I’ve never been much of a girl’s girl. Throughout my life, I found it a bit easier to bond with the opposite sex. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college at Syracuse University that I met my very first female best friend, and not just by title, but by character, love, support and action. Ashley and I met the first week of classes in Psych 101 (something we find ironic since we consider ourselves to be crazy).
On our first trip to the Carousel Mall the very next day, we played dress up at H&M and stuffed our faces with Chinese take-out at the food court. The rest, as they say, is history. A friendship was born, and a girl that I swiftly bonded with was soon to become family.
As the years passed, we moved to different cities and went in separate directions, yet our friendship continued to blossom and grow deeper. When she asked me to officiate her wedding, I cried, obviously. When discussing our friendship during the ceremony, I said, “We’ve been through it all together – ups and downs, joy and heartbreak.” While this was true, it wasn’t until a bit over a year later that we were both struck with the kinds of downs and heartbreak that was beyond our own comprehension of life. It was my turn first. Life threw obstacles in my direction I never thought I’d have to combat. It was a true test of friendship. Though we live 3 hours away from each other, she was with me (via phone) as I cried hysterically on the bathroom floor. A friend, a sister, an unfailing confidant, she had my back, and I had 100% confidence that she always would.
A few months later, we spoke on the phone and I began to cry (I do that a lot). I told her how lucky I felt to have her by my side and hoped I would one day prove to be as good of a friend to her as she is to me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I was put to the test. Ashley was forced to experience unthinkable tragedy. It was her turn to call me gasping, out of breath. I was there for her, I tried to calm her down, I listened and I wished I could absorb her pain so she didn’t have to feel it. When she got married, I thought we’d been through it all, but it turns out life had really only just begun. It wasn’t until I met Ashley that I learned about the true value in female kinship.
After college, I moved to Manhattan and got my very first job in television production at VH1. I guess you could say I hit the jackpot, not because the job was great, but because the people I met there changed my life forever. Naturally, my first friend at the company was a man, but in no time at all, I made a group of girlfriends, who ten years later, have become family.
Coral is a leader, brave and outgoing. She’ll tell you like it is, and unlike me, doesn’t fear authority. During my first few weeks at VH1, Coral took me under her wing. I was shy and introverted, and Coral made me “part of the group.” Over the years, our friendship blossom as I watched Coral grow from a 22-year-old night owl into a sage, mature woman. Coral is the “mom” of the group, and is soon to be real mom to a real baby. While I can’t wait to meet my “niece,” I’ve told Coral that she will be dealing with a jealous older sibling, me. Now I have to share her with an actual child? We’ll see how that goes…
VH1 also introduced me to Heather. While we became fast friends, we ultimately bonded over Twilight, and Robert Pattinson. We somehow made it on to the set of TRL Tres, two grown women surrounded by teenagers, watching giddily as R-Patz promoted his new film. It was 2008, give us a break! Heather and I bonded over books and theater and music. I’m an old lady trapped in a young person’s body, but luckily I have Heather to get me out of my apartment. She recently invited me to a show that started at 10:30pm. I told her it was past my bedtime, and yet, I went, laughed until I cried, and was able to escape my hermit-like routine. She keeps me on my toes and has taught me so much about being a strong, independent woman.
Chanel is the most positive girl in the pack. I don’t know how she does it, but she always manages to look on the bright side of things. After her (freaking adorable) baby was born, we talked about first-time motherhood. I asked her how she didn’t worry about every little thing that could happen to her child. She told me, “I can’t worry about the things I can’t control.” Coincidentally, the things I can’t control are the things I worry about most. Chanel is an enigma. She is beautiful and smart and the sweetest girl you will ever meet. But, if you dare challenge her, particularly if she’s working with a VH1 vendor on the phone, an aggressive beast appears. This girl has edge.
Ashley G. was one of the first people I met at VH1. She and Coral met me in the lobby on my very first day. I have watched Ashley get married, rise in her career, move into a lovely home and combat multiple challenges with grace. This is the kind of woman who will literally make me laugh until I cry, but also, will let me cry about stupid things without judgment. After the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, I remember sitting at my desk at NBC and feeling extremely anxious about the state of the universe. Over G-Chat of all things, Ashley was able to provide me with perspective and snap me out of an immense amount of irrational worry. Friends who understand anxiety are key!
Coral, Heather, Chanel, Ashley G and I all work for different companies now. Chanel even moved across the country. However, the unbreakable bond that developed between us is beyond special. Female friendship has taught me so much about life and love, and has proven to me that unconditional support can come from more than just family.
Happy Galentine’s Day to the five most important ladies in my life. I love you all and have no idea where I’d be without you. Thank you for teaching me the importance of female friendship and for having my back always, just as I’ll always have yours!
Buying Galentine’s gifts for your most important gals? Some ideas below:
For your anchor and wine buddy, I love the Gold Anchor Screw from Grenville Society
For the gal who’s always ready to drown their sorrows with you in chocolates, Bloombae’s!
For your friend who is perpetually late, Klasse 14!
For your BFF who listens to music everywhere, all the time, Muzen!
For the girl in your life with perfect hair, always! GHD!
I have the most amazing Valentine, but this year, I really want to celebrate the most important women in my life! How are you celebrating Galentine’s Day? As always, love hearing from you!