Believing Female Friends Are A Threat – And Being A Guy’s Girl.
Editor’s Note: When submitting this story, Rebecca asked that it be categorized under either “body image” or “straight up detrimental insecurities.” After reading it, I want to file it under, “my entire life.” Rebecca Parker blogs at raisondetre.tumblr.com. OH & PS. We’re having a party on Instagram! Our username is ‘goodwomenproject.’– Lauren
For more years that I would like to admit, I was not friends with many girls. I was the one that hid behind the, “I am just better friends with guys” phrase.
My primary reason for this was a humbling combination of intimidation and jealousy of other girls. My secondary, or nay, completely and arbitrarily tertiary reason, was that I drank whiskey and liked to rockclimb and camp, and well, it’s harder to find girls that are into those things.
But deep down, I believed that no boy would ever see me if I hung out with other girls, especially really pretty ones.
I was more gangly than proportional, more shy than garrulous. I was a great student, but not very driven. A good athlete, but not too motivated. I was hyper opinionated – when opinions made you no friends. I was as average as a high school girl could get. And of course, I got burned by boys. Particularly I got burned by the boys who chose girls that could offer things I couldn’t in high school: style, grace, beauty, an unwavering sense of laissez-faire cool.
It wasn’t until college when opinions were respected and convictions were appreciated that the male species took note of my form. Boys actually started to notice me, and in defense of what was finally happening, I continued to keep women at an arm’s length distance away.
Again, it made sense: rock climber, whiskey drinker, “please cook my steak rare” eater. I hid here. Boy-ish attributes meant no girlfriends needed! “I am just better friends with guys,” I stammered for years and years.
So, I shirked friendships with girls thinking they were some threat to my potential, and hopefully flourishing romantic life. I crucified other women because it was easier than finding confidence and security within my self.
Now that I can see more clearly, a few years out of college, living, working, loving and surviving on my own (and with my new husband), I see my relationships with other women as the collateral damage for an unhealthy view of my character.
Not until years later, when life hits at the place where you actually need people – because life is hard and rent is due and your health insurance isn’t covering all of your problems, and food is expensive, and a real relationship is difficult work, and my car is broken again, and my boss is a wack job, and I’m trying and I’m trying and I’m still feeling lonely and tired and so tired, and because life is hard – did I see that I was a selfish, selfish fool. And that I had been missing so much for so long.
I finally realized I needed community with other women, just as much as I needed the gift of prayer to help me through those tumultuous years. And since those first days of revelation, I have been in FRR: female relationship recovery. I have cultivated relationships with women like a good and perfect gift that keeps coming. I have been abundantly impressed and humbled by these new relationships. Once I had the wherewithal and strength (from the sweet Lord Jesus) to let my guard down, I was able to feel known and supported by many women.
And in the most perfect ironic twist of all, I got married at the height of my FRR. In a cosmic sense, I have learned that the men who I have dated, and the man who I married, was made to be with me, not some other her. My husband’s personality and character reflect my personality and character. He respects me. I respect him. He thinks I am grand. And, well, I reciprocate. He sees me in the room, while all the other faces and places blur. And I am taken, to have and to hold, as one girl amidst a sea of them. And when he pursued me (and yes, he really pursued me – for months!?) I had tons of gorgeous girlfriends with incredible character and wit.
Over the past few years, in this hard realistic place of life, I see my relationships with other females as exactly as they should be: utterly unparalleled and vitally necessary. They are my lifeblood and my encouragement. They are my understanding and my nearness. These women fight for my marriage, and fight for my heart and peace. They pour my wine, and listen to me cry. They carry the burden of life upon their backs with grace and beauty.
I understand now that women have the distinct ability to hold life within their bones – all of it tied together and warmed and fostered. There is a wholeness to women that brings the tragedy and comfort of life together in a glorious unity – a gentleness and a mountain-movin’ strength. We should celebrate our femininity as much as we celebrate our potential and our tenacity.
So when I hear a fellow female say, “Oh, I just get along better with men,” my blood heats up just a bit because that phrase means a lie to me. And I want to say that I can handle a highball of neat scotch with the best of them, but don’t think that I or other women are less. Don’t think women have less strength, less fortitude, less charisma and less humor. Don’t think that women can’t eat as much, can’t run as fast, can’t smoke cigars, and can’t drink dark beer. We can actually do all of that pretty damn well.
I am glad I didn’t hide forever in my fears and insecurities. I am a better person – wife, sister, daughter, friend- because of it. Because I am not alone in this womanhood journey, and my dear, new-ish friends, they are a little less alone too.
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