Dear female friends,
Thank you for teaching me that I do not have to blunder my way through life alone. My preferred method of dealing with problems is to keep busy and pretend they are not bothering me. But with your help, I have learned to vocalize my feelings and to recognize that it is not petty or ridiculous to feel hurt by rejection or wounded by another’s opinion. To say that I feel broken is not an admittance of weakness, but one of strength; because it means I am strong enough to recognise when I am hurt and tough enough to fully feel that pain before I start to heal again.
Girls, thank you for helping me navigate relationships, because I had never loved before university and I would have been lost without your advice, support, and tough words of wisdom. I always thought crushes were silly and insecurities about boys just a waste of my time and potential; but you guys helped me see that it was okay to be confused, only human to be stupid in love, and when it all came crashing to the ground, completely understandable to be crumpled on the floor for awhile. You made me see that to be an independent woman was not to never need a man; but to be able to stand on my own two feet and love passionately without losing myself in the process.
Through these friendships, I have discovered just how powerful a group of girls can be, because the positivity and unconditional love I feel from you all has helped my self-esteem and self-love flourish in ways I would have never been capable of achieving alone. The sheer belief we have in each other’s awesomeness is incredible and some days, you are loud enough to replace critics with cheerleaders in my own head. I especially appreciate the understanding with which you have approached answering my awkwardly intimate questions, as I try to understand how to deal with my constantly confounding body and the fun things I can do with it. I am so embarrassed by the idea of embracing my own sensuality and without you girls, I would have continued to simply ignore that I can make myself do anything other than run or play sports. Being the eldest child also meant that I ended up undertaking a lot of mature activities first and without you guys, I would have ended up continuing to wing it and make it up as I go. At least now I have people to compare notes with and to bombard with questions as I inevitably stumble upon more things I do not understand.
More than just serving as cheerleaders, psychiatrists, and sex gurus, you girls are great role models and constant sources of inspiration. You have incredible ambitions and a drive for success that matches my own; I truly believe that one day we will run the world from different heights of industry. I can imagine us jetting across the world to meet each other for lunch, while still arriving back home for glasses of red wine before the start of the next workday. In addition to supporting my dreams, you have all contributed to helping me be a better person. I will be the first to admit that I was quite selfish and insensitive when I first came to university; girl code frustrated me, because I could not understand voluntarily committing to limitations on my behavior for the sake of others.
But now, given everything I have learned about compromise in friendships and self-control for the sake of others, I think about the consequences of my actions before I make them. I know that I cannot be a petulant child and always get my way. I appreciate that friends forgive, but also recognize that my respect for them should keep me from jeopardizing our relationship for physical gratification. I may still love a little chaos and the thrill of the forbidden, but I recognise why impulses should not always be followed and the importance of being sensitive to the way others feel. I believe and I hope that I am now a better friend to you all and that what I give in return is equal to the amazing benefits that I have the absolute honour to receive.
So thank you to my female friends for loving me and teaching me to love myself. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the 2am conversations, and 2am dance parties. I love my male friends as well and all that they bring to the table; but, there is something quite special about close female friendships and I am so happy I have gotten a chance to make these memories throughout university with such wonderful people. You have never given up on me despite my frequent blunders, indelicacies, and temperamental tantrums: and for that loyalty, I am incredibly grateful. So here’s to us and more nights of wine, cuddles, dirty dancing, and loving each other with everything we have got. Thank you!