Wednesday, June 20, 2012

wise word wednesday

friendship, sacred friends

"Every man passes his life in 
search after friendship."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I have made some really great connections with people on Twitter. I share similar interests with many. They are writers and runners and super hero/supernatural/comic nerds and insanely sarcastic people. But there is also a group of women out there who have a very different background than mine. They are women of faith. I on the other hand am an agnostic who has always struggled with faith...of any kind. And while at first I wasn’t sure how my views and posts would mesh with theirs, I have discovered getting to experience their views on life is not such a bad thing for me.

So when I saw a post about cross gender friendships from one of these women of faith, I thought I should check it out. While I didn’t know what about cross gender friendships it would talk about, I figured it would be an interesting read because I have guy friends…and lots of them. Little did I know how close to home the article would hit.

As I dove into this post and a few other related ones, I discovered within the Christian community, cross gender friendships are often frowned upon. The posts themselves actually sprang from a gathering of Christians who met in support of cross gender friendships. But while their meeting was about the positive things born from such friendships, stories of the difficulties and failures of these friendships were also abundant.

The struggles and stories resonated deep in my bones as I have recently been told I can no longer talk to one of my good, good friends simply because I’m a girl and he’s a boy. And while these posts have helped me move out of my self wallowing stage, I am however still filled with the anger towards these absurd views about friendships.

Like I said, I have lots of guy friends. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I learned at a fairly early age I often had more in common with boys. By high school I had spent too many years in female friendship drama and was already running with the male pack. It was never a big deal…until now. Now I have (or had) a friend, a friend who is a boy, who I’ve known well for over 5 years now. I knew going in that his spouse thought it was weird for girls and boys to be friends. And I got that. I really did. So I tried for years to get us to hang out as couples. I figured if she could get to know me as a person, she would change her mind. I threw out invites to parties and BBQs and movies and concerts and art museums. Nothing. We had foster boys for 7 months and, because they have kids, I then I tried to set up kid stuff...parks and baseball games and zoo trips. My boys unfortunately never got to meet their boys. And then after years of trying, suddenly his spouse decided he can no longer be friends with me. And as far as I can tell, its just because I’m a girl.

It is what it is I suppose, but here’s the thing that gets me. I thought we lived in a world where we, as women, fight against being objectified. Where we fight for the world to see us for what we stand for, how we think and what we have to offer as people...not just as just a woman. But here I am, suddenly and unexpectedly, objectified by another woman. And it makes me sad I never got to be seen as the strong, independent woman I am. The woman who has so much in common with this other woman its not even funny. But instead of our two families spending time hiking and being outdoors and sharing in all the things friends share, I have instead lost a great friend.

What I choose to do though, instead of continuing to wallow in this hole of objectification, is to celebrate the friendships I DO have. I choose to celebrate the women who, even though I was friends with their husbands first, see me as the passionate, really cool person I am and welcomed me into their lives. The women whose kids love me and the husband. The women who have only just met me but are willing to let their husband blindly jump into a business venture with me.  The women who ask me for advice. The women who believe in what I stand for and who I am as an individual. 

Life is hard enough as it is and good, good friendships are almost impossible to come by. I would love to think we can move past gender and just choose to spend time with the really great people we meet along the way, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl.


Zoe M. said...

Loved this, because I've lived it.

Word Girl said...

Stinks huh?