This past weekend I had two of my girlfriends over for dinner.
You can’t see my face right now but its BEAMING. I could literally go into four separate AND complete blog posts based on this sentence alone. It’s that significant and hopefully after reading this you understand why.
But first, let me take this down about a million notches.
I used to be poor. Like extreme poverty poor, not “I’m so broke but smell this new candle I just picked up from Bed Bath & Beyond” poor. I’m actually guilty of still saying I’m poor instead of being honest – I have not figured out how to manage my money. I need some Dave Ramsey in my life. Adding this to the ole list right now.
And then this…
Being a long-time victim of child sexual abuse it’s not terribly surprising to learn I married a man who used and abused me. I dated men, I chased after men, and I loved men who didn’t love or respect me. I clearly remember saying “at least he doesn’t beat me” and “at least he doesn’t do drugs” and meant it as progress.
I played into the role – I come from poverty, love feels like pain, and this is the life I was given – I don’t deserve more. Only that’s where things get a little backwards. I knew I did.
Fast forward to this weekend – I had two wonderful friends over for dinner and it was a HUGE deal to me.
Every morning for nearly a year I wrote “I have authentic friendships” in my Start Today Journal. I didn’t just write the words, I put intention and action towards them. Merriam Webster defines authentic a few ways: Worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; not false or imitation; true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. In order for me to build and maintain authentic friendships, I myself have to be living in my authenticity.
Let me tell you – that scared the ever-living STINK out of me. I just shared some stuff that makes most people want to cringe. Growth, responsibility, and love are just 3 of my core values. So, for me have genuine friendships and stand in my authenticity, this stuff is going to come up. It has to. It’s part of who I am and my purpose.
Which brings this all together. Back to the dinner.
We got IN-TO-IT. And by “it” I mean we talked about ALL THE THINGS.
Deep, hard, meaningful subjects were basically the topic of every discussion. I have authentic friendship means I have girlfriends that I can have deep, meaningful conversations with and not feel like I have tame it down, or play a role.
Here’s the best part. We are all very different.
Different backgrounds, different experiences, different levels of education, income, beliefs, opinions, household make-up, political stances, ideas, understandings, hair color, height – you get the point.
We are different people but have a few things in common.
- We care, and we care A LOT. We care about what is happening in the world and in our country, we care about Equality, Equity and Social Justice, our communities, our loved ones, our families, and our own self. We just care.
- We have a growth mindset.
- We know how to give space to others with different opinions.
- We like each other despite our differences.
- We like good food.
Saturday night as we sat around the fire in my back yard one of my girlfriends expressed the degree to which she feels overwhelmed by all that is happening in our country. The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hits hard. During a time that our nation seems more divided then ever, the loss of RGB has a lot of people to put it simply, terrified.
With tears in her eyes, she talked about how she wants to help, wants to make this world better, but doesn’t know what to do or where to start. She just feels the need to do something.
This kicked off a few hour discussion on various Equality, Equity, and Social Justice issues. I promise you this – we were NOT three white women sitting around a fire saying to each other “I wish we could do more” sipping Rose. We are three women having passionate conversations about very important issues and don’t always agree on the root of the problem. When we get together, there’s a TON of knowledge dropping and experience sharing taking place. The question that continued to creep back up as we dug deeper was, how do you fix this?
Our conclusion. You “be” the something and it can look something like this.
You change. You grow. You speak- up. You step in. You share your story. You share your knowledge. You lift others. You ask questions. You volunteer. You share your passions. You live with purpose. You develop diverse relationships. You dig deeper. You challenge. You learn. You check yourself. You follow your gut. You make space for others. You participate in your local government. You do whatever you can, when your moved to do it and especially when you don’t want to.
Back to that first sentence one last time. I had my girlfriends over for dinner…
Because of my history, experiences, and my own personal growth so far in this life – I have unique understandings and so do they. We each have something to offer those who have never been though and experienced life in the ways that we have. That means just simply having conversations is helping.
You can open someone’s eyes to something they didn’t know. You teach, you learn from, and then you share what you know with others. Basically, I’m saying at a minimum you have the power to not only overcome your own ignorance but help a lot of people along the way do the same.
I don’t’ know about you but It feels like a good place to start to me. And of course this one last very important thing you can do – vote this November.