I met a woman the other day, and she was awesome. At first, I was jealous; all I could see was how cute and strong and badass she was. We may have the single mom thing in common, but beyond that, all I could see was how much more awesome than me she seemed. Did I mention she was nice, too? Of course she was.
Throughout the first 30 years of my life, this would be the type of woman I would compete with or try to outdo. If others were awed by some aspect of a friend’s life or personality, I would often try to be funnier, prettier, or develop a skill that I thought would give me an edge. On the outside, I could be happy for them, but on the inside, I’d think about what I could improve, how I could stand out next time.
So in my mind, on that day, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to be friends. In fact, I was almost sure it was the opposite. The crazy-making brain of mine flashed a warning that she was a threat; we couldn’t both be pretty and funny and strong, right?
In a world where women seem to be constantly competing with each other, I have learned to do the opposite. I’ve learned that life isn’t a Disney tween show, and there can be more than one funny friend, more than one pretty friend, more than one thoughtful or athletic or artistic friend.
I have come to realize that the gifts, talents, and adventures of others do not diminish my own; rather, I am enriched by the greatness of other women in my life. So today, without hesitation, I celebrate the talented, creative, beautiful women in my life.
This is for my friend who built cool shelves in her living room, refinished her basement, and can make a mean Bloody Mary.
This is for my friend who has moved across the globe more than once with three small children in tow, and achieves goals like running 40 miles (at one time!).
This is for my friend who manages a team of 40 people at work and is firm and kind and kicks ass, and who will always be honest-even when it’s hard.
This is for my friend who is the best mom to her two adopted babies, whose faith connected them and whose love is abundant.
This is for my friend who took a 10-day solo trip to Montana, Idaho, and Canada, who has moved to cities where she knew no one and made a life, and is strong enough to make the hard decisions when she wants something more.
This is for my friend who is finishing her doctorate with two under 2 at home before she turns 31, who is passionate and inspiring and cute as a button.
This is for my friend who always remembers birthdays and sends cards or drops off gifts, and makes you feel important.
This is for my friend who leads a life of adventure and travel, and can beat almost anyone in yard games.
This is for my friend who owns a boat, works with her hands, and defies the norm while being strong and committed to all that she does.
This is for my friend who has faith. When situations are dark, kids are tough, or life feels unsettled, her unwavering faith keeps her going and gives her strength.
This is for my friend who runs this blog, who has given women a voice, who is selfless and strong.
This is for my friend who is serious and silly, who has always been prepared with an emergency fund and will dare you to eat a worm just because it’s there, who has one of the best smiles in the world.
This is for my friend who is a writer, whose words I’ve admired since we started writing together in the 7th grade.
This is for my friend who raised three kids practically on her own, who throws a great party and welcomes everyone, who is also my mom and the mom I aspire to be.
This is for my friend who has worked her way up in her business, always learning more and getting better, who has become an international leader, and who still runs a home even when she’s a continent away.
This is for my friends who are too numerous to name here but who are important role models as businesswomen, creative geniuses, loyal friends, and world shakers.
And this is for my new friend, that mom who I could have shied away from because she is just so cool. This is for her, my new source of inspiration, reminding me that it’s far more fun to add to my tribe than to compete with another, and reminding me that we can both be badasses.
I’m relieved that I’m finally at a point where I can celebrate that I know people who can do and be great, and I don’t feel threatened, because I am awesome, too. On this Galentine’s day, my wish is that you can celebrate your own greatness and that of the women around you.