Why is it that, in our admiration of well known women, or our support of women in our wider communities, we forget to support those around us? Occasionally, friendships between women become rivalries, evolving into twisted dynamics of superiority and inferiority. A friend’s achievement becomes a personal loss, your happiness a bitter jealousy. This is far from a generalization of female friendships; I’m fortunate to be friends with some incredible women whom I admire and love to support. However, sometimes these friendships break down, and you find yourself losing somebody important.
Losing a friend can be harder than a breakup. It is strange not having somebody who used to be an important part of your life around anymore. It is weird not talking to them everyday, not knowing what they’re up to. But it can also be incredibly liberating. You know that cliché of cutting your hair off after being dumped? That feeling is eerily similar to the one after the end of a friendship; it’s a need to establish your own autonomous identity. But rather than creating a new identity, I’m finding the one I lost along the way.
It’s hard not to get lost in friendships. There is comfort in the familiarity, ease in the dependency. And while losing them initially feels like you’ve lost something important, you’ll soon find that maybe that ‘something important’ shouldn’t have been there at all. Though saying that doesn’t make the loss any easier to process. The loss of a friend is harder than a break up in lots of ways. You know that nobody cheated, and nobody fell out of love. Perhaps you just grew in different directions, unable to reach back to each other from your new selves. There’s nobody to blame. Although that would be easier.
Friendship breakups are hard. You find yourself shouting things you though you’d never say to that person, or feeling pain you never thought they’d inflict. Not on you, anyway. You can’t even blame it on them being an idiot guy, or get over it by crushing on someone new. But maybe we should view losing friends as break ups. We should eat the ice cream, cut the hair, mourn the loss. Because that’s what it is.
It is sad when you find yourself not able to support another woman anymore. When you find yourself judging their actions, using the dreaded ‘B’ word. Knowing they’re probably doing the same to you. After all the talks about feminism, and all these big ideas about working as women, together, in the arts, all the while having them slowly, but surely knock your confidence, have you question your abilities, make you feel less than you are. A friendship that seemed perfect on the surface really just hid a mess going on deep down below.
Friendship fall outs are hard, especially between women. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we need to support those around us. Yes, it’s important to campaign and protest for national, international and universal women’s rights. But perhaps it’s about time we start looking around us at the women we see every day. Tell a mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin that you admire her, tell your bestie why she’s a good friend, tell a stranger your like her outfit, her hair, anything. Look around you at the incredible people you’re surrounded by, and don’t take them for granted.