There are so many love affairs in this life. For instance, I have an ongoing love affair with thin mint Girl Scout cookies—I will selfishly not share the box(es) I buy and honestly, I normally consume, in one sitting, enough to kill a diabetic. It’s wrong, I admit it. But thin mints are literally too legit to quit (and if you love them too, we probably can’t be friends because I won’t share. Period. Worse, I wouldn’t be above stealing them from you. Also, I’d make no apologies about said stealing either. #sorrynotsorry)
I also have a love affair with music, more preferably my apple playlists. The quote, “can’t explain, but I’ll find a song that can” has almost become the mantra of my life.
But most importantly, I have an ongoing love affair with my tribe of women. These are the women who give me life.
As a collective whole, they offer the best entertainment (the laughs that rival any ab circuit), advice (with wine), and therapy (that doesn’t cost $150 an hour and is just as golden). They let me exist in a space free of judgment, but have no qualms about telling me when I’m wrong without abandoning me, or chalking me up as a lost cause–even when I play the same broken record on repeat.
These women’s shoulders have held my sobs and squeezed me just as tightly when I succeeded as they do when I failed. This circle of women, these beautiful souls, fill the emotional gaps that exist in marriage. This pack of fierce lady wolves have grown me, celebrated me in ways I could never repay. And my life is so much better for it.
Half a year into my thirties, the truest gift I’ve learned to date, would be understanding that women are one of the most beautiful creations. Period. We are all things gorgeous, better we get “it” and the ugly. And best, we can speak to it. There is nothing in this world like having a tribe of women who love, support, uplift, and honor women.
And as the mother of four daughters, this is a celebrated truth I wish to impart on my daughters–the liberation, power, and love that comes from the bond of having a strong connection to a tribe of trusted women is a sacred gift. It’s a love affair that rivals very few others.
If I celebrated all of my tribe in this blog post…it would be a tomb and most likely take Proust’s Guinness record, so in lieu of that…I’ll settle on highlighting one. Strictly because if not for her, I don’t know that I would love women how I love them today. In truth, because of this, this woman has made me a better mother–which is an invaluable gift.
To date, I haven’t written about her specifically, probably because she’s the thin mint of friends, and I’m not good at sharing those. Ever. (And in a sick way, I’d hurt anyone that steals her. She is mine. *insert the knife emoji here*)
But, I have to celebrate her…it’s how I love. It wasn’t until my twenties that I understood that a loving rhetoric, words of affirmation, was my default love language for all of my relationships. I believe we should celebrate individuals for who they are versus trying to hide who they are not.
I love through words in all aspects of my life. And because of that I can often be that “person” that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives: the inebriated friend that will make an incessant declaration of love, usually tearfully reciting how much they love a person…except I’m not drunk when I “overshare” why I adore a person. #imkindofalunaticbutlovemethroughitokay
I think it’s partially derived from the word loving harpy within me (that imaginary sparkly crown wearing,
tequila wine consuming, type B personality, “I’ll keep you wild” woman that flits and dances on a string of romantic and cruel words inside my skull, and who is constantly at war with “domestic Sarah.” She makes me fun, but oh so hard to love at times).
But Melissa has loved me through all of it and still to this day, answers my phone calls.
I can’t remember the first time I met her (which family function it was). Nor remember having an epiphany that she was the ultimate friendship goals when I hugged her at my wedding, after saying “I do” to her sister’s son.
Truth was, I didn’t know over the course of the next decade that I’d grow to deeply adore and love this woman on a level that is two seconds shy of creepy. Honestly, I think I fell in love with her and she had no choice but to be my close friend.
By fate, our husbands’ careers brought us together and often kept us in the same towns. And as a result, I clung to her. Which means I probably invited myself over, arrived at lunch, and then was that awkward friend that way overextended their stay (yep, I probably stayed past dinner, too) but (if I did that) I couldn’t help it. She is one of those people…you crave their presence. And finally, after a decade of friendship, I think I’ve finally figured out why I’m so captivated by Melissa.
She is that woman, the alluring one who owns every piece of her existence. I haven’t met anyone, to this day, that owns “human” like her.
And being witness to the sight…it’s enchanting. She doesn’t waste time mulling over imperfections, plotting bullshit, tearing anyone down, obsessing, or being a victim of anxiety. She just lives.
Yet, she is a vivacious conundrum, because she is the most laid back person I know. She is beautiful, an awesome mama and wife, has the soft soul of a hippie (and is always the giver to anyone in need), holds the wisdom of a 100-year-old grandma that has lived an exciting life and learned from it and isn’t afraid to share what could rip your heart or bless your soul. She holds an inner spark of life that makes her the life of the party, but only when she chooses. She doesn’t own an ounce arrogance–it’s part of her enchantment. She is everything and assumes nothing.
And she is fun. Cool girl meets wallflower with a touch of mischief.
The gift of her friendship has broadened what it means to me to be selfless, showed me that thoughtfulness and openness is a responsibility to self, but so is self-respect, and taught me the art of accepting others without compromising your values.
She lets me cry, whine, bitch, and bitch some more, constantly pulls me back from the ledge, let’s me talk politics, answers all my questions I have about faith and “what does the bible say about that,” has infinite patience with all my crazy antics (like the time I called telling her that I needed help, because Trav had buried his truck, up to the frame, in mud. Thirty minutes later, she showed up, in the pouring rain, with two shovels. After a solid hour of digging in the cold pelting rain and trying not to fall face first in the mud and getting absolutely nowhere, she said, “Sis, I hate to tell you, but I don’t think we’re going to get it. But if you think we can, I’ll keep digging.”
Or the time I threw Trav an 80’s themed birthday party and asked her, dressed like a hot 80’s groupie, if she could please pick up the food at the caterers and she didn’t bat one eye–even when this meant walking into the speciality grocery store, filled of clueless people, looking like she just got done partying hard at Woodstock–green eyeshadow and crimped hair to say the least.
From being pregnant at the same time (me with my first and her with her last), for being a solid fixture (I will talk you through this) in every rough patch I’ve experience in adulthood, to choosing to stand for me against those you loved, for our Ada and Ardmore days, our vise nights, every room you’ve helped me paint and all the furniture you’ve helped rearrange, the f.u.n. we had at Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke concerts, for helping me move several times (and all the labor intensive projects I’ve roped you in and never once have you ever complained), for watching my beauties any. time. I. needed. you, for it all…
Melissa, you are one of the great loves of my life and I am so thankful for you. For your love. And your friendship. Thank you for being such a subtle vixen, a true paradox, who I immensely admire!
I love you, always.
P.S. I hope if you’re reading this that you have a Melissa in your life. Also, tell people how you feel, even if it makes you vulnerable, or them uncomfortable. Celebrate those you love, they deserve it! #trustdoesnthavetohurt