relationships · Running · Women

Rocking the Red Tent

I think this was all brought on by watching Spice World on Netflix recently. Even if you were never a Spice Girls fan, it’s wildly entertaining, and I especially recommend it if you have young daughters.

“Girl Power” has almost become a parody of itself in the last decade. People roll their eyes at it, or slap a clever hashtag on their tweets and call themselves feminists.

What would happen if we gave Girl Power more consideration? I don’t mean strutting around in platform shoes and being loud all the time. I mean appreciating the women in your life, and showing it.

Days after watching the movie, I noticed a parallel in the two morning devotional books I’ve been reading. They both emphasized the value of female friends in our lives, and the importance of nurturing those friendships.

As Kristin Armstrong notes:
“Remember slumber parties, playing with one another’s hair and talking and laughing deep into the night? That bliss of friendship is not reserved only for young girls. It is available and desirable to all of us, at any age. God knew we needed each other. He intended us to live in community and share our lives with one another. Think of the girlfriends you cherish today. Thank God for them. Call them. Write to them. See them. Love them.”

Distance doesn’t matter. Neither does the plain fact that life happens and sometimes months go by without seeing friends, even if they live in the same town. There are all kinds of ways you can maintain friendships.

Different books, different authors, same message. For two or three days in a row.

I got the hint.

I’d been meaning for months to visit a friend who moved away last fall; I finally booked that flight. I’d also been meaning to call another friend who I know is going through a tough time; I called her to check in and sent her a care package. Last weekend, I went to a bachelorette party and a jewelry party, and hung out with really cool women at each. And I had the privilege to cheer for (from afar) another friend who did a triathlon in Colorado.

None of these things took a lot of time. I had to ask myself, how often have I brushed off a golden opportunity to spend quality time with a friend(s) because I’m “too busy” or I think my man would disapprove or be offended?

Facing the answer to that question was like doing downward dog in a yoga class: horribly unpleasant, but beneficial.

I don’t want to be the kind of woman who ditches her female friends just because she’s in a fabulous romantic relationship. Or the kind of woman who makes new female friends courtesy of that relationship, and neglects the ones who knew her before. The ones who thought she was terrific with or without a man. I don’t want to wake up one morning and realize that I am completely alone in my red tent (read The Red Tent after you’ve watched Spice World).

When women support each other, phenomenal things happen. And really, truly, it doesn’t take much. It’s not necessary to schedule a twice-a-year four-day girl’s weekend at a five-star resort. A call, or email, or even just a simple “How’s it goin’?” text message can make someone’s day. And a few of those? They could be the difference between a woman being a shrinking violet and a woman who changes the world. Between a woman saying “Oh, I used to run…” and a woman who smashes world records in her 40s (last assignment, I promise: if you don’t know who Deena Kastor is, find out!).

I’m going to try harder to be a good friend. I’m going to hug my man for encouraging me in doing so. And I’m going to dust off my Spice Girls CDs and blast them.

Cheers, ladies!


4 thoughts on “Rocking the Red Tent

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