By Lori Welch Brown
Hate to admit it, but I have a lot of girl crushes. Funny—my brothers probably aren’t surprised by this news. They grew a little concerned when their baby sister was still woefully single at 25, 35 and 45. Pretty sure they spent the better part of the ‘90s waiting for me to ‘come out.’ I joke, but life would have probably been easier if I could have flipped the switch and changed teams as I always felt like I ‘got’ women much easier than I ever did men. Which is also weird, given that I grew up in a household full of testosterone—even my mom wasn’t oozing in femininity. Let’s just say that when Aunt “Flo” came calling, my mom went calling the neighbor to come when I refused to wear ‘the belt’ which is where her expertise ended. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself fortunate and blessed to be able to go horseback riding any time you darn well please.
I never wanted to sleep with women or have late night pillow fights. I just wanted to surround myself with them and do a Vulcan mind meld. I wanted to know what they knew about everything from must-see movies to political candidates to piecrust recipes to mind-blowing sex to mascara that wouldn’t run. The list of things I thought they were smarter/better at than me ran long and deep. They made me want to be a better, smarter, non-mascara running down your face type person. From the time I was a very young girl, I realized the value of a true friend, and also had my heart broken learning what a true friend wasn’t—notably someone who got their power from making you feel badly. When you’re in your twenties you have this huge circle of friends, and a few rise to the top and become the ones you call when you have a funny-looking mole or aren’t sure what he meant when he said he needed a ‘break.’ Sometimes one or two of those turn out to be a fluke—they got in when your defenses were down and/or your trust was blind. Those can be hard lessons, but it is also empowering to learn the difference and start being selective about whom you allow in your precious inner circle—and who earns the title of ‘girl crush.’ These girls are your warriors who will not only remain in the trenches with you, but they’ll also make sure you’re wearing the right shade of camo and that the trench isn’t painted in some chic trendy color that you’ll regret by the time the battle has even started. We all need warriors. We all need someone to crush on.
Let’s be clear here—while my girl crushes are amazingly awesome goddesses and possess ninja-like skills and talents, they are not perfect and don’t pretend to be. I call them warriors yet there may be an off chance that some of them would be refused for military service (or entry onto a military base for that matter) due to a few bad decisions in the late ‘80s. I hold them in reverence not because of their perfection, but because although they may curse like drunken sailors, drink like frat boys, participate in the occasional sexual indiscretion, and have probably broken a commandment or two, they are trying at life and they are—in my opinion—winning. They are winning because they are not pretending, and because they are not giving up. They are my girl crushes because they stay positive on the darkest of days when their stilettos (or Uggs) sink down in the sand an inch or twelve, and they toss out kindness and compassion like beads at Mardi Gras. Each of them is carrying a cross like no other, and yet still has the profound ability to understand and express empathy for the burdens of others—with nary a mention of the weight she is dragging behind—unless you ply her with a couple of glasses of wine and then she is a lean, mean venting machine. Hey—we all need to vent. Secrets silently kill souls.
Speaking of secrets, I have a secret society of girl crushes whom I’ve never even met, although I’m sure if we ever do, we will realize that we are soul sisters. Our brains and hearts will simultaneously combust and fuse together allowing us to diabolically plot brilliant methods to end world hunger and promote peace while exacting sweet (and relatively painless) revenge on every boy who ever broke our hearts. These are the women I take to bed every night. They told me I could do great things when it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning. They assured me I was enough when I felt less than. They rained laughter through my tears and brought joy into my heart. They enveloped me in friendship when I felt alone, and they helped me grieve and mourn when my I lost my mom. Then my cousin. Then my lifelong friend. Over the years, they’ve unabashedly shared their secrets, shortcomings, regrets, mistakes, lessons and failings, and in the process assured me that I was okay and would always be okay. Pema Chodron, Anne Lamott, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Lesser, Martha Beck…these women are my megawatt girl crushes. I got a girl crush…