Middle school was rough for me. Between break-outs and boys and the exhilarating yet terrifying release out from under the protective wing of elementary school, it was quite the transition period. Topping my Seventh Grade List o’ Worries? A black kid liked me and while I didn’t think anything of it, a black girl let me know it was NOT okay for me to reciprocate affection. She made a point of telling me so while we were working on an algebra problem together at the chalkboard during class. I’m math-challenged as is, so when she informed me that races would not mix on her watch, my brain turned to mush. My face was flush with embarrassment, and had the teacher asked me to add 2+2 at that very moment, I wouldn’t have known the answer.
A few months later, the gal pals I had known since forever decided I was too much of a motherly figure in their lives and they literally broke up with me. Like, called me on the phone, each of them on a different line, and explained that I was “holding them back from having fun.” I could see where they might be right about my getting in the way of their good times. Drinking wasn’t my thing, I abhorred cigarette smoke, and my parents let it be known that if I did wrong, there would be consequences. So I guess I was a goody-two-shoes or whatever.
Starting eighth grade with zero girlfriends was my personal hell. I also had chin acne which was lovely. It was safe to say that I friggin’ hated middle school. Everywhere I looked, there were roadblocks to my happiness in the form of bitchy girls.
Then I met Jen. We didn’t have much in common at first; she was quiet and shy. I was outgoing and involved in a crap ton of activities. She had lost her mom two years earlier; I still got personalized notes from mine in my lunch bag. But time marched on and our friendship grew stronger. Sleepovers, school dances, sharing secrets–the good stuff.
Fast forward to today and Jen is still my go-to gal. We stood beside one another when we married the men we loved, we don’t think to call anyone but each other when we need to complain about those men we love, we’re Godparents to one another’s kids, and talk/text/email at least once a day, every day. We forged through very different though painful storms to find each other, and it has been so worth it.
Jen is one of the reasons I appreciate The HerStories Project so much. Without this fabulous lady in my life, I wouldn’t know what unconditional love from another female means. Sure, I have my mom and aunts, but I was never blessed with a sister. Jen is that sister.
The HerStories Project is a collection of essays compiled and edited by two other phenomenal women, Stephanie Sprenger and Jessica Smock. The pieces range from heartbreak (like I experienced when my “friends” kicked me to the curb) to stories of inspiration and hope (like my Jen). Each contributor allows us a sneak peek into her personal life by discussing the power of female friendships.
You can read about how the project came to be HERE, and check out all of the contributors HERE. And because I’m all about girl power AND Christmas*, I want to give you a copy of The HerStories Project for free! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post about your best friend, or a friend who impacted you in whatever capacity you’re willing to share. I truly believe people come into our lives when they are meant to, and stay for as long as they are supposed to. Jen and I are going on 15 years; I want The HerStories Project in your life FOREVAH!
*Please note that the chances of the winner receiving this book by Christmas are zero to Bahahahahahahaha! But I will try. Stephanie and Jessica (Stephica! Look what I did!) will choose a winner at random this Friday, December 20. The book makes a thoughtful and sentimental gift for the special ladies in your life, so if you can’t wait for my giveaway or you need more than one, snag your copy HERE!