Taylor Swift has the most famous one. She has been both heralded and criticized in the past year for showing off her large group of friends, traveling with them, posting pictures of their fun on Instagram, etc. Her activity has even coined new terms and resulted in hashtags such as #squad and #squadgoals.
My personal opinion of the whole thing: Go Taylor! (However, let me tell you, it was hard to find a photo of T-Swift and her posse where everyone’s outfit was semi-decent. These chicks like to show the skin.)
Her love for her friends and her desire to celebrate them publicly is awesome. Now, her playgrounds and wardrobe and ease of travel across the globe are well-financed by her mega-success and are WAY outta this pastor’s wife league , but, still, they are GIRLS that JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!!
I love it, and I GET HER. Really.
In hindsight, I first began to care about pursuing friendships when I was in the third grade. After attending Highway Baptist Academy in the first and second grades, I began attending good ol’ SBEC (Southern Baptist Educational Center), now called Northpoint Christian School. Go Trojans! My mom had a friend named Julia from BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and her daughter would also begin attending there and happened to be on the class roster with me. Mom told me that this girl was a little shy, so I should be a friend to her. So, I walked up to Stacy after a day or so in Mrs. Greer’s class, and that was it. She told me years later that I just grabbed her hand as we were headed to recess. We are still friends (Facebook and yearly Christmas cards prove it :))- even though miles separate us. That group of two expanded and grew and changed over the next 9 years.
During those formative years, I learned several things about girls and friendships:
- When there is a party of three, somebody inevitably gets left out. Ouch.
- Hurt feelings are a THING as girls are growing and learning how to be a true friend.
- Most girls are both the “Mean Girl” and the victim of the “Mean Girl” at some point along the journey. Girls can be MEAN. Just ask Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan. Sometimes those girls grow up to be women who are MEAN. You know you have met a few. 🙂
- Boys only complicate things. 🙂
- Rejection hurts, fosters empathy, and then builds some character. Just ask me how much character I’ve got.
- My life is richer from having all of those females in my circle, even though my feelings, ego, and self-esteem sometimes took a beating.
Now, at various points along the way, I had what I considered to be a “best friend”. However, as time went on, those faces changed. We broke up. I also learned that I sometimes felt that way about a girl, and the feeling was not mutual. Then, there were other times that someone felt I was her “bestie” but I wasn’t feeling it.
I had lots of these…
but, I never had one half of these…
Do y’all remember the Mizpahs? Oh, dear. At the time, I REALLY wanted a BFF to share one of these with me.
One of my favorite stories ever comes from a college friend, Beth B. She was the fastest walker I know. It was hard to keep up with her..like in the hallway, in the store, or in the parking lot. When I commented on her pace, she said that she learned to walk that fast in elementary school to get away from a weird girl who wanted to be her friend and followed her around. Bless.
So, somewhere in high school, I figured out that I didn’t have a “best friend”, but that was okay. I was repulsed by the way jealousy and envy looked on my and other girls who had jockeyed for position and status as someone’s BFF. Yuck.
As I moved into college, then on to grad school, then “newlywed to a seminary student” status, and then as a full-blown grown-up, I came to understand that the women who were in my life all provided different things. There was not a need to designate one person as “the one”.
Now before I go too far, I must tell you that there is nothing like growing up and becoming friends with your mother. I happen to have one of the BEST out there. Preach. If you know Mama Sue, then, girl- you know it’s true. She deserves her own blog post- soon. Because I have not lived in the same city as Sweet Sue since I married Andy and he carted me off, I have not had that automatic friend that many women have when Mom lives nearby.
So, enter….girl squads. One of my favorite things to do is gather a bunch of women together to eat and laugh and talk. That fills my love tank in so many ways.
I think I started seeking out gatherings of several girls/ladies at a time because there was less chance of rejection or being left out or feeling unwanted. I know I like to be INVITED and CHOSEN, and I bet you do, too. If there were at least 4 people, usually, people chatted or interacted in pairs. The “third wheel” problem vanished.
Now, I am drawn to several different types of people. I love FUN women and men. If you make me laugh, I want you to be my friend, go out to eat with me, and take trips with me. If you are SMART, and I LEARN from you, I wanna hang out and ask you all kinds of questions. Finally, if your relationship with JESUS is strong and fruitful and contagious, then I will follow you around until you let me spend some time with you. If you are SHARP, I wanna be like you.
Back in my “roaring 20s”, I recall feeling intimidated by different women for different reasons. The Lord kindly and gently showed me that it was usually because they had a skill/character trait/strength that I lacked and admired. He taught me to “go make friends with them”. Best lesson EVER!
I have been so fortunate to have friends of all different ages. Some older, some younger. How blessed I am by all those who invested and mentored me over the years. I encourage young women around me to find some ladies who are a little further down the road- they KNOW more. They are WISER. Then those young women can reach back behind them and pull some EVEN YOUNGER ladies along. My advice-get to know people outside of your peer group!!
In the past, of course, life circumstances dictated how I made friends…church youth group, private school, Baptist campus ministry, grad school, seminary. I think I found the gems, diamonds, and pearls among those groups. Each life phase had a different group- some moved on with me to the next phase, some didn’t. However, AT THE TIME, these females were VIFs (Very Important Friends) and were highly valued by me. Many of my old photos are full of girl groups or squads. Oh, the memories!
Please indulge my photo trip down memory lane. Laugh at the hairstyles- I don’t care. We were cool at the time-trust me.
DISCLAIMER: Pictures are worth 1000s of words, but these don’t convey it all. I had friends who didn’t fit in a squad, and that is okay. I treasure deep friendship that grow in a one-on-one setting. Most of my friendships grew in both types of situations. All that to say…today, I do not have to walk around everywhere I go with at least two other women (except to the restroom- come on!). No posses for me.
I hope many of you see your sweet selves in these photos. I chose them carefully.
Student Council Squad and….Volleyball Squad. Ha! Literally. At least 4/6 of one. We four spent lots of good times together.
Add in Angie, Shelly, and Terri. The Squad morphed depending on the event and day.
Rachel and Alicia added to the fun of the Senior Girls Squad.
For some reason, the college years were lacking in Girl Squads. I guess I was getting to know lots of guys and girls, so many of my pics were of both. So much fun! Those years really lacked Girl DRAMA, too. Yes.
Something else happened…I met Andy. Then the chronology of pictures starts to feature the two of us. Because I shared muy couple pics back on the anniversary post here Twenty, I will spare you this time. 🙂
So…fast forward to graduate school- the School of Audiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Memphis. Whoop! These ladies and I studied and researched and crammed and passed comps and celebrated together over two years. They were the best.
Then, I got married the week after I graduated. So, you had the Bridesmaid Squad