When I was a teenager studying English back at school, I thought the word “girlfriend” stood for a female partner with which you’re in a romantic relationship. Back in 2009 when I moved to the USA I learned that wasn’t true.
Growing up in a society where women’s friendship is always considered a joke or a hidden competition, it was hard to even see how important my girlfriends were to me. All my life I thought it was the guys I got along with better, it was the guys I was closer friends with. What I never really saw is that it was the girls all along who taught me important life lessons, supported me, who understood me, cheered me, made me laugh, cry, made me open up, and who were simply there for me (or even flew across the ocean for me! Yes, I am that lucky to have such friends).
It was last year, actually, when it occurred to me that I was wrong my whole life (I know… super late). When I took a trip back to the States it was all the women who I was looking forward to seeing! Some of them I got to see, some of them were a bit far from New York but damn did I miss them…
There are women on this planet (some of which I might not talk to as much because time zones and lives get in a way) who shaped my life.
There is one in Texas, the US, who showed me what strength and self-respect are. One in Canada who was the first to show me what a solo-female-traveler can be. A beautiful soul from Togo who lets nothing get in her way. There is a girl from England who taught me kindness and self-confidence. A girl in Spain who never, under any circumstances, changed who she is. One person from NYC who showed me that being honest and open about your feelings is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself. There are now two women in Germany who proved that becoming close friends with someone in your late 20s after moving to a new city is possible and freaking awesome. And, of course, there are several great ladies from my hometown who have known me for over 20 years, stand by me even when I am an ocean away, and make feel home no matter how long it’s been since we saw each other last.
I also met this beautiful soon-to-be-a-mother girl last year. We both did a sports marathon (you know, get skinny — win the prize kind of thing) and that’s how we started talking. Well, now, whenever we meet up, we go check out a new cafe or restaurant (ironic, I’d say). However, it was the first time I decided not to feel shy, not to think about any of that female competition and just ask a girl if she wanted to hang out cause I did feel lonely and wanted to find a friend. A year later, we were walking down the street near by the place where we first met in person discussing the next place we wanted to go to for lunch. She is open, laughs a lot, blunt as hell and I can’t thank her enough for that. Just like I can’t thank those girls who were and still are there for me. If it wasn’t for them, I would’ve been a girl stuck in her world thinking women can’t trust one another, let alone be friends…
There is no greater friendship than the one with women who understand, support, and care for one another. And what I love the most about the girls I have in my life: they love themselves, they are smart, confident, hard-working, self-efficient, and beautiful from inside out — best examples of what a woman can be. Why did I ever think it was the guys I liked to hang out with more? Hah!
P.S. I hope the ones I mentioned will read this. If they don’t, I hope they know even my husband doesn’t take up as much space in my heart as they all do. Without them I would’ve been different, my whole life would have been.
P.P.S. There are some girls who aren’t mentioned in the article but still are a huge part of my life.
Note for those who are now concerned about my husband: he is my heart, my life, my everything. What’s said above isn’t meant for you to think I love him less than my friends.