I spent the day after Christmas helping Joi celebrate her birthday with a wonderful dinner in Houston and some quick bonding time before she headed back to New York. While I was there I met a couple of her friends, friends that I had often heard of in stories and anecdotes but friends that I had never actually met. After dinner we ended up, as girls often do, sitting around the living room talking about life and the journey that continues to kick our asses. We are all roughly the same age, mid-twenties, but from very different backgrounds with very different interests yet somehow, the stories were all very much the same. And I am amazed at just how often, as women, we are afraid to share our experiences because we are certain that no one will understand and then one night after a few glasses of wine you have a conversation like this one in which you realize that everyone deals with life's blows and if we would only reveal ourselves to one another the battle wouldn't be so hard. Women can be catty and bitchy and we know that it is usually just a prideful attempt to hide the insecurities and the pain and yet we continue to allow ourselves to do and be the people we know we are not. I am so thankful for my female friendships, especially the ones that have stood the tests of time-the awkward junior high years and the confusing high school years and the all out wacky college years-because I know that without a strong circle of women in my corner at every turn life would have won and I would have been left lost and defenseless.
It's cathartic now to share those stories but I only wish that I had believed in myself enough to share them when the insecurities were still so real. I think I could have saved myself, and my friends, a lot of pain. I'm just glad that I can see it all so clearly now and that I no longer feel like I am not good enough to be loved by my friends and, in turn, love them with all that I am.
That realization alone may just be the best Christmas gift I have ever received.