Dear Chris (any age),
Your girlfriends are some of your greatest gifts.
Today I got to spend some time with two ladies I adore. One who I’ve never actually had one on one time with before and one who moved away over a year ago and who I miss dearly.
I have had so many amazing women come and go throughout my life that it would take me a whole day to list them…and I’d probably miss some people I didn’t mean to. I’m grateful to be a woman who’s always gotten along with women. So many don’t. I’ve heard countless stories of women who only really feel comfortable being friends with men because they’ve been so injured by other females in the past. You can spot them pretty easily. Hesitant to bond, pushing you away, turning to the men in the group instead of the women, believing they will only be rejected. And the catch-22 of it is that that is what so often happens.
The truth is that we can be catty and judgmental, and man do we know how to hold a grudge. We can feel possessive of those who were our friends first. We find out that another is interested in the same man we are and we cringe.
I’m not sure why it’s so easy for us to injure each other. Why we so easily get gossipy or bitter towards someone we adored two weeks ago. Why we get jealous. In my experience, I don’t do that to men. I have so much more grace for them.
I don’t know why these things are true.
I don’t know why we have a natural competitiveness or why we compare ourselves to each other so often. Why we worry about who’s prettier or skinnier or think that the taller girl or the shorter girl has it better than the other. We always want the things we can’t have.
Until we learn not to.
Until amazing women come along that make us feel loved and accepted no matter our stories or our body types or our height or our marital status.
The only way to true relationship is through vulnerability and that’s awfully difficult for women who have been vulnerable and have had their stories used against them.
I guess that might be why I write the way I do or why I’m willing to tell people (almost) anything. I didn’t always know how to be vulnerable because I was very self-protective. I had a dear college friend once tell me that she hardly remembered when we had first met because it took her so long to really feel like she knew me. At some point, though, I learned that if I’m willing to share my story, it opens up the way for other women to do the same. And other women have done that for me.
I’m so very thankful to have avoided being majorly hurt in female friendships. I’m so very thankful to have women from as far back as my early teens that I could call and have deep meaningful conversations with. I have female friends all across this country and all around the world that would be there in my moment of need in any way they could.
I recognize that as a gift.
Ladies – I hope you know who you are. Thank you for loving me when I mess up as well as when I soar. You have taught me the value of humility and vulnerability and relationship. I’m so very thankful for each and every one of you.
For anyone who might read this and think – Hogwash! Let me tell you about Chris… – I apologize for whatever I may have done to make you feel that way. Let’s work it out.
And for any of you who might be reading this who don’t know what it means to have women who are in your corner, I can’t promise that we’ll adore each other…because who really knows what makes us click and what doesn’t…but let’s get coffee. I’ll be nice and I’ll tell you my stories and you can tell me yours.