lady love

This weekend I took a trip to Nashville with my best lady friend Sarah. It was a sweet soulful experience with one woman who continues to inspire me to be a better human. I was reminded of how important female friendship is, how it shouldn’t be taken for granted, and how it has come to mean more to me now even as I walk toward marriage.

I used to be one of those girls who said she was a guy’s girl. A girl that responded to her lack of girlfriends with the classic “I just get along with guys better; less drama.” I wish I could go back to that girl and show her what I know now. I'd show her how beautiful true woman friendship can be when your emotions are validated.

Through bits of high school and college I sought solace in the attention of men. Their carefree cool attracted my desire to go with the flow. But I quickly learned I would never be carefree, always careful. I would never go with the flow, but swim against the stream. And that was ok. It was the women in my life that told me so.

Lady love and the connectedness of our gender,  has been the most influential source of support in my life. And without it, I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today, someone I like pretty damn well.

My first experience with lady love comes from my mother. I don’t think I appreciated her nurturing spirit until later on in life, but I certainly benefited from it since I was a child. I knew her embrace, warm and filled with truth, was a place of respite from school or any other socially taxing environment. My sisters too have shown me what it feels like to possess feminine power. Though we fought as kids, I always felt fiercely protective of them, willing to go to great lengths to keep them safe and happy.

My middle school girlfriends showed me the definition of non-familial lady love, defending me from the hurtful remarks about my boyish looks and quirky interests. Today they still love and defend me, for that I am thankful.

In college I gravitated to Sarah for her unabashed self awareness and unprecedented caring soul. Sarah was the first person to encourage me to dive head first into my mental health. She has been a champion of my well-being, gently coaxing me to care for myself as much as others cared about me. She is a gold star of a woman, my Pietà.

Post college I’ve met my fair share of strong, motherly figures with whom I can align and realign my heart.  It is something I have come to value as an intrinsic part of my relationships.

I told myself I would never be the one to have a parade of bridesmaids in front of me when I got married.  I was the cool girl who nonchalantly pushed away my best friends in times of hurt and realignment. But here I am, shopping for gowns for nine women who have been there for me in more ways I can count since I was in elementary school.

So cheers to the girls, the ladies, the womyn, the chicks, the female identifying folks. You have value. 

For Mama, Lily, Anna, Emily, Julie, Jenny, Meghan, Grace, Kayla, Katelyn, Berkley, Anna, Emmie, Mallory, Sarah, Abby, Sarah, Lena, Macy, Mazie, Katherine, Lauren, Olivia, Kathy, Beth, Rita, Rose, Michelle, Tricia, Jami, Mary, Sharon, Rachel, Angie, Mary Kate, Criston, Marlena and all the other beautiful, strong, invaluable women in my life.