It’s not always about me

You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is always about me. I mean, that’s what stuff is like in blogland, right? Unless you have a blog that’s looking at specific issues or topics, it’s most likely a stream of consciousness open journal thingummybob and mine is no exception. (I’m so vain, you probably thought this blog was about me…)

Anyway, today I wanted to talk briefly about girlfriends. As a younger child and adolescent and – probably – in my twenties, I failed to see the attraction of girlfriends. As someone who was very badly bullied at school, I really didn’t trust girls. I mean, they were the ones who treated me terribly and made my life a misery and changed from day to day how they felt about me (usually: most hated or second most hated – boy, did I live for the days when I was only second!). Girls are kinda fickle. Or at least that’s what I thought.

Fast forward a few years. (Twenty – cough.) And I’ve somehow transformed over the years from “one of the lads” (British term for being one in a bunch of men… often used in a semi-complimentary way to describe females who hang out with men) to being one of those women (possibly I’m a bit too old to be called a girl any more – oh, sod it) who has a bunch of female friends as her main friendship group.

I’m not sure exactly when it changed… I think for a while when I was in the screwed up years, I purposely cultivated a big bunch of male friends, most of whom had some fairly dodgy ideas of what friendship was. (Mainly: shagging.) And I still love men – I really do. There’s something to be said for the kind of male camaraderie you get in a big bunch of men, but of course I only ever get to experience that as that female, one of the lads… so I’m sure that’s a slightly artificial situation. What I mean is, I have female friends who have come and gone, but some have really stood the test of time and I’m pretty sure will be friends for life.

Take my first friend: my sister. I mean, she’s completely aggravating in the way that only sisters can be, but she’s mine, and I’ve known her for the longest time. She’s the only one who knows almost as much about what it’s like to be us as I do. (I claim eldest rights here!) She’s crazy and talented and I don’t know if we’d be friends if we weren’t sisters because we are sooooo different, but we are a lifetime pair.

And my best friend: I’ve known her since we were in junior school and even though we live in different countries, we speak on Whatsapp at least every few days. She’s pretty much the nicest, kindest person in the whole entire world, and I won’t hear any different. Put it this way: I’m not the only person who thinks she’s my best friend. I think there are many who’ve claimed her, but I started calling her BFF a few years ago and I make sure those pretenders know it! I know she would do anything for me… I would do anything for her, but she’s so together that I can’t think she’d ever need any crappy help I’d give! She’s like the most serene, funny, gorgeous person in the world.

Thing is, I have a whole bunch of these girlfriends and together they are the most amazing bunch of women I can imagine. Even though they are a complete mishmash of people I’ve met over the years. Some through school, some through uni, some through work, and even some through friends of friends (that special thing where you see someone else’s friend and think, “I’ll have her!”). They are amazing women and as a tormented adolescent I couldn’t see that’s what women could be.

And the thing I have realised over time is that everyone has their sh*t. I mean, as a twenty-something, I used to get absolutely heartbroken when my female friends would let me down for social occasions and meet ups. I took them really seriously and I couldn’t believe it when people cancelled. It was a bit tantrumy, really. I’ve never been good at controlling my disappointment! 

But as I’ve gotten older I realised that people wax and wane and you move closer together and further apart. I used to think it was like planets in elliptical orbits. But I think it’s probably less regular than that. Thing is, I’ve had my own sh*t and I’ve had my times of having to move away from people (infertility is a b*tch, amirite?) and it’s made me more forgiving of other people’s previous moving away. I am also OLD and I know that the good ones come back! And sometimes the good ones also stay away, but I can be philosophical about it and think, I enjoyed that while it lasted.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m grateful for my girlfriends. Each and every one of them contributes something to my life. And increasingly (because I’ve always been a leetle bit self-interested, I admit) I have tried to look for ways I can contribute to theirs. I realised that everyone is fighting their own battles or experiencing their own joys and whilst it’s sometimes hard to understand where they’re at, as friends we can do our best to be there through the good times and bad.

Right now one of my friends is fighting cancer.

Right now my sister is fighting infertility and going through IVF.

Right now one of my friends is dealing with crippling anxiety.

Right now many of my American friends are in fear of what is to come under a Trump presidency.

I can do my bit and be there for them as best I can. And I’m just one in a big support network which spans their friendship groups and beyond.

But it’s not just for the bad stuff. Friends are there for the good stuff too, and sometimes we get so hung up on our own sh*t, or other people’s sh*t that we forget to celebrate the good things.

Right now three of my friends are planning weddings.

Right now one of my friends is in a new, exciting relationship.

Right now one of my friends has a great new job.

Right now one of my friends is drinking wine and wondering why I’m not there!

