… Wendy for sitting me down ten years ago and saying, “Kid, you’re gonna do big things.” I admired her tremendously. She barely knew me. This was such a gift.
… Beth for matching my intensity at every turn and for being my professionalism and graciousness role model.
… Sarah for being the person in my life who constantly asks, “What’s next for you?” and keeps me thinking about what more I can accomplish.
… JoAnna for inspiring me with her strength and bravery, and for telling me constantly that she admires me for mine.
… Bets for being willing to listen to my worries, connect me with anyone in her network, and celebrate all of my triumphs. Even the tiny, internal ones.
… Barbara for mentoring me without meaning to and showing me that a Capricorn CAN be self-employed and love it. By doing it herself first.
… Katie for her passion and insight, support and affection.
… Emily and Anne and Hanna and Gaby for knowing my whole sordid history and loving and accepting me anyway.
… Tehilah for her marvelously rambly phone messages, sage advice, and unending support. I know for a fact that if I needed her, she would hop the first flight out of JFK and be at my side in mere hours.
… Claire and Maureen and Anita and Christy for asking, “What can we do to help?” And meaning it.
… Trinity for making me think hard about my actions and their repercussions, and for her curiosity and kindness and patience.
… Annie for showing me that when you’re chasing your dreams, very little else matters. And for making me laugh my ass off.
… Christina for her gentle compassion, flexibility, and unending generosity.
… Megan for forgiving me even when she probably shouldn’t have.
… Liz for hatching big plans with me, swearing fluently with me, commiserating with me, geeking out with me.
… Autumn for reminding me that being candid is always a good idea, and that kindred spirits are rare and precious.
… Audi for being my polar opposite and mirror image all at once. And for reminding me to RELAX, for God’s sake.
… Amy for kicking ass and taking names, for cracking me up on the regular, and for inspiring me with her meticulous plans for world domination.
… Letta for being brilliant, hilarious, effusive, and unstoppable.
This week I’m thinking about the women in my life and how essential they are to my happiness and well-being. I am blessed and fortunate to have a large and loving network of women friends who do nothing but support me, encourage me, and lift me up. In a world where the media pits women against each other, focuses on competition instead of collaboration, and manufactures cat-fights to drive ratings and page views, I want to take a moment to say that I love my women friends so much. More than I can ever express in words. We stand together, we work together, and unlike the TV- and movie-depicted women we never steal each others’ boyfriends. Or thunder. Or anything at all.
I started this blog because of my women friends. I realized that I was having the same conversations over and over again about weight and body image and confidence and self-esteem. My friends struggled to feel good about their bodies in a constant and exhausting way, and I wanted to show them that they didn’t need to change themselves. Not ever. And that instead of digging into another crash diet or investing in a round of Botox, they might consider exploring dressing options that highlighted what they already loved about their bodies. And practice some daily acceptance and forgiveness. I had those conversations in person, and they helped me move toward having them in writing and in a space where they might support and validate even more women.
I write and speak and teach to empower all women including the ones I’ve never met, but the people who make that work possible and keep me going when I’m ready to throw in the towel? They’re my women friends. The people who hug me and tell me they’re proud of me and remind me to be grateful. The people whose successes thrill me, whose tragedies crush me, whose new endeavors and adventures fill me with pride and joy. The people who see me often yet are always visibly glad, or see me seldom but welcome me as if not a day has gone by.
The older I get, the more strongly I believe that it’s essential to tell the important people in your life how important they are. Tell the people you love that you love them. I tell these amazing, inspiring women that I love and value them as often as I can to their faces, or to their phones and computers. I probably do it a little more than is strictly necessary, but I’d rather err on the gushy side. If you have women in your life who support and celebrate you, I’d love it if you would take a moment today to reach out and let them know how much you appreciate them.