Today is that day when we are supposed to celebrate being a female and having all of our female friends. Yay, girl power! Or something like that. My feed may be filled with all kinds of girls doing their silly poses on social media. You know the ones that I’m talking about. Women huddled with their heads close together as they share in a cup of coffee, wine, and laugh as they tell their intimate secrets to each other.
Excuse me for a moment while I throw up in my mouth a little bit.
I do not begrudge anyone who truly has friends with their girlfriends like this. If you really do, then great. I have just never found my friendships with women to be like this. Then again, I also tend to get along much better with men. And that can cause problems with some of my more insecure female friends. But I digress.
I do not have a “squad” or a core group of girlfriends who all rally together for various occasions. I’ve tried doing that over my life and find that it isn’t really great as far as friendships are concerned. Within these groups, there are always divides and women talking shit behind each other’s backs. So how are you all such good friends again?
Instead, I have found that individual friendships with particular women end up being stronger and longer lasting. We may have met in groups. We may hang out in groups. But it is those individual relationships that truly make having a girlfriend worthwhile.
So shoutouts to some of the girlfriends in my life.
There’s the one that I met when I was barely in preschool who still calls me her first friend ever. Our families became tight after we became friends and we spent many holidays together. We briefly lost touch for a few years, but then MySpace came around and I found her again. When my mother passed away last year, she is the one who housed me in the spare room in the basement for over a week while I mourned and worked on funeral plans with my family and was still recovering from a week-long hospital stay.
There’s another one I met early in those preschool/kindergarten years, whom I remember best from elementary school. We shared a love of all things reading and appreciated each other’s strange quirks. We did things together that we would never allow our children to even think of doing. And again, thanks to the internet, we are still in contact and saw each other a couple of years ago when we were both in our hometown for the holidays.
Or how about the one whom I met when she was subbing in the classroom next door? A few years later, she ended up taking over the classroom. She always said that I was the only one who ever cared to get to know her and help her out, in either capacity. I made her feel welcome. We got to know each other really well and bounced a lot of ideas off of each other. But more than a work best friend, she is the one who truly is my best friend. She has put up with more shit from me than anyone else I know, and yet will still be right there for a phone call when times get rough. And vice versa. You don’t find a soul sister like that very often.
And then of course the one I met in high school who barely spoke to me until we ended up going to college together. We travel the country going to Pearl Jam concerts together. She even drove over two hours one way one morning, just to be there for me at my father’s funeral. And when my mom died on the day of the first of two Pearl Jam shows we were supposed to be attending together, she recorded clips of the special songs and sent them to me, so that I could still be there in spirit.
Or how about the one who has sort of known me for a few years. We’ve only recently started hanging out more, now that we realize how much we actually have in common, particularly a great dislike for the usual female drama, and including a love for the darker side of life, without being dark individuals. She has a heart of gold and made sure that I had one of the best birthday weeks ever. She is another one who will not hesitate to help out a friend in need.
And then the online girlfriends that I have had for over 10 years, since we all joined a secret FB group while we were all working for the same website. Some of those women I know as well as anyone I have met in real life. Sometimes I forget that I haven’t yet met them in real life. A few of them, I have managed to meet in real life. They allow for the conversation to get real and offer blatantly honest advice for anything life throws your way.
My girls who work at the neighborhood pubs and restaurants have slowly become kindred spirits. We have a tightly knit community in my neighborhood. A lot of them live here, but a few of them do not. We share a love for our ‘hood and appreciate the familiarity. There’s a reason that show Cheers existed, and it’s replicated in many of the locally owned places in my neighborhood. Granted, I mostly see these women when I am in their venues, but we also look out for each other and even do things outside of those places when schedules allow. I know every one of them has my back.
And thank you Facebook for getting me back in touch with so many people from high school. I know that a lot of people want to forget their high school days. I had my various groups of girlfriends back then. Everyone was part of some kind of a clique. But I also had a few of those more individual relationships with some of the girls in the other cliques. Now that we are so far past those awkward teenage days and have kept in touch with each other online, we are almost closer now than we ever were way back then. A few of them, in particular, bent over backwards last year to help me out when Mom was in hospice and dying.
And then there are the ones that I met while I was teaching, and bonded with over their kids. Some of them are still in contact with me. I have met their families and friends, and the group has just expanded. Some of them even now consider me a part of their families. And their kids look up to me as the cool auntie.
I am sure that I could go on and on, demonstrating some of these individual relationships that I have made with some of my girlfriends over the years. I just don’t have the time and the space. But I do appreciate every one of them as an individual and not part of some group. Even ones with whom I am no longer in contact have often held a special place in my life at some crucial point. I acknowledge that relationships come and go over time and try to appreciate each one while it is serving its purpose.
So that is my tribute for #NationalGirlfriendsDay. I’ll even be going out with a couple of them later this evening to enjoy some live music and food. How will you be celebrating?