So here’s to being there through the bad times and the good! Cheers to girlfriends! (Non-alcoholic for me. One of my best friends made a special cheat to get me through my “Never drink alone” phase and would sit on the end of the phone and have a glass of wine whilst I had one my end in a different country, so I wouldn’t have to drink alone – now that’s friendship!) 

Because friendship isn’t about supporting each other through the bad times, but also about laughing along with you through the good times. (When we think about it, we have more of those than we think!) I’ll be there for you (as the song goes) when the rain starts to fall… but I’ll also be there when you need someone to go wedding dress shopping with.

Just don’t blame me if you end up like this…

(I have terrible dress sense.)

In friendship,

N x

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20 comments

    • Nara

      I used to get really upset about friends moving away, but I think now I’m older I can look at it more philosophically. I appreciate the friendships I’ve had and which are no longer “active”. And sometimes they come back! A lot of the time I find geographical distance and jobs get in the way. If we end up physically closer then we tend to catch up more!

      Liked by 1 person

    • EmilyMaine

      I love that saying “friends are for a reason, season or a lifetime”. I think it articulates well the different types of friendships we experience through life and makes it easy to let it go when one of those seasonal friends slip away to their next life experience.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nara

        I really like this way of putting it! I’ve definitely had all three and I think it’s good to value them all. In the past I used to get upset at the thought that everyone’s not a lifetime friend, but I try to look back at it in fondness rather than regret.

        Like

  1. Dubliner in Deutschland

    Aw I love this post! Really great girl friends are the best! I have friends around the world and like you were saying sometimes we’ll be in each others lives more and other times not so much. The best friends are the ones that when you meet up with it doesn’t matter how much time has passed!
    I used to enjoy hanging out with guy friends in college as some of the girls could be quite petty. For instance if you didn’t go to one thing with them then they might be in a huff and not invite you to the next thing whereas the guys would also just be welcoming and not hold a grudge. I realize it depends on the person though and it’s not a gender thing. Really good friends are hard to come by and you need to hang on to the good ones

    Like

    • Nara

      I know! Some of my friends are overseas and I hardly ever see them but when we do catch up, it’s like we’ve never been apart! (And we get all the talking done and never run out of things to say!)

      Totally get what you mean about male friends. They do tend to have less drama attached! I still have some really old male friends but there’s a large swathe of male friends who fell by the wayside when we stopped flirting/etc with each other! Maybe I’m just a s***?! 😂 I do think all friends are to be appreciated and cherished!

      Like

    • Nara

      I know right? I feel totally guilty that she’s MY best friend, because there’s nothing I can really offer her (other than the feeling of being far superior in every way, and she’d never feel that because she’s too nice!). But hey, I’m sooo grateful to have her. I truly think she’s one of the most beautiful humans the world has ever produced. (And I’m not even drunk! Haha.)

      Like

  2. notabroodychick

    I just had to say what a beautiful post. Your friends are lucky to have you 😉 I haven’t posted on your blogs for a while but just wanted to say I’ve been reading along and I’m glad your MIL is ok now and how exciting about the car!

    Like

  3. circumstance227

    Such a nice read. I have been assuming for over a year now that your friends are lucky to have you. And about that dress. I have no sense of fashion AT ALL, but even I know that this one is pretty awful. 🙂

    Like

    • Nara

      Ahh that’s nice of you to say (and misguided, haha! I always saw myself as the kid of the bunch… the annoying one!).

      The dress is from the film Bridesmaids, which is a funny depiction of female friendship!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. EmilyMaine

    Ha! Lovely post. I was never a girly girl either and always opted for male friends when younger. My girlfriends were few and far between. That has also changed for me when getting older and I’m so glad as girlfriends can be wonderful. Those bitchy ones are still around apparently although I do seem to avoid them. They turn into the bitchy school mums from the stories I hear. Can you believe it? Ridiculous. I will be dodging them all like bullets when we start the school game next year. Anyway, thx for a gorgeous post. You brought back many a happy memory for me (like all those times I’ve sat and got drunk on the phone chatting to a friend also drinking lol). The things we do!

    Like

    • Nara

      It sounds like we are similar! Only I haven’t kept in touch / am not in the vicinity of the bitchy ones, thank goodness. Judging by FB they are all shacked up and living off rich husbands! (Not sure how one comes by them… I’ve never found one!) So I probably won’t come across one again!
      I’m glad I’m not the only one to do phone drinking! Ha! It’s a sign of true friendship! 😊

      Like

  5. Pingback: NaBloPoMo roundup | From zero to zygote
  6. ourgreatestdesire

    I love this post! The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to depend on my female friendships. I think it just takes us awhile to find the right ones and to know how valuable they are! 🙂 Happy to count you as one of them!

    Like

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