Some of my closest friends, to this day, are people I met during my childhood and (very awkward) teenage years. We saw each other through every high and low—from crushes and bullies to school drama and general teenage angst. And as our senior year of high school came to a close, we saw each other off to college as well. One of our biggest worries was whether we would be able to overcome the distance and other changes that were to come as we entered a new phase in our lives—hundreds of miles from home, and each other. I have no idea how I got so lucky to find the friends I did, but we handled the separation with ease. Despite the “new” lives we led at college, we returned home during holidays or summer breaks, and our friendships were just as we had left them.
I think female friendships get a bad rep sometimes, or they used to at least. People think girls are only capable of being catty or fake toward other girls, or undermining them at any chance. I’ve always hated those stereotypes though. The girls and women I have had the pleasure to meet and know in my life have been nothing but supportive and uplifting—even complete strangers! Go into the ladies’ room of any bar on a Friday night and you’re sure to find at least one woman fawning over another’s shoes or hair or dance moves. I stood in Penn Station once, waiting to meet friends for brunch, and a total stranger stopped to tell me how much she loved my dress. Women building other women up is a much better use of our time than tearing each other down.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
I am incredibly lucky that my first real friendship was with my older sister, and everything was uphill from there. I credit my ability to maintain my friendships over the years to the strong young women I share them with. They are strong and smart and spirited, and they always make me laugh. Because of them, I had the courage to step out of my comfort zone when I started college. It may have taken me some time, but if there were other people out there as kind and wonderful as my friends, I didn’t mind making a few new ones. During my time in college, both in New Hampshire and in Ireland, I found even more friendships with confident and compelling individuals who became more like sisters. I am proud of my sister-friends not only for who they are and what they’ve accomplished, but also because we’ve crushed the stereotypes that said we couldn’t be strong and confident and still treat each other well.
My friends are fierce and fiery and all-around fabulous. They lift me up, encourage me to take chances, and allow me to be my most honest and vulnerable self at any time. They’ve also helped me to be my best self. We’ve dreamed and traveled and laughed and grown incredibly together. We’ve sung karaoke duets, hiked mountains in sun and snow, watched Marvel marathons in pillow forts, wandered around city streets all night, eaten too much frozen yogurt, and stayed up all night for Gilmore Girls marathons. Of course we’ve had our share of fights, or had to lend our shoulders to cry on, but it’s only made all of the good times that much better.
There are few things in life as special to me the friendships—or rather the sisterhood—I’ve found with them. I am so honored to share my life with these women. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for having my back, ladies.