Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Best of Friends

This post continues August's "Write your face off" writing challenge from the fabulous Brittany Gibbons.
The Best of Friends

I am an incredibly lucky woman.  I have the honor and the privilege to have two amazing women as my best friends.  I thank the Lord that they are, and have been, a part of my life as they have saved me in so many ways, big and small, that I could never, ever repay them.  They are both incredibly smart, funny, sassy, strong – just all around badasses, really – and I love them both like sisters. 

These are the ladies I can go to when I need some no-nonsense advice.  They will not blow smoke up my ass – but when they tell me I am being an idiot, they will do it gently and make me laugh about it.  We are fiercely on each other’s side and will totally cut a bitch who dares to mess with one of us.  These are the people whom I would call if my world was falling apart and who would undoubtedly drop everything to come to my aid as I would do for them without further thought.  They are both beautiful, inside and out, and unapologetically shine with such life that they take my breath away.  They are a ray of sunshine and my days are always brighter for having them in my life.  We make each other laugh, cry, learn, and best of all, love – ourselves and each other. 
Amy is the beautiful blond on the left. That's me on the right.

Amy has the innate ability to put situations into a relatable perspective that helps me to understand why some people do what they do.  She is the most empathetic and compassionate person I know.  She is a fucking rock star and has helped me to see and understand things that I couldn’t before – and I am a better person for it.  We are proof positive that people with diametrically opposed political opinions and leanings can get along just fine.  We respect and love each other despite, and because of, our differences.   
Jennifer with one of her offspring.

Jennifer can cut to the heart of any situation in the blink of an eye and her intelligent insight has aided me innumerable times.  She brooks no bullshit and has little patience for fucktards.  She has a heart of gold and is generous, courageous and uncompromisingly honest without being mean.  She is my baseline.  We calm each other in a way that defies logic and reason.  Life is good and troubles are far away when we spend time together.  We are family.

I love both of these women with every fiber of my being.  They have both taught me so much and I can only hope that I have helped them a fraction as much as they have helped me.  The world is a better place with them in it.  Especially mine.

I will leave off with a poem I wrote, several years ago, in honor of my two best friends:

True Sisters

Sisters by love, if not by blood.
Trust and faith in an increasing flood.

Sworn in our hearts to cherish and care.
Laughing, or crying, forever a pair.

Belief in our strength, support in our weakness.
Throughout the passing years, our bond increases.

Sisters, beloved are we.
Sisters, forever we will be.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dear Young College Student

I decided to participate in Brittany Gibbons "August Write Your Face Off" challenge.  This is my first attempt at responding to one of her prompts... So, here goes:
What would you tell a young girl going off to college for the first time?

So, so many things.  College was a completely new era for me.  New beginnings.  New city.  New life without the trappings of constant family obligation and guilt.  I absolutely loved college and the opportunity it afforded me to simultaneously learn about myself and the world.  Best time of my life.

That being said, I would say first – Use this time wisely.  This is an opportunity for you to spend time solely on yourself.  No kids (hopefully). No husband (hopefully). Just you.  This new freedom is amazing and intoxicating, but don’t let yourself get completely drunk on it.  Use this time to learn your limits and know yourself.

You will be given what you might initially think is free money.  It’s not.  You WILL have to pay it back, and then some (credit cards are no joke, yo).  But it is important to at least TRY to be a smidge responsible – otherwise you will regret it later.  Trust me. 

Be safe.  Be aware.  Be fierce.  Be fabulous.  Most people know the statistics.  One in four women is a survivor of sexual assault or rape.  Do yourself a favor and take a self-defense class.  Or two.  There are classes offered nearly everywhere and if there isn’t one in your area or at your college, search YouTube or get a book on Amazon.  Or contact me.  Seriously.  Do it.  I will help you find something that works for you.  The simplest piece of advice I can give you right now is trust your gut and be aware of your surroundings.  If something feels weird; if someone is standing too close to you on the elevator for no reason; if your spidey senses are twitchy; remove yourself from the situation.  Immediately – or as quickly as possible.  It may be a touch embarrassing, but it just might save your life.

If you are one of these women, a SURVIVOR, I have something to tell you: IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.  Were you walking to your car late at night? Not your fault.  Were you wearing a mini skirt and a halter top with the girls on full display?  Still not your fault.  Were you forced by your boyfriend, whom you’d had sex with previously?  Still not your fault.  Were you drunk?  Still not your fault.  Did you say no and then, eventually, just let it happen because he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer?  Still not your fault.  Did you walk naked down the middle of the street in broad daylight? STILL. NOT. YOUR. FUCKING. FAULT.  Keep telling yourself that and surrounding yourself with people who will tell you the same thing until you 100%, right down to the ground, without reservation, believe it.  It was not your fault.  Believe it.

So, long story short, college is a wonderful opportunity for you to explore yourself, the world at large and the knowledge it contains.  It is a gift.  Try not to take it for granted and try to use it wisely.  You will mess up.  You will make some epic mistakes.  But you will learn.  And, hopefully, look back fondly on this formative time in your life – as I do.  Congratulations and good luck!