Female solidarity is on trend in 2016. I feel it’s neatly summed up by Hillary’s campaign slogan: I’m with her.
I’ve always had a solid, great group of female friends. Going to an all girls Catholic convent school meant I was surrounded by girls, and we bonded effortlessly in that most stereotypical of adolescent environments.
In college, I found myself in the company of like-minded girls from entirely different worlds and now, four years after graduation, I’m still in touch with dozens of them.
And again in New York I’ve been lucky enough to meet even more incredible women. Only in the last six weeks have I realized how truly great they are, and how truly strong a force the female friendship can be.
When people talk about break ups, they tend to use very particular language. The general terminology is that you are “going through” it, which always makes me think of a huge traffic jam.
You need to be patient, not get road rage, try not to crash and burn, and eventually you will get through it. Or, as my mother says in place of cookie-cutter advice, “cliché cliché cliché.”
For each piece of clichéd advice, I find a sarcastic retort or negative remark to cut it down and point out its uselessness.
The point is, when you’re in the middle of that jam, it seems like there will be no way out. Focusing on the fact that the lights will change, the traffic will dissipate and you will finally reach your destination is entirely ineffective when all you can see in front of you is more time being stuck. Unable to move, unable to progress, unable to go forward.
There’s plenty more fish in the sea? I never want to see another fish again. I hate fish.
I’m better off without him? Then why do I feel like my insides are being simultaneously poisoned and scrambled.
I deserve better? Anyone does. Everyone does. No one deserves to be treated badly. Pointing that out when the damage is already done only serves to highlight the injustice of it all.
The worst is when you have been cheated on, badly, and people resort to petty comments about the appearance and intelligence of the other woman -- or in my case, women. Plural. None of it helps.
And that’s why none of my formidable friends went there. There were no clichés, no catty comments and no meaningless rubbish. There was only support, and it was the specific kind of support that was especially tailored for my sensitivities that showed me just how well they know me, and just how close we are.
One friend had gone through something similar last year and willingly sat on my kitchen floor with me at 4 a.m. eating pizza and comparing notes. Another practically confiscated my phone to make sure I didn’t send any form of communication that I would regret.
Others offered sleepovers, alcohol and a consistent stream of company to make sure I was never left alone for too long. I received Skype calls from all corners of the world and I had never felt so supported.
A huge pitfall of becoming single is the association between the word “single” and the word “alone.” People are afraid to break up because they’re afraid to be alone.
So, in some cases, they stay together for far longer than they should, eventually making themselves and each other miserable. In other cases, they cheat, lie, and keep their partner in the dark.
The funny thing is, now that I’m single, I feel far less alone than I did in a relationship. Finding out that I had been betrayed was the worst thing that could have happened, but being set free was the best.
My eyes have been opened to all of the amazing relationships that can be forgotten when your focus is so heavily on only one person. I became blinded to the friends that I was losing, and then was blindsided when that one person turned out to be someone entirely different.
Now my eyes are wide open and the world is flooding in. At this age, in this millennial world, where everything is fleeting and temporary and strange, romances may come and go. But there are so many factors that can get in the way.
As a generation, we have so many options, so many opportunities. It’s not like our parents’ time where your twenties were spent settling down, starting a family and a mortgage.
Now it’s all about finding yourself, discovering adventures and forging a path that might not seem clear until you hit 30. The chances of holding onto something so slippery as love throughout this mess are slim to none. But friendships, from what I can see, only grow stronger and stronger as we push through this traffic jam together.
As the calm begins to sweep in after the breakup storm, I couldn’t feel less alone. I feel more loved, more supported, more seen and more heard than ever before.
My mistake was relying on one person for everything and not looking around and seeing how much more was on offer. A traffic jam alone is a nightmare.
A traffic jam with friends is just a really long party. Just roll down the windows and let the love flow in.