: despite the focus of this post being female friendships, all your friends are important regardless of gender and you should cherish everyone for what that unique soul brings to your life. Duh.)
I have some amazing friends. My lady friends are die hard homies, and I would give everything I have and more to any of them. I have friends who let me cry, friends to watch documentaries with, friends to watch bad dance movies with, friends to by shots for, friends who let me blog about their super overwhelming life changes using funny gifs, friends who help me edit books I write, friends who live just across the bridge and friends who live further south on I-95, friends to drink coffee with and friends to cuddle with and friends to dance with. The love in my life that filters through these incredible women is immeasurable. It’s one of my most valuable possessions.
Female friendships can be hard. They get a bad rep. Often, girls are taught to compete with each other for attention, to distrust each other, to focus on sexual/romantic relationships. Backstabbing bitches are typical fodder for comedy and movies, and cat fights continue to have a strange, sexual voyeurism-y appeal. Indeed, many girls I know will say they ‘like hanging out with guys better’ and feel like they are better at having guy friends. This is akin to sweeping claims made about not be attracted to a specific race or physical type, which smacks of deeply ingrained prejudice. With all these images and ideas stacked up against us, it’s amazing that women are ever able to develop and maintain lasting, worthwhile bonds.
But not everyone is a good friend, and I have experienced the kinds of betrayal that are all too familiar cultural stereotypes. I’ve lost friends along the way, long ago and all too recently, who I thought I would know and love forever. Some of those losses are harder than others. Sometimes I feel nostalgia for times long gone, for the girl I was before I learned some of life’s hardest lessons. And it takes my breath away how easily I can recall the details of a scene and the features of a face. It’s shocking how long memories can live in your body, how resilient the ghosts of your past can be, how it all finds a way to haunt your dreams. Even people that I am far removed from, people I longer can claim to know, people who I haven’t forgiven… even these people I remember, and it’s the memory that is still sad. Because the loss taints the memory, and now those off-color images will never be the same.
Anyway, a brilliant and beautiful friend I am still lucky enough to have in my life after more than a decade since we met was lovely enough to tell me that these kinds of feelings are ok to have, that it’s ok to still be sad. I am immeasurably grateful for that reassurance. And really, this is a love letter to her and to all my besties. In a world that discourages girls to be unique and vocal and strong, and tries to thwart our bonds, we’ve held tight and been there through the muck and the moves and the men and the memories and the motions of the everyday and extraordinary moments. The ladies in my life right now encourage me, forgive me, and help me remember who I am and who I was and who I’m trying to be. They are a major reason why it’s not quite so often as it once was that I wish for that by gone time of innocence and unknowing. Knowing their secrets and hopes and fears and blooper-reel-worthy moments is more than enough for me to want to stay here, in this time and place. With their help, I’m pretty hopeful I’m gonna get to wherever it is I’m trying to go. And hopefully the feeling is mutual. Cherish your core friends, no matter their gender, cause friends = family. Enough sentimental-ness, enjoy this silly gif and text your bestie that you love them.
Oh, and Happy 75th Post!!