I remember sitting on a balcony in Cape Town back in 2006, overhearing a conversation between two women. The one mused, with all the sage wisdom of a 21-year old, “I get on way better with guys than with girls.” And the other – an ancient gal on the cusp of 30 – gave a brusque reply that resonated with me: “Yah, most women do. It’s a competition thing.”
It made me think, “Oh, so it’s not just me.” And for a long time that was how I thought about friendships with other women. I took it for granted that girls just didn’t really like each other.
My friends were mostly guys, and at the time I thought it was because I was a tomboy; one of the boys, up for whatever and not hung up on being ladylike. If I’m horribly honest with myself though, I think it was more because I was really insecure and I needed the approval of men to make myself feel good. I was a slutty drunk, I was usually stoned and I had a gross streak of always wanting to be with other people’s boyfriends.
Understandably I didn’t have a group of girlfriends, I had one or two individual friends who were left-field enough to put up with me.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, maybe it’s just my stage of life, but I’ve been reflecting a lot recently. It took me a long time to grow up and out of my bad habits, and having a hubby and a baby have been central to that process. So now, when I look back with the clarity and perspective of time I see how insecure I was, and I’m amazed at how I got through life without the company of other women.
Today my female friends are rocks. They are blessings. Their wisdom and companionship means so much to me – I’d be seriously lost without it. I think the realisation really started hitting home when I fell pregnant and, since then, the truth of it has become a major encouragement in my life.
I discovered that I had something in common with other women, something that I really didn’t have with men. I guess that many people just grow up with an innate sense of their self worth, and have healthy friendships from the get-go. But for me, I think I finally started to step into the confidence I have now when hubby hit a home run.
When I hang out with my ladies, there’s no competition. There’s just understanding. There’s peace in our camaraderie, and a total acceptance of the chaos that comes with being a mother.
Nowadays, the company of other women is something I look forward to; something I cherish. I love this season of my life, and the ruckus it brings. I love that I survived my 20s and I love that there’s such hope in new starts and new life.