I’ve been casually writing this list in my brain for months. At one point I was planning to post it back in March during Women’s History Month, but because I’m me that definitely didn’t happen.
SO – August it is!
I wholeheartedly believe that female friendships are the most important and meaningful relationships of my life. In modern discourse it’s easy (and lazy) to categorize females as catty and competitive and perpetually pitted against one another. There’s enough room for everyone at the table. I’d be lying if I said that sometimes they are just that. But, more often than not – these relationships are encouraging and deep and long-lasting. And they deserve to be celebrated.
When I attempt to define myself, it’s impossible to do so without acknowledging all of the women who have impacted me and nourished me and held my hand and steadfastly been my biggest cheerleaders.
The Strong Female Role Models Every Gal Needs In Her Babe Crew :
Your Ride or Die: (Do the youth still say that? If not, has it been long enough for me to be able to say it’s a cool and vintage phrase?) I’ve known Deidre since we were 10 or 11. Which, when I stop to wrap my brain around it, is amazing. 16ish years of friendship. Over half of our lives. We’ve been through basketball try outs and spring musical auditions and oodles of AP classes and backyard camping trips and faux-Top Model photo shoots and school night concerts and purple hair dye and unicorn club and college boba dates in Gwinnett because it was kinda-almost-ish a halfway point between Oglethorpe and Brenau and one time I dropped a staple gun on her head and it made the most godawful sound so I know it hurt something fierce but I’m still alive to tell the story. Her family has become my family. I’m so very grateful for this friendship because she knew me before I became a fully formed person. Growing up and fumbling blindly into becoming who you were meant to be is terrifying and daunting and Really. Hard. But having someone to go through it with you and go “Hey. Is this normal?” is so helpful.
Honestly, any one who knew you when you had braces and questionable pistachio green Chucks is a forever friend. Deidre reminds me of how far we have both come, from our humble Bumble roots. (Note to self: Humble Bumble would be a great band name). She is my favorite foodie date. And my most trusted fashion advisor. She doesn’t talk about her feelings often and I am forever writing run-on sentences and flowery love letters to the people in my life. She shows her love in other ways though. And I’m so grateful to have a friendship that has been a consistent backbone of most of my life and endured through everything.
As an addendum, lemme praise her mama. Deidre’s mama is the most welcoming person I know. She taught me everything I needed to know about being a warm and loving host and a lot about being a genuinely good person. Nights spent at the Chateau are some of my favorite memories. I am so lucky and grateful to have her as my Magic Mom. The older I am, the more I value friends that have become family.
Your Person: (The irony is not lost on me that I’m posting a video from the West Wing and talking about the Great Dane). I really can’t fathom what cosmic Ogle-gods placed Line as my suitemate, but I’m forever indebted to them. When Rett died, Line was the first person I texted. She’s almost 5,000 miles away. I know a lot of really brilliant people, but I wholeheartedly believe Line is the smartest person in most rooms. But it’s so rarely a condescending kind of smart so you can’t even be mad about it.
The first memory I have of Line happened two months before we met. The summer of 2008. Around June or July. I’d just gotten my housing assignment and it was so exciting. Freshman dorms at Oglethorpe are two bedrooms, four people. In Traer, it’s two bedrooms connected by a bathroom. And I remember showing Deidre my housing assignment and being really confused about Line. ‘That’s not a person’s name. Is it pronounced Line like..A line?’ (It’s not). (Unless you’re me and pronounce it that way on purpose to make some really great puns). Line came into my life and centered me. She makes me want to be more. And she calls me on my bullshit. It’s really hard to become fluent in BW – but Line is. She knows me down to my core. The first time I went to Denmark, Line met me at the bus stop with a cold beer and a Danish flag and that evening we went to a graduation party and they played ‘Party in the USA’. (On the real – Danes are just as annoyingly enthusiastic about that song as Americans. Maybe that was just for my benefit but MAN. I choose to believe that Miley Cyrus brings people together, y’all).
Just knowing that this Great Dane exists makes me more calm and hopeful. Sun-Line fills my life with adventure and culture and new experiences but knows that sometimes the best way to spend a day is by watching half a season of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ on Netflix.
I can best sum up Line with the following, which is taken word-for-word from this article:
“Some geniuses have the unfortunate issue of shining so bright that they blind others. Your light shines on us and illuminates us too, instead of blotting us out. Your intellect is the type that doesn’t intimidate. It invites us in, makes us feel comfortable and we feel smarter and more inspired for being a part of your conversation. You seem to see the potential in every single person you engage with, you do not underestimate what any human being has to offer.”
The Lighthouse in the Storm: When Erik died back in 2011, everything was jumbled and surreal and fuzzy around the edges. There’s so many missing memories of the months that followed that I’m probably grateful I can’t piece together. My big sister came to my apartment the night he went missing and sat with me and cried with me and then made me eat food. A few weeks prior to all of it, Amanda and I had been talking about red lipstick and I was saying how I wasn’t sure I could pull off red lipstick – but I wanted to try. I think it was the day of the memorial service that she gave me a Mac red lipstick called ‘Brave’. I don’t think I’ve ever asked if giving me that specific color was on purpose or not – but I still think about it. In an simplistically cheesy way, it made me feel braver than I was. I’ve made a bunch of questionable and dangerous decisions – and I own all of that. But Amanda is the dictionary.com definition of a big sister. No matter how many times I stumble, she stands with me.
The first time we met was when I was elected to a spot on Programming Board back in freshman year. I don’t remember when we became real friends but I do remember how absolutely intimidated I was. We got our first (well..only) tattoos together. Mine took five minutes…Hers four hours. She bought me my second legal drink. (…And third..And fourth..etc etc etc.) I’m not ambiguous about the fact that I joined Sigma because of Amanda and she has fought for me since day one. If you’ve ever thought I was a good sister or even just been appreciative of my presence – go ahead and thank Amanda for that.
Your Old Soul: The one who sends you 40 texts in a row and writes you poems and listens and understands and doesn’t judge you for keeping her up all night laughing about ridiculous webmd articles about body hair bleaching and is much too wise. I’ve told Hope this before many times but I keep on coming back to it because it’s the best possible way to describe Hope to other people: You know how when you’re in a group and trying to solve a problem and everyone is yelling out their ideas because they think they have the solution? But they don’t. And then a lull settles over the crowd? Hope fills that lull. She isn’t the loudest voice. But when she says something, it’s usually the best option. It takes a minute for everyone else to catch up and think through a situation, but then they realize she’s right. The first distinct memory I have of Hope is telling a story to her in my car and having her be so moved that she started crying. Hope is smart and intuitive and can fit her entire fist into her mouth and honestly y’all that’s terrifying to watch and I obviously made it her contact picture in my phone. Hope makes me feel brave and worthy. You can tell how passionate Hope is about something by counting the number of times she says she hates it. (And by how often she types about it in all caps. Truly. A visionary.) Gambling’s definitely not my thing, but if it were, I would bet on Hope every single time.
I like women who are hardworking and deeply flawed and persistent and big-hearted and tough and vulnerable and just trying their best. I like women who are unapologetic about who they are and what they want. And I hope, to some degree, that the women I have in my life reflect back on me.