Though I technically have one sister, who I am so lucky to have, I am also surrounded by a tribe of sisters, a sisterhood. I deeply value the company of these women whom I am privileged to call my friends. They are a varied bunch, an interesting mix of females who are not easily categorized. Some of them I have known since third grade, while others came into the fold about a year ago. Whether I met them recently or used to play with them at recess, they all add so much life to my life that I can’t imagine what living would be like without them. I am blessed to have a partner who has stuck by my side through the darkest of times, a man who I am lucky to call my best friend, but there’s nothing like being with the girls.
This morning I woke up to find a text on my phone from one of my girlfriends. We spent the day together yesterday, going to lunch and hanging out at her house before going to the yoga studio where she teaches an evening class. I woke up feeling a little out of sorts this morning, so it was uplifting to read her message: That was a fun evening! Thanks for joining me. You’re a great friend and I love you. My spirits were immediately buoyed by her taking the time to let me know her feelings. Though I felt and feel the same as my friend articulated in her text, it was a great reminder to be more forthcoming with my girlfriends about my love and appreciation for them. And to let them know just because, without there being a reason or an occasion.
Yesterday morning I was surprised and delighted to get a phone call from a girlfriend who moved to Alaska last year. We are in the unique position of being able to keep track of one another’s lives via our blogs, as we are both writers who have decided to share our experiences, but there’s nothing like hearing someone’s actual voice on the phone. As we caught each other up, I imagined her walking through the woods as I sat on my patio in California. Though she was so very far away, hearing her voice created a feeling of closeness that I have missed with her being gone. I pictured her face as she laughed through the phone and could see her mischievous eyes and long blond hair.
My Alaska girlfriend is an inspiration to me, having thrown caution to the wind to move to an unfamiliar place in order to follow her heart. Right before she moved we had become closer than ever, really getting to know each other and revealing sides of ourselves that not many people see. I was heartbroken when she moved but also excited for her to embark on the journey of a lifetime. She is vivacious, brave, hilarious, and inconceivably beautiful. She’s one of those rare people who is as beautiful, if not more so, on the inside than she is on the outside. And I get to call her my friend! I know that we became closer because I truly allowed her in, because our burgeoning friendship occurred around the same time I decided to give up alcohol. I am grateful that she came into my life when she did.
Throughout the day yesterday I was also part of a group-text with two of my forever friends, my sisters who I’ve known since the third and fifth grades. Though we’re busy and don’t often have the time to see one another in person, we’ve unconsciously made up for this by keeping a continuous dialogue going via our phones. It’s funny because I often rue the day cellphones were invented; I so often see people together, in the flesh, but staring into their phone screens instead of interacting face-to-face. But I value being able to keep in touch with friends who are far away or who are busy. We share random information, photos, quotes, whatever pops up along the way that we think the others might find funny or enlightening somehow. It keeps us close when physical closeness isn’t possible.
I am grateful for my girlfriends because they let me be who I am, because they are supportive and beautiful and funny, and because they allow me to know them and be a part of their lives. They constantly astound me with their badassery, fearlessness, openness, kindness, love, curiosity, ambition; I could go on forever. They are unafraid to make their hopes and dreams come true, to keep fighting and striving when plans fall through, to ask questions and examine the “truths” of the world, to dance and sing like no one’s watching. I am constantly inspired by their collective fortitude, by their willingness to face their fears head-on and in turn help me face mine. There’s nothing they can’t do and that helps me remember that I can accomplish what I wish for myself, too.
It saddens me that so many women don’t value these kinds of relationships; yes, the relationships with our significant others are important, but friendships are forever. The mentality of competition — for men, for jobs, for perfection — amongst women is an outdated construct that needs to be dismantled. There’s plenty to go around, and fighting over men isn’t something women even do. We have more important shit to worry about, like if we’re on the right path, if we’re making a difference, if we’re following our passions. The relationships we have with other women are important because they give us the space to be ourselves. They give us the inspiration to realize our dreams and support other women in realizing theirs.
There’s strength in numbers, and I speak from experience when I say that when your girlfriends have your back, it’s like the world has your back. All any of needs is support, love, and the faith of those who love us. Faith in ourselves is paramount, but it is undoubtedly fortified by the faith of those who know us best. I would not be where I am today, right now, without that faith. So I thank each and every one of my sisters, and I hope that you have a sister or two in your corner to help you achieve the life you wish to see.
I wish you a wild, free life.