I have said, on occasion, that I’m not good with girls. I mean to say that, in my life, I have found myself more often hanging with the boys rather than as part of some lady brigade. I’ve never had a group of girl friends, no troupe of lady friends to embark on adventures with. Picking bridesmaids was never a tough decision.
In my pre-teens, I was the lone girl, minus the occasional tag-along little sister, in group of six. I was comfortable there, as the only girl. Boys, I understood. They didn’t mind getting dirty. Didn’t mind cursing and spitting. Didn’t screech or squeal when we happened upon snakes, frogs or earthworms. I felt comfortable with the boys.
In adulthood, I picked a career dominated by men. Sure, women have done an exceptional job infiltrating our armed forces, but it’s still very much a man’s world. More often than not, I’m the lone female, the lone lady Soldier in a room full of men. I’m comfortable there too. I know what to expect.
And it’s not that I don’t like women or that I’ve never had lady friends. On the contrary, my feminist feelings run deep and rule much of my thought process. I’m of the mind that women are amazing, strong and capable and all of the best friends I’ve had have been amazing women. They have all been brilliant in their own ways, smart girls, strong girls, beautiful girls who were (and are) forces to be reckoned with. Each one, from my very first best friend in grade school, to the girls who shaped the start of my adolescence and teenage years to the women who highlighted my high school and college years, have left indelible marks on the person I have become.
I’ve just never been very good at the girl stuff, at least not the group girl stuff or the girl stuff movies are made of.
In recent years, there hasn’t been much girl time. Not really. My life shifted, enormously, on its axis, and everything changed. Everything. My best friend became my husband and after a restructuring of my entire existence, I didn’t have many girls left in my life. Friendships that were still there seemed distant and frazzled and after a year spent overseas, it was hard to pick up where I’d left off. I’d changed, without a doubt, and was still very much coming to terms with the person I was becoming.
In the years since my triumphant return to the States, I’ve picked up a few lady friends along the way and restarted relationships I’d previously neglected. Some of the new lady friends were neighbors, others were internet loves turned real-life loves and then I went to Vegas and spent four days with not just a group of women, but an entire fucking herd of women. And it was okay. It was better than okay. It felt like a culmination of wishing and hoping. There I’d been, wanting a troupe of ladies to tramp about with and then the internet plopped a whole herd of them into my life. Just like that.
Funny how things work sometimes.
I guess the point is there I was thinking all this time that I’m just not good with girls, that I don’t do girly things very well, and then I woke up yesterday morning and realized that my whole weekend was filled with girl time and yard sales and brunch and mimosas and I realized that somewhere, while I wasn’t looking, I stopped anticipating the things I’m allegedly not good at and just started living my life. I think, on a certain level, I was cheating myself, selling myself short and just assuming that I wouldn’t like the girl stuff, or that I wouldn’t be good at it. I’ve worked hard to build up this image of myself that includes excessive use of the f-word, a rough and tough attitude and the ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and I take pride in my ability to hang with the boys, but that’s not all that I am.
Sometimes it helps to take chances, to stop calling friendships that blossom flukes and just accept that we’re only bad at the things we don’t allow ourselves to be good at.