I never considered myself a collector, but it seems I have been collecting valuables nonetheless over the years. Not material things, but a group of women (you know who you are) that inspire me and accept me for who I am. Every woman in my life serves me as much as I serve them, we remind each other that female camaraderie is not to be taken for granted, but nurtured (especially in Miami). Growing up here I quickly made great friends who stuck with me through different phases in life, and most importantly didn’t take it personal when I got busy. Picking up right where we left off is one of the essential qualities in great friendships.
Recently, I made a new friend, and immediately felt she understood me—which made it very easy to be open with her about who I am, and how I feel—but I got the distinct impression she had not met many women as genuine or caring in some time. It made me sad to think a sweet girl like her doesn’t girl-mance or open herself up more often. Flattered by the sweet compliment I began to give thought to the idea of women being more guarded in general. I’ve come to accept that we are not all as comfortable with being “out there” with our thoughts and feelings. This may come from fear of being judged or information being gossiped about, but at the end of the day, who gives a shit?! Rule number one in knowing whether a person is worth your time is being your unfiltered self, then pausing for reaction. As women, it seems we are the first to judge each other harshly rather than appreciate our differences. So long as this person doesn’t insult your better judgment, your abuelita or everything you stand for is it really asking too much to have a sense of compassion? You may not necessarily have the instinct to want to braid her hair and become BFFs, but don’t be so hasty or withholding of your kindness. One of my best and longest lasting friendships began in a typical catty Miami girl fashion, with a little drama and bitchiness. Flash forward 9 years; she was a bridesmaid in my wedding!
A guiding principle in meeting (and collecting) the fine women in my social repertoire has been this: The universe places people in your life for a purpose, one of which is to teach you a lesson about compassion and expand your self-awareness. These relationships are the ones who bring true perspective, and don’t just agree with you to avoid confrontation. These are the mirrors you desperately need to bring out the best in you. Those who are able to pick up on your good nature make it easy to be yourself, but it’s most important to be open when the fear of being judged is present—this is how we grow and hold true to who we are. If someone wants to judge me over a past experience or perspective I have, I’m ok with that. I don’t have to throw more negativity or judgment in the mix. You can never lose when you are being true to yourself because real recognizes real.
So next time you’re out and about in the thick of socializing, branch out, don’t judge, be kind, and keep it real ya’ll. You may just meet your new bestie!