“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.” – Sarah Dessen
Today, my heart aches and my eyes burn for the empty place in my soul reserved for the intimacy of female friendships. I do not write this in search of pity. I do not write this with a lack of gratitude for my current life. I write this from the shores of isolation from my best lady friends, where you get your mani/pedis alone, girl talk is only occasional, and pantsless dance parties to throwback tunes are in limited supply. Sometimes that emptiness is a million miles away and sometimes it is front and center, begging to be filled but uncertain about how to find fulfillment.
Different happenings trigger the knowledge of this void. It’s that co-worker who is constantly posting her best friend adventures on Facebook or casually mentioning them at work. Or it’s those women in your class that always sit together and hang out after class. Maybe it’s the sting of rejection when you ask that cool girl to hang out sometime and she says yes but never brings it up again. Christina and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy dancing it out never fails to get the bestie feels a’feeling. DON’T EVEN get me started on Grace and Frankie! The final scene of the most recent season had me in tears and thinking of my best friend who lives way too far away from me.
I’m not the kind of person who enters relationships in a half-hearted manner. I love my people. I would bury bodies for my people if the connection is right. That connection is incredibly difficult to find and maintain for life. I offer fierce loyalty, honesty, unconditional love, and support, as long as that is offered in return. I don’t do half hearted friendships well and I am a jealous bitch, even in friendships. That being said, I am far from perfect and have made big mistakes. The human condition is incredibly complex and tends to muddy the waters of perfection.
“In college and right after college, there’s this sense that your friends are your family. It’s really painful in your late twenties when you realize that they’re not your family, and they are going to make their own families.” – Greta Gerwig
I’ve had strong woman friendships for much of my life. Sure, some of that has been stricken with female strife, but much of it has been full of joy and connection. One of my most intimate and soulful friendships ended in heartbreak, loss of trust, and regret. It felt like losing a lover. A fitting description because some people saw us as such. I still long for that friendship. What could I have done differently? What could she have done differently? Could we be friends now? Are we too different now? Could we pick up where we left off? Answers that may never become known.
This woman felt like a soul mate as far as friends go. She made me a better person. We would fall asleep next to one another, wipe away tears, make music, and share secrets. We had an abundance of inside jokes and it often seemed as though we knew what the other was thinking. We constantly bonded while indulging in cookies, candy, and coffee. It took one night for that relationship to be destroyed. One word… One lie… Maybe she was protecting me. Maybe I was just scared. Nevertheless, the waters seem so turbulent. I am so uncertain of the right direction. I just want her to know that she was a fabulous best friend even if our relationship ended in pieces.
Another one of my amazing female friendships can be described as intimately loyal. She is still my best friend but the physical distance between us has caused our connection to grow slack. But still, we can always pick up right where we left off. Adulting has really gotten in the way of our friendship and I long for the days where we were roommates. I long for the nights of drinking too much and falling asleep next to the pizza rolls. I miss our awkward dance parties and swapping of embarrassing stories. I miss your closet and annoying compulsion to always make your bed. Most of all, I miss being your person. Marriage has brought us to a new phase of life. It has given us new people, new homes, and new priorities. I wish we were still one another’s priority. I used to view our connection as family, as everlasting. Blood and legal contracts are over riding that view but that is ok. I am still your ride or die best friend even if we need to tighten the slack sometimes.
“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
Truthfully, the women friendships in my life have opened up new worlds for me. I learned about different family dynamics, and the effects of trauma and resiliency. This is where I discovered the power of connection. Friendship is where I first learned that you can hand pick the people with which you would like to spend your time. Friendship is where I learned how to connect emotionally with another human. It’s where I learned to be myself, and yet try on different personas. These are the people with which I fumbled socially, emotionally, and physically. These are the people who I could be Hella embarrassing around and they would still accept me.
I am having somewhat of a dry spell when it comes to intimate lady friendships that live a reasonable distance away from me. I love my friends, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that this long-distance thing is not doing it for me. I am too high maintenance for this shit. I am too demanding for shallow friendships. My couples friends are fun and wonderful but they do not fill the void that a woman best friend would fill. Sometimes it feels like the universe is telling me, “you can’t have everything.” Maybe I can’t have a wonderful husband and an amazing woman best friend. But that is what I want. I want it all! But I am willing to be patient for this new world to open up for me. I appreciate the old worlds. I value all the things that all friendships bring, whether that be past, present, or future. For now, I will feel this void and try my best to learn from it.
“I think that is one reason why women live longer than men. Friendship between women is different than friendship between men. We talk about different things. We delve deep. We go under, even if we haven’t seen each other for years. There are hormones that are released from women to other women that are healthy and do away with the stress hormones. It’s my women friends that keep starch in my spine and without them, I don’t know where I would be. We have to just hang together and help each other.” – Jane Fonda
Long story short – I am so lucky to have experienced what Jane Fonda is talking about here and I hope to experience it, in all its glory, again one day.