I consider myself inordinately lucky to have my friends. I have little pockets scattered everywhere and it is pretty much ace. I have a unique history with them all, and it’s so special to me.
I grew up in a world of competitive female relationships that was so detrimental to my mental wellbeing. I was suspicious, paranoid and even possessive of anyone who I formed a friendship with, thinking that they would find someone more exciting, more intelligent and more useful to them. And then, I would be cast aside like a worn out toy, forgotten about when the shiny new friendship took hold. My reaction to this was to build a barrier and force them away first – why should I be the one that gets hurt?
It wasn’t until I went to university that I started to realise it didn’t have to be that way. These girls who kept inviting me to see them possibly wanted to spend time with me and didn’t just want something from me. With their perseverance, I let my guard down and realised how amazing having girlfriends can be.
It’s taken me to the grand old age of 31 to understand that the best way to empower myself as a woman is to surround myself with strong and powerful women.
Take the one who will send me a link to an article entitled ‘Every British Swear Word Ranked In Order of Offensiveness’, because of our mutual adoration of potty-mouthed vernacular. She’s one of the busiest people I know yet will always have time to sit and quote bad 90’s movies with me.
Then there’s the one who I just need send a picture of the Whitney Houston Greatest Hits album cover on Spotify and she knows that right there and then I am caterwauling my heart out on my own in the bathroom. She’s renovating a house, and navigating a high-flying career in the public sector. But she still offered to come emergency shopping with me whenever I was free because my rota is so all over the place.
Also, there’s the one who shares my need for big hair. The one who understands HMcFP whose friendship I can’t put into words, negotiating time differences just to pour our hearts out to each other. The group of gals who know how funny one of us in a leprechaun outfit is, the gaggle who love a chicken dance at a wedding.
None of the above will mean anything to anyone, but it all means something to me.
These are snippets of my life that stick in my head. I am not the most sociable of people and for most of my working life I have worked in contrast to my friends. Yet they stick around despite the bumps in confidence in both myself and our friendships that I’ve had along the way.
And with that in mind, I want to say to you today – treasure your tribe! It’s taken me to the grand old age of 31 to understand that the best way to empower myself as a woman is to surround myself with strong and powerful women. And what beautiful surroundings they are.