Here’s the word. Surround yourself with women who are going to support you, but still call you out when you’re looking “crazy”. Let me tell you how I love the young women that I grew up with. There is something about having friends that you have known since childhood that doesn’t compare.
Now here’s the background for your reference.
Geraldine and Mitzy are my two best friends. And no, I don’t love one more than the other. They bring two different personalities to the bestfriendship lol We’ve known each other since Gratigny elementary school, went on to North Dade Middle school, and then Turner Tech high school (though Geraldine left after our sophomore year to finish her studies at SAS). Geraldine lived walking distance from my house and Mitzy lived 2.9 minutes away by car.
Sasha and Monica are also two of my closest friends. Sasha and I have known each other since North Dade Middle school (but would later attend Micheal Krop for high school, and then SAS with Geraldine). Monica, I’ve known since freshman year of high school, but she also went on to SAS to complete high school.
Geraldine, Monica, and Sasha would come to attend the University of Florida with me, while Mitzy, decided to go to the University of Miami (*shrugs* I guess). Now, college is tricky because it’s such a weird period in our lives. It’s more than just about getting a degree, it’s about going through a cycle of exceptional and unfortunate events to help you on your journey of becoming an adult. You go from living in a sheltered environment to then one day you’re thrown into a situation where you are forced to “figure ish out”. Figure out how to be an adult when just yesterday the public school system and your parents were telling you what to do and how to do it. But now, in college, you have to make the distinction between the right and wrong steps because one bad move can leave a stain on your “transcript of life”. My girls and I had to figure all of this out, all while being first-generation college students, with no major direction from our parents. However, we relied on each other.
Geraldine, Monica, Sasha, and I (and sometimes Mitzy when she’d visit) would find sanctuary in our “1311” apartment living room. This is where we reflected on some of our troubling life experiences, laid out some of our deepest fears, discussed our struggles with college, and admitted the insecurities that we held in our hearts. But, the living room was also where we often found ourselves sharing hours of laughter and twerkin’ sessions late into the early morning.
Now for those who don’t know – more background – I grew up as an only child. My two younger half-sisters lived in Philly and I was my mother’s one and only. Therefore, I didn’t have that experience of growing up with siblings, so my friends became my sisters. The thing about childhood friends, you never have to give a backstory because they were probably right there with you when the events took place. They know how you hurt, they cry when you cry – and boy did we do a lot of crying. We would pick each other up when we were at our lowest. We were the friends who would obnoxiously scream “yassssssss” to each other because we loved to see our friends succeed and slay. We’re also the friends that get mad when someone in our circle does not tell us when they are hurting.
For instance, there was this particular summer during undergrad where Sasha and I were strugglingggggggg lol (we can laugh about it now, and we slightly laughed about it then, but it’s pretty sad lmao). The only thing Sasha and I had in the apartment was each other. Monica had left to do a semester of study abroad, Geraldine was working as an orientation leader for the University so she was living on campus, and Mitzy was miles away in Miami. Now, fast forward 5 years, Mitzy and Monica learned in detail of our “struggle summer”. And though Sasha and I found humor in the situation, Mitzy and Monica were far from amused. In fact, they were livid. They were upset about the idea that they were a phone call away and we had not reached out to them for support. I guess at the time it didn’t seem too grandiose of a situation to Sasha and I.
However, it was at that moment I realized, dang sis and sis is really here for us lol
Now, don’t get me wrong, I made a few more friends in college. Ladies whose friendships I truly value. I mean, one of them made me a godmother to this beautiful little queen.
But at the same time, the people who were there when you were an awkward teenager are going to understand your journey a little bit more.
So create a circle of positivity with people who will encourage and support you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be childhood friends, I was just fortunate enough to have things play out that way. However, this experience taught me that you must have a strong group of women that will uplift you and will relish in your success. Too often, we see women tearing other women down. When really, especially in this climate, we should be helping to fix each other’s crowns and helping those jewels to sparkle.
In all of this, I do want to say that there are going to be some people that you will fall off with. No bad blood and never a formal understanding of what happened to the friendship, but you still have love for them in your heart because they played a significant role in your life and helped shaped you to be the person that you are today. Sis, if you’re reading this know that I love you, 03.25.