The thing about girls.

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.

22 thoughts on “The thing about girls.

  1. I love this:

    “…we’re only bad at the things we don’t allow ourselves to be good at.”

    Not just true of friendships, but of everything in life, don’t you think? I also believe that we’re never truly “who we are”, but instead “who we are becoming.” Which is to say, we’re constantly changing. And sometimes, the changes bring along things we never knew we wanted, and things that we now cannot live without.

  2. While I haven’t always been surrounded by guys, I definitely get along better with guys over all, so I totally know what you mean.

    I also know that awesome women are another reason I love the internet. While that may sound like a reference to porn, I’m pretty sure that you understand it’s much more of a BiSC thing.

    I mean, I don’t think I can tell you the number of times I have wanted to text you something on my way home from something crazy but the fact that I’m driving and the worry that with the time difference I would wake you keeps the phone on my passenger seat. Just knowing that you’re there TO text though is awesome and has made me feel better.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. It’s good to know that there are people out there, and that even if I don’t talk to them every day, they’re still there. I can still send you a text when I’m thinking about you, even if we live on opposite coasts.

  3. I know I started with this last time, but it holds true – I absolutely love your writing. And I love this, as Stacey noted that it’s not just about friendships but about how we see our lives. Timely post, darling. I think I just gave myself permission to be good at some new stuff.

  4. I LOVE the last line.
    “…just accept that we’re only bad at the things we don’t allow ourselves to be good at.”
    In fact, I love it so much I need your permission to copy it so I can put it into my manifesto. It’s pure genius.
    Also? You’re lovely.

  5. i think you’re pretty good at being a girlfriend, girlfriennnd! hahah
    i love the last line too. so true. except riding a bike; i’m just plain no good at that. ;o)

  6. I have always had my personal pack of girlyfriends but as I have gotten older, I’ve found it’s so much easier (and sometimes more fun) to just hang out with the guys. It’s simpler, far less drama-filled, and so much more laid back.

    Anyway, as part of the aforementioned herd (heehee), I would have to say that you are in fact JUST FINE at being a girl and doing girly things and I am glad you are going to stop second-guessing yourself. Because you are AWESOME.

  7. You’re the shit, Terra. Loved meeting you in Vegas and you can be in my troupe of lady friends any time! Your posts always inspire me to think a different way or remind me that there are other people that feel the same way as me. Love it!

    1. Thanks! You’re too sweet and I’m so glad that you were one of the first ladies I met in Vegas. I’ll always remember our airport and shuttle adventure and the nerves that accompanied them.

  8. Love this post! I was always a tomboy then hung out with mainly guys in high school.
    Women can be so catty so it does take time to find some great core girlfriends you can trust.

  9. I understand this. I’m not girly by any means. However, I’ve come to find that the lasting relationships with girlfriends also sustain me. I can hang with any men, never intimidated and always have had a large group of guy friends too.

    I still think we can find our pocket of people anywhere. Even if we’re not the most X, Y or Z. I love this post and am so happy I could meet you and see you in Vegas. That was pretty intense, right? 🙂 I think girls get a bad rap. Don’t hang with the bad ones, hang with the ones that make you laugh and treat you with respect.

    1. I agree with you that women get a bad rap, for so many reasons and I think you make a good point about hanging out with the good ones. Finding the good ones, for me, has made having lady friends such a wonderful thing.

  10. I love this. Sometimes, finding a group of girls can be so difficult. I love that you said you’ve stopped worrying about things you weren’t good at and just started living your life. It makes all the difference.

  11. H to the Izzo

    This makes me think of a baby shower I attended for a chorus buddy who I didn’t know that well. As you know, I already don’t like babies, so I felt REALLY out of my element, and I was the only one in the room who didn’t have babies or wasn’t pregnant with one. I had only met her husband besides her, and when I realized he was leaving,along with the rest of the men, I was like, nooooo!

    It was the same day as the superbowl, and all I could think was I would have felt WAY more comfortable at a football party in a room full of guys than at this baby shower.

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