Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An Ode to My Girlfriends

Being a girl is tough. Not in a Mars vs. Venus way or a child-birthing way; not even in a "why can't I look like the models in a magazine way?". Being a girl, in the most general sense, is tough.

The worst thing for me is when why it's tough is classified. You know what classifications do? They create expectations; and unfortunately, often times with expectation comes great disappointment.
  • Pre-teen girls are the worst. Just wait until you get into high school and the drama should die down a little.
  • Teenage years are rough. Wait until you're in your twenties where you can truly discover who you are.
  • The twenties are so hard for women. You don't really understand where you fit in this world. Things will be much more clear in your thirties.
Seriously? Okay, I'm 31. My path is much more clear, yes, but I still have times where I feel like I just don't know how to deal. More classifications and standard answers as to what will fix me:
  • Grumpy? PMS only lasts a week.
  • Sad? This is just a season of change. It will pass.
  • Anxious? You should work out. 
  • I still care about what other people think? You should just let those things go and understand how beautiful you really are, inside and out.
Garbage. If I could just "let things go", don't you think I would have tried that back in my teens or twenties? And what happens if I'm grumpy or angry or sad and, God-forbid, I'm not PMSing or on my period??? What happens if I work out every day and I still feel anxious??? What happens when my mood is not because of some blanket reason and it's just because I'm feeling something that I can't understand? Enter: girlfriends.

It wasn't until my late twenties when I realized the importance of good girlfriends. It was an epiphany for me. My life was good for many reasons - amazing boyfriend, great job, fabulous home, loving family. But my life was better because of a handful of girls that I could call at any moment of any day to discuss any topic. If I didn't want a response, I wouldn't get one. If I didn't want advice, none was given. If I just needed a hug, or a dance party, or a glass of wine, they would provide it immediately. Most importantly, they never judged. Ever.

Being a girl is tough. Being a girl with my girlfriends around make it not as tough. For you ladies, I am forever grateful:

Amanda - Because of you, I know what the inside of a police station looks like, slept on the couch in a complete stranger's house, and don't remember New Year's Eve 2010. You were a horrible influence on my good girl status and helped me learn not to be so uptight. I admire everything that you are and everything that you have become. Our friendship only became stronger when you moved away and our phone calls instantly make me realize how truly blessed I am. The world is a better place because you're in it and my world would not be complete without you.

Jessica - We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, hung out with the same groups of people, but we never met. Our friendship was meant to start later in life when it wouldn't get overlooked in the trials of growing up. You share my love of booty-dancing and snack food, as well as the overprotective and unbreakable love of family. Seeing you interact with your dad, your brothers, your uncle and your grandparents has helped me strengthen the bonds I have with my own family, and I know you are an incredible role model to many out there (even though you would be too humble to ever see it yourself). I'm so happy meeting each other didn't get lost in the shuffle, because I plan on being involved in your life for a very long time.

Lauren - Our path started in the nursery but it took over 20 years for me to truly understand the value you have been to my life. You believe in love even though it hasn't been good to you, you persevere through the unknown even when you're scared, and there's a truth and vulnerability in what you speak that every woman should strive to own. You have been my voice of reason, my role model as a Godly woman, and I would still pick you over anyone else to back me up in a bar fight. I pray that God's plans for you will become clearer with each passing day, and I'm excited to be by your side as they unfold.

Megan - It was hard not seeing you like a little sister when we first met. You were going through things in career and love that I thought I had mastered and I felt like you could use my guidance. Once my ego got out of the way, I realized that I needed your friendship more than you needed my advice. You never let a situation get you down, instead confronting it head on and literally running right over it. You strive to be the best person you can possibly be and I admire your conviction. You are so comfortable in your own skin that it inspires me to see beauty in myself (and makes me realize it's okay to be the second whitest person on the beach.) I cannot wait to see where this incredible passion for life takes you and I am honored to get to be a part of it firsthand.

Tina - When we met, I thought we were so different that our friendship would remain strictly in the workplace. We bonded over the idiots in our lives - our coworkers at first; then our significant others; then we even got comfortable throwing our family members under the bus. I always knew my opinions were safe with you; no matter what was said as I was ranting, it was a fleeting moment and you never held my rants against me. While our friendship is now so much more than complaining about other people, you are the first one I call if I need to vent. You are the sweetest, most naive, ghetto rockstar I know and I trust you with everything.

And finally, Kim - You are my sister. You are my best friend. You have seen me at my best and loved me at my worst. I didn't always look up to you because I was jealous of your successes. I still wish I could have rocked the Sandy leather jacket, but I look at you now and all I feel is pride. The absolute hardest thing about moving to NJ was being farther away from you (even more than the boys) and I am still adjusting to not being able to see you every day if I need you. You are strong; you are honest; you are supportive; and you encompass everything that a little girl could ask for in a big sister and a big girl could ask for in a best friend.

It's so easy to express to my husband how much I love him. I am able to strive to show him this every day (though the grumpy days may be a little harder than others). It's much harder to let everyone else around you know how important they are to you without sounding cheeseball.

So ladies? I love you and when being a girl gets tough, don't you worry. I got your back.

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