I’m a firm believer in the concept that people come into your life for a reason. I don’t mean that in the whimsical hope that a boy I slept with once might have come into my life in order to teach me about myself. No. This is for the Ladies. This is for the true-blues who shake me up and force me to look at myself through their lenses.
These are the people who shape us. Sometimes they come into our lives in second grade and grow with us and help to reassure us the shitty phases we went through don’t deserve our continued self-punishment. Other times, they’re the person we get matching tattoos with on the promise to always return to each other in life. Or maybe you happen to meet on the second day of college on the third floor of an all-girls dorm, and they refuse to let you remain the moody stranger in room 236.
Today, as I ended yet another call with one of the aforementioned women in my life, I once again sat cheerfully in awe at what a turning point her presence was in my life. We got off the call (I had successfully pre-date pep-talked her, as a best friend does) and I thought, “God, I love who I am when I’m chatting with her.” Then an immediate follow-up thought of “who would I be without her?” ricocheted for a moment in my mind. Then I slammed on my brakes before nearly rear-ending the Mercedes in front of me and decided to write about this epic friendship while not speeding down the South 5.
Let me preface this with a statement I believe in wholeheartedly: Martha Muriel Landry is quite possibly the world’s greatest human being. I say this with no hesitation whatsoever and the knowledge that she will be completely baffled and immediately slightly embarrassed when she reads this. But I say it because it’s true. I am so proud to say that Martha has played a significant role in helping me to develop the best parts of myself: the educated, inquisitive, “let’s make the better world a better place” side. Her positivity and open mind is contagious, along with her finger guns and peace signs. She taught me that you don’t have to compromise being kind to be a badass. And that tie-dye t-shirts are appropriate for any occasion. I like to think I’ve taught her a thing or two as well, but I’ll let her speak to that.
Reflecting on our friendship got me thinking about why I feel it is so balanced and successful. The below outlines the five main values of our friendship and how I feel they relate to the success of many positive, healthy female relationships.
- We build each other up. Whether in the form of over-the-top compliments or serious praise, we make sure the other feels good about herself. We know just how important it is to have someone to remind you how kick-ass you are sometimes. This includes the absence of any down talking. I do not speak ill of Martha and I don’t let her speak negatively of herself either. It’s hard to convince yourself of your own worth and it’s easy to believe negativity about yourself. That’s why we make sure when those negative thoughts start spewing out, the other person is ready with kind words, hugs and the occasional sparkly card in the mail saying “you’re top shelf!”
- We tell the truth. Building each other up doesn’t mean lying to one another. We are honest with each other and speak freely at all times; yet I don’t feel afraid of judgment from her. Truth telling and judgment are not equals. If we disagree, it’s talked about. If I don’t like something going on with her, and vice versa, it’s out there. When I’m struggling with a decision on what to buy, she will let me know the dress that isn’t as flattering on me.
- We make time for each other, no matter what. I can’t go 48 hours without a dose of Martdawg. If I have a moment of spare time, I instinctively grab my phone to dial her. Even if it’s five minutes of speed-talking, I need to go over every mundane detail of our lives with her so we can verify we both still like cheese. Making the other feel prioritized in a hectic life shows that we put each other first.
- We push each other to continue bettering ourselves. The first time Martha asked to hang out she wanted me to go on a walk and pick up garbage with her. I refused outright because I was too cool to care and now if you DON’T RECYCLE THAT BOTTLE I WILL MURDER YOU. SAVE THE PLANET, OKAY? Martha sends me articles and educational resources and we have open discussions on this topic. I love that we both care aggressively about different causes and we expect support, understanding and encouragement from the other.
- We want to see the other succeed. Even more so, we believe the other can succeed! We’re at the peak of our adult lives, with endless opportunities on the horizon and the other at our side. Martha made a great point that we help each other pursue success in a realistic way, not just from a “you can do it attitude.” We act as both the other’s number-one-fan as well as their chief officer of strategy and execution.
The thing about strong female friendships is that they create strong females. In a society that often showcases women slamming each other for their personal choices and promoting the idea of “frenemies,” it’s important to find women who will positively reflect who you are to yourself. To find friends who will act as your pillars for the best and worst parts of yourself equally because they love you more than any bad decisions or embarrassing moment, and won’t capitalize on your shortcomings.
Every lady deserves this type of friendship. Cheers to finding the Martdawg to your pAlicat.