Girls on fire

Sometimes, I sit around with my girlfriends and I’m amazed by the fact I know such strong and astonishing women. Women whose strength and individuality shines so bright that you’ll will be blinded. Women who will not dim their shine for anyone, but also know how close ranks and be that great girl gang that we all need and should have in our lives. I’ll be first one to say that I’m pretty weird about the people I choose surround myself with. After years of maintaining toxic and sometimes dangerous friendships, I was able to rid myself of them and rebuild my inner circle with people who meant the world to me. I used to be such a people pleaser, and because of that I pretty much lived off others’ approval of me. I had this idea that friendship, or any relationship for that matter, meant that I had to put their needs ahead of mine.I thought that suffering and sacrificing in silence would make me some sort of Mother Theresa (probably one of one most fucked up ways I’ve treated myself), but instead I became depressed, unhappy and resentful. No one noticed my martyrdom and when they did notice they didn’t give any kinda fucks about them.  The way I felt about myself was a reflection of the people I chose to surround myself with, and many of them were absolute garbage.These friendship didn’t cause me to have low-self esteem but they were made because of low my self-esteem.

Friendships, just like romantic relationships, can be emotionally toxic and abusive. It’s never easy to come to the realization that these relationships must end, no matter fucked up or how better off you’d be. As women, we still struggle to find a balance between being “nice” (I hate that word) and and complete ball-busting bitch (which, honestly is the best way to live because bitches get things done!) and this affects our friendships as well, especially when it comes to how other women perceive us. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about! Nothing was said but looks were exchanged…And here comes the insecurities and the many questions and thoughts literally washing over you in a matter of seconds. It’s amazing the power that we are willing to give to complete strangers and even friends over the way we feel about ourselves. As long as no one hates up, we’re good with taking friendship scraps from undeserving bums…

Finding my own love and respect of self came from many years of letting other treat me as badly as they wanted to as long as I had their approval and a fraction of their attention. I can’t quite recall what the catalyst was, but I know that I got to a point where I couldn’t ignore the feelings of self-hatred and disappointment anymore. I needed be around people who didn’t expect a single thing from me but my friendship and love, which wasn’t easy. It meant spending a lot of time alone, looking inward and asking myself what are the things that I want from people who essentially will be my family. I came to some very easy conclusions about friendship:  if you’re surrounded by people who claim to be your friends and you feel at your loneliest and lowest when they’re around, these people are not your friends. If you find yourself giving to someone who can never give back to you unless it favors them in some way, these are not friends. A friend is someone who shines a light not only to help you find your way in the darkness, but also will be by your side while you’re trying to find your way. They will cheer you on and support you when needed and they will love you when you’re having a hard time loving yourself. We are all deserving of love but the question is and always will be do we love ourselves enough to know it…

 

 

 

 

 

*Illustration by Brad Amorosino

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