August 1 is National Girlfriends Day:: a day set aside to celebrate the joy of female friendship. Who knew this was a thing?
I’ll be very honest; I never knew there was a day that celebrated friendships – girl friendships, until I agreed to write this blog post. Now, I think National Girlfriends Day should be a thing celebrated worldwide and not only in the USA. A global celebration of unity, trust, laughter and just being “girl silly”. A place of safety, being able to be you without judgement. National Girlfriends Day should actually be every day, but hey, I will take any excuse to salute the woman in my life that give it meaning.
Friendships that cross barriers
If I think back long enough to when I was little, there are so many little girls that come to mind, many of whom I enjoy following on social media. They are ‘scatter-lings’ of Africa blotted across the Globe, but they made an impact even way back then.
However, the one that made an impact on me on a truly deep level was a little African girl who lived on our farm. Her name was Santi and her dad worked for my dad on the pig farm where we lived for a number of years. I grew up in a time of apartheid in South Africa, but at no stage did this ever reach my ears or touch my innocence or my love for making friendships. My parents never allowed it to impact our lives and neither did hers. I remember playing in her little house which comprised of one room where she and her entire family lived. I loved the idea of the togetherness in this one little room. The little African girl and the little blonde that forged a friendship despite what the world thought, we both loved dolls, role playing and making mud cakes in the dirt. We loved each other.
That is friendship. Unfortunately I lost track of this little friend who taught me that it was the little things that mattered and that the emotion of a friendship and what we had in common was so much more important than what we didn’t.
Growth spurts and spats
I remember too my very first heartbreak. It was not a boyfriend but my best friend in Grade 6 that told me we needed a break and that I need not be so terribly intense about it all. Funnily enough, we too were very different. She was a city mouse and I was a farm mouse. She was petite and beautiful and I was uncomfortable in my skin. I honestly thought she was the bees knees, and she still is. It just took me many years to catch up to her and in my own eyes to become an equal. In that moment in my life I learnt about loss and about envy and about the strength we need to get up and move on and write new chapters. We recently had the beautiful pleasure of sharing a coffee over the summer back in South Africa, and laughed about that very day 30 years ago. That is a friendship. One where we can feel lost and hurt but still honor each other, learn from each other and grow and still find the beauty in each other 30 years later. We hold memories and stories for each other and we bare witness to the past.
A sobering soul friendship
I too have a friendship that moulded me on a soul level, a woman that witnessed the first heartbeats of both my daughters. A friendship that holds so much trust and has witnessed so much joy, knows my deepest sorrows and fears and not only supports me but drives me to be better. She even tells me what to do when I get out of line. That is a friendship. A safe space to be absolutely vulnerable without judgement and knowing they have your back.
Learning how to friendship
I have another friend who took me under her wing many a time in my life and who I share many bar hopping, toilet swopping, wine lunching, playing hooky, lunch turned dinner turned breakfast kind of days.
Each friend I have makes my life better and brighter and I am so much richer for it. Each one has a story of its own.
Friendship is what I learned from my mom. I watched her laugh, love and support the woman in her life, woman that she can still proudly call her friends. Witnesses to her life, and mine.
This is a rich, beautiful and fun friendship that I now have the privilege of enjoying with my mom.
We need to teach our girls to value and respect the girlfriends in their lives. We need to teach them to enrich, encourage, enhance and support any friendship that comes their way.
Girl “adulting” and friendships
No one can make you laugh like a girlfriend can. That laugh that makes you snort through your nose, and your stomach hurt like a thousand sit ups. No one can tell dirtier jokes than a girl can. No one can dance like no one is watching like a girl can. Girls are fierce and funny and fantastically incredible. They are brutal in truth and should always have your back.
So today on National Girlfriends day tell your friends how much you value them and their friendship. Love them. Cherish them.
Handwrite a note. Send an email. Pop a text. Have a drink together. Go to lunch. Make a phone call. Go dancing. Tell a dirty joke. Dance on the tables. Do something, anything, but acknowledge the girls in your life, the ones that enhance you as a human being.
I know who makes me snort like a pig when I am laughing so hard. You girls make my life worthwhile. You know who you are. Thank you for loving me and thank you for the pleasure of loving you.
Tell us your friendship stories, share what you do on Girlfriends day, do you celebrate it? Share a picture in the comments section of your friends.