Saturday, March 31, 2007

Women Who Have Shaped Me: The Girls

There's no one way to describe it, the feeling of girlfriends. Trying to get into one post everything I love, adore, admire, and respect about the friends I have is like trying to sum up all the troubles of the world by writing them on a cocktail napkin. The words are so huge and plenty, and the space just so very insignificant and small.

I've had girlfriends all my life. There was Kimmy and Dani in kindergarten. Megan, Melissa and the girl I wanted to copy shoes with every day but cannot seem to remember her name in the third and fourth grade. There was Tracy and Cherise in the fifth grade. Gina and Tara in eighth grade. Shelby, Amanda, Eryn and so many more in high school that if I tried to name them all I'd surely forget someone. Which is probably okay because really, out of all those girls, I've stayed close with two.

There were not any major falling outs, no huge blow up fights, no stealing of boyfriends or worse, hairstyles. But for whatever reason, we just grew apart. Growing up in a military town was part of it, having a sister and therefore a constant girlfriend was part of it, part of it was just me, I suppose. Until college, I really didn't find it desirable nor necessary to have lasting relationships with very many girls. I found them complicated, somewhat exhausting and pretty difficult to handle sometimes. And, of course, it goes without saying that I was probably just like several of them for my share of the time.

Like I said, though, then college came. It was the end of my sophomore year (the year I'd finally decided doing my tour of colleges across Colorado was not as productive as when it began, but that's an entirely different story) and I was in one of many Communications classes that required group projects. We were involuntarily grouped with other members of the class and I just so happened to be grouped with three other fabulous girls and one slacker of a guy. Needless to say, the four of us did all the work. The project turned out beautifully and the friendships even better. Throughout the last seven years, we've managed to stay close through marriages, babies, new jobs, broken engagements, cross-country moves and more. It's not always see-you-every-Saturday close, but more so the kind of close you stay as an adult.

More than anything, these friendships made it possible for me to learn what real, adult relationships with women could be. They gave me the foundation I didn't even know I needed to venture out even more and build real friendships with other women that I'm proud of today.

Possibly where I've seen this most in my life is in my relationships with my fellow female runners. Without getting into what running has given me friendship-wise alone (trust me, that is not only an entirely new post on it's own but possibly an entirely different site), I'll say that nothing has kept me with running better than the friends I've made. Sure, the men are great. Supportive, fast, encouraging, funny, flirtatious, whatever. But the women, they are real. They are fun, inspiring, helpful, concerned and persistent. They are wives, mothers, diaper changers, school administrators, nurses, accountants and so much more. With these other women, I can meet them for a run virtually naked and be outfitted within minutes. No one I've ever met has been more prepared than a female runner.

I'd like to think I could do this for them, too. Most the time, it's not my attire or equipment I'm lacking, though. It's the emotional aspects of life. As many times as I've stated that I believe running is a purely independent act for me, something that comes from deep inside me, it's not this solitude that inspires me. Rather, it's the women I've found through this insane quest to run as much as life will let me that influence me. As a woman, I can guarantee that there's no problem so huge, no dilemma so heavy that won't at least feel lighter and more manageable after talking it out during a run. There's a magic in that, a sisterhood. As rare as it is in life to know that, I feel infinitely blessed to say that I've found it several times over.

I'd be hard-pressed to find any sort of conclusion to an essay like this. How do you sum up people and friendships that haven't only shaped you but have shaped your entire life? I very much share the sentiments of Bre (the brains behind this Women Who Have Shaped Me idea, not to mention the fabulous behind many things) in that I hope the best way to honor these blessings of girlfriends is to consciously appreciate them. From my oldest friends -the two I've held onto since grade school- to the ones I've yet to even meet, I hope to be the best friend I can. I know life cycles, people come and go ,but as I get older and realize the very few real chances we're allotted in life to be a part of something meaningful, I will take advantage of each opportunity.

10 comments:

Orhan Kahn said...

A touching post, indeed.

brandy said...

Sigh. So, so great. It's just so nice to read nice things sometimes. (And yes, I realize how poorly worded that was) You know, as much as I loved this activity, I'm a bit relieved it's over. My kleenex supply is running low. ;)

Ginger Breadman said...

What an amazing post. Life is built on relationships, and I agree - female runners are the most prepared people in the world.

Listening to what you said really makes me think back through my own life and to be thankful for the people I've chanced to meet along the way, and those that I've learned and grown from. Thanks for the post.

Bre said...

There's just something fabulous about girlfriends, isn't there?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Girlfriends really are what make life fun, aren't they? Whenever I have moved to another city, leaving my circle of friends behind has always been my greatest regret.

Nicole said...

What a wonderful post. It is truly amazing how the women who enter and leave our lives change it.

GirlGoyle said...

I've always had a very selective relationship with girls. Don't know what it is. They've either been very similar to me or exact opposites however there are very few I dare call friends. Girls just seem to be too complicated. Event he uncomplicated ones at one point or another will flare up into girly paychosis. However, it is always good to have one or two you can run to cuz no one understands you like a crazy girl would.

egan said...

What a sweet post. Friends are amazing aren't they? I enjoyed reading about how important your friends are and how well they've been there for you.

runliarun said...

All along, I have been running alone. I barely met anybody, and I did not make friends.

Okay, it's me. There must be something wrong with me. I know there is. I always was a bit... weird.

Danielle said...

I need more like those in your life!