Ladies! and Kayden

I was applying to some jobs earlier this week, and man am I exhausted.  It takes a lot of energy to sort through the thousands of potential jobs, draft a new cover letter, edit your resume, and get everything logical enough to submit.  Then, a bright sunbeam of a human slipped into my DMs in response to an Instagram story I had posted.

You may recall my friend Skevi, from years ago, who I met in South Korea, and who designed the tattoo on my forearm. This beautiful human not only hyped me up, but she sent me jobs that I could apply to, and then created a list that described the companies and the positions.  But that’s not all. She fucking went out of her way to help me write a cover letter with keywords, and basically made me feel like an unstoppable badass who could accomplish anything. I wanted to cry.

It’s friendships like this that have gotten me through these tough times. If I could personally thank every single person who has touched my life positively in the last year I feel like I would just be ugly crying over my laptop at how lucky I am.

It is because of lady friends, and Kayden! that I have made it through these last few months.  I want to thank everyone who has listened to me vent about work, cry for no reason, go eat with me at 10 pm, or drink wine with me after a long day.

I believe that lady friendships are vital to being a healthy and functional adult. Don’t feel afraid this year to cut some toxic motherfuckers out of your life. Something that I always seem to forget is that, not everyone has to be my friend.  I can have acquaintances who I run into, but don’t have to dedicate time to.

Though I cannot thank every single person, I want to give a few ways that you can be a wonderful friend to your homies this year.

Have a job vent session

It’s been a long day, or week, or month. Maybe work has stressed you to the point that you want to flip a table and punch walls. Set aside a night with your babes to vent about work. Especially, those who work with you or in the same industry.  Get some junk food, drinks, or just do an activity that is fun and silly.

Work is just a thing we do, but reaching out and having a job specific vent session really helps because you can get it all out.  For some of these vent sessions, it has resulted in people leaving their jobs because, hey, you’re seriously stressed and I’m worried about you, and no job is worth your health!

My favorite example of this was from working at Once Upon a Child back in college. All of us would finish closing the store and head over the Applebee’s where we could get the half off appetizers because it was after 10 pm, and ridiculous drinks for like $2. We’d laugh and complain and eat, and just get to unwind for a bit.

Our OUAC crew photo from the last holiday party

Check in about dating/relationships

This may seem like the thing you do all the time.  Your friend went on a date and you want to hear all of the details, but I’m talking about the ones who have been in relationships for awhile. Is your partner still making you smile? What fun thing are you looking forward to doing with your significant other?

As someone who ended up in a super shitty and abusive relationship, it was because I didn’t talk about how I was doing until it was too late. If I had reached out, or if someone had asked me the right questions, maybe I would have gotten out sooner.  Now I’m not implying that there is blame to be placed, but I think that if I had been more aware and communicative, I would have been in a healthier spot.

When we settle into relationships, we lose sight of why we’re even in them. You can’t just end up with someone because you’re comfortable. Are your friends with super dope humans that you’re stoked they’ve found? Shout-out to Claire and Lawrence for basically being adorable and wonderful. If you think you’re seeing signs of abuse, or things don’t seem right, BE PUSHY. Don’t think your gut feeling is wrong, because it’s not. Better to have an uncomfortable interaction, and a safe friend.

The week I was planning on breaking up with my abusive ex, I remember being on the couch with Claire and Chad. I finally let loose all of my feelings and emotions and was reassured that I wasn’t being crazy, or scared of commitment, and that my feelings were valid. Claire was able to talk about her awful ex in a safe space, and told us things that Chad and I didn’t even know had happened or were going on.  Chad spoke of his relationship struggles and of potentially breaking up with his current partner as well. It was raw, it was emotional, but most of all it validated our struggles in an environment where all three of us were able to change for the better.

Mental health check-ins

We can all be better friends to each other by asking about mental health. If you’re having an issue you want to talk about to a friend who has mental health struggles, ask if they have the emotional energy to discuss your issues. Because sometimes, they won’t, and we should respect that. There are other friends and people you can reach out to, but those of us who have mental health issues, really appreciate when you ask if it’s okay to vomit stresses onto us.

If you’re the person with the mental health issues who’s trying to reach out, I know it’s hard.  I am notoriously terrible at explaining what’s going on when I’m particularly low. But ask your friends how you can best be there for them.  Whether it’s giving 30 minutes out of your evening to just chat and ask about their day (Kayden I love you and thanks for always doing that), or sending a good morning text with fifty emoticons. It doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor, but knowing the friends who might need help, and what you can do to check-in on them is important to keep these friends around.

I already mentioned Kayden, but I want to give a shout-out to Emily, who I worked at Anthropologie with.  We both struggle with mental health issues, and she was a rock for me for so long, and I’m thankful I can do the same for her. We did a therapeutic bitch session while going to Dig ‘N Save, just venting and digging and laughing. She calls me at least once a week, or shoots me a text just to see how the job hunt is going, and how I’m feeling. I try to do the same, and even if we don’t see each other, I feel supported by her and know if I really needed help, that she would be there for me. It may seem insignificant, but those small moments of talking have done a lot for me.

Plan trips or get-togethers

My babes from college are some of the most important people in my life. We met in 2011, and they’re going to be in my life until I die. We are sort of terrible at keeping touch, but we do plan a big ole’ get-together at least once a year. It may only be a day or two, but we can eat, drink, play games, and catch up on everything.

I know it is an absolute pain to coordinate a ton of schedules, but trust me, it’s worth it.  It’s those ridiculous nights of drunken basement karaoke to Moana songs that you’ll remember and cherish. These ladies, and Kayden, can drop back into my life for 48 hours and it’s like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders. There’s love and friendship that are what gets my through every single day.

I don’t care if you only manage to get two people and yourself and you go and grab dinner and talk for four hours. Do it. Just fucking do it.

Do something nice for someone

I really don’t care if you buy you friends a round of drinks, ask them to see a movie with you, or just have a cuddle session with movies and snacks. Do something together. Reach out, and show your babes how much they fucking mean to you.

Go to that concert with your friend who doesn’t want to go alone, even if you don’t like the band. Pop over to a coffee shop and chat and edit each others resumes. Dig that beautiful humans car out of the snow because she’s wonderful and deserves the world!

I was having a rough go of it, and decided to drive to La Crosse, and then up to Minneapolis for our friend Brooke’s Halloween party. She had no idea I was coming, and we didn’t say anything, and we surprised her so hard that she cried, and honestly if that’s not how your friends react to seeing you, they’re not your best friends.

Lady friendships are the best friendships. Cherish them, and put an effort in to be there for each other.

Also one last shout-out to Anna, for being all the way in Germany and still being wonderful and reaching out as often as you do. How are you going to be a better friend this week? Let me know some stories of amazing lady friendships in the comments!

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