A Love Letter to the Power of Amigas

I have truly never laughed harder or been more inquisitive or smiled until my face hurt as I have because of the women in my life

female friendships

Photo: Pexels/Aline Viana Prado

I am the oldest of three children and the only girl and so for much of my childhood I think I lived in this brotherly version of myself where the WWE, fútbol, and a tomboy-ish style ruled. My first best friends were my little brothers. While part of our relationship revolved around much of what eldest daughters experience in being a second parent to their siblings, they were still the people I’d hang out with after school since my parents were the type to not allow me to be out, especially when I was in elementary school. My first friendships with girls started and ended when the bell rang at school. The way female friendships have transformed me changes depending on the eras of my life.

How I see the friendships I have formed as an adult differs vastly from my elementary school and even high school friendships with girls. The greatest difference lies in how my sense of self has changed. For the majority of my life, probably until I was about 19 years old, I had no idea who I was because I grew used to believing a certain perception of who I was.

I recall a friend in first grade who I distinctly remember being in awe of because her parents let her wear skirts to school—something my mom had pretty much convinced me was illegal. One day in particular I remember walking out to recess with her and her saying she would be the “pretty” one and I would be the “smart” one. This was something that at that time I took as a compliment because all I had ever thought about in school was school. My parents had always instilled in me the importance of education and even at that age I had somewhat of an understanding of being first-generation even if I didn’t have the words for it. So, when I got labeled the “smart” one, it made sense.

Now, as an adult I think about this moment and how I unconsciously took that brief interaction as a reflection of my worth and value in relation to my looks. So at that age, I kind of accepted the “smart” role—which to me meant that I couldn’t be pretty. This was one of my first school friendships and one of my first with a girl. My first bonding experience with someone outside of my brothers and family. I look back to all my friendships from kindergarten all the way to high school and how I, without a question, pigeonholed myself as the “ugly/unattractive” friend. I attached that label to mean that that was my authentic self—as if I had taken a personality quiz and its results too seriously.

The friendships I formed were born out of the comfort zone of school settings, girls and at times boys that I shared classes with that eventually led to lunches together and so on. I, however, felt like I wasn’t all the way there or invested and I thought there was something wrong with me. Reflecting on the time after that instance in first grade, I now understand the disconnect I felt from my friends at that time was a result of how disconnected I felt from myself. For me to form the friendships I wanted, I needed to figure myself out.

Entering college gave me my first taste of real, for lack of a better term, friendships. Outside of the sheltering atmosphere of my parents’ house and out of my hometown I was officially on my own. I had to fend for myself and start fresh which meant I could be anyone. It was during college that I gave myself the liberty to explore who I am from my music interests to clothing and movies. I opened myself up to opportunities on campus and made the effort to go to socials to make connections. It was during this time that I have met some of the most wonderful and beautiful women to ever walk this Earth. It is with these women that I have experienced the sisterhood that I missed out on in a house full of boys.

The nights getting ready before going out or spending a late night at a library studying or even the moments ranting about the same things in 101 different ways. The honest conversations about insecurities and childhoods and frustrations over how nothing ever makes sense in this world. Through my friendships, I have learned more about others and myself by simply sharing space with my friends. It is through all the shared lipgloss, the borrowed hair ties, and tiring walks up the hill that I have finally felt at home with friends who have made me feel like I can be myself.

They affirmed me in ways I had only ever imagined before that. They have helped me find the softness and it is because of them that I have little by little believed I am beautiful. The atmosphere of encouragement and love has made me feel that if they believe I deserve everything in the world and I believe they deserve everything, then why shouldn’t I believe them? They have challenged me in more ways than one, constantly making me consider my impact on the world and work to become a better person. They have established in me a greater sense of worth and raised the bar for future friendships and relationships. Unlike any friendship I had before, I found myself actually knowing my friends on a much more intimate level. Vulnerability and intimacy were not something I was familiar with at all, only through my friendships with women have I tapped into those parts of relationships. 

When I consider my female friendships, catharsis is the perfect word to describe my experiences with them. Whether it’s the most liberating laughter or angry rants or moments of sentimentality, the women in my life have fostered safe spaces for everyone to reclaim their emotions and express them with no bounds. It is like a weight is lifted off my shoulders by simply being in their presence.

The female friendships I have formed are unlike anything I have ever experienced. As I take a step back all I can say is I have truly never laughed harder or been more inquisitive or smiled until my face hurt as I have because of the women in my life. I have never met anyone, funnier, smarter, kinder, more considerate or more beautiful than the friends I have made. It is with them that I have learned so much about myself and because of them that I work to become a better version of myself constantly. I have gone on some of the best dates in my life with my friends and experienced each other’s canon events side by side. They are some of my greatest inspirations and I will never get tired of saying it.

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