Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Women and Friendships

"A friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else."
- Len Wein

I found this link through Postpartum Support International, a site that I visit often and found during the beginning days of my postpartum depression. I think it's a really fascinating look at and a great starting off point to think about our friends and the relationships that go along with them.

My parents have always said that if I have good friends enough to count on one hand, I am lucky. The more and more I learn and experience and the more people I meet, the more I realize just how true that really is. Over the years, I've had some wonderful friends and I've also had some not so wonderful friends. The friend who was bringing home quart sized baggies filled with pot in college- not such a great friend, or roommate for that matter! The friend who stayed with me the night I broke up with my college boyfriend because I was afraid of what I had just done and how he would react- really great friend! The friend who insulted my husband to my face and couldn't understand why I decided to stay married to him instead of being her friend- not so great! The friend who planned an impromptu baby shower in a matter of days, with my mom, because she knew how hard things had been and how much I wanted pink for our little girl- great friend! I could go on because the list continues but you get the point...

After my family, and that includes my husband, my parents, my children, extended family, etc., my friendships are most important to me. They are my lifeline very often and they are what keep me going through the times when sometimes I just don't think I can keep going. Besides "offering" me what could be termed general friendship, my friends all have unique qualities that cause me to turn to each of them at different times. My best friend has known me since I was 18 but I feel like we've known each other forever. We've been athletes together, we've cried together, we've planned weddings together, we've had children together and we've gone through major medical crises together. We've seen each other through to the other side of everything and because of it, we are stronger. I've realized that more than ever over the past few weeks when I've really needed her and she, of course, has been there. My oldest friend- not because of age- is the person I call and I know that when she picks up it will be like we just spoke yesterday. We email intermittently and chat occasionally but it's those late nights out at a bar or restaurant or hanging out in one of our houses or getting a tattoo that matter the most to us. We've been through a lot together as well, death, birth, school transfers, break-ups, just about anything you can think of, we've seen it. Then there are the friends I've made in more recent times. The teacher that I worked with at my last school who I text on a regular basis and see about every two weeks. Or the teacher that I worked with at my very first daycare center who I still email and hear from on a regular basis. And another teacher who I worked with at my most recent center who was so sincere about renting a radiation suit that I thought for sure she would show up at my house during that one week in July. And of course the woman who married my husband's best friend. She is probably the friend that I didn't think I would have. I didn't think we'd be friends, just acquaintances who would meet, with our husbands, for dinner occasionally. But really, she has turned into quite a good friend, especially since I've needed one lately.

Friendships are so important to women and how we function within our families and society. They have the power to lift us up and make us better people, better versions of ourselves. They also have the power to make us feel worthless and like we don't matter. We, as women, have immeasurable power and I don't think that we always realize it. We have the power, with our words- or lack of words, to hurt each other and we sometimes abuse that power. It is our job as women, in my opinion, to lift each other up. To show one another that we all matter equally and we are all unique and wonderful gifts to our families, to ourselves, to each other and to the world. I encourage each and every one of you to embrace your friends and the special gifts that they bring you. Remember that you have the ability to be someone amazing to someone else and that ability goes beyond value. Our friendships should be sources of healing and care not toxicity and hurtfulness.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin


Anonymous said...

You brought a tear to my eye with this. Funny I never thought we would be such good friends either. Glad to have you as a friend! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

why the soapbox?

Patrick, Alison, Nicholas & Addison said...

No soapbox. I found the article, thought it was interesting and decided to write about the importance of friends and the power that we, as women, have and often misuse.

Why the anonymity?

Chris P said...

Thank you for posting this! This is something I've felt for a long time. No matter how supportive my husband is or how much I love him, sometimes the only people who can truly make me feel better are my girlfriends! And each one is unique in the way they help me.

MjH said...

Thanks for this post. You really are a wonderful friend! See you soon. XO.

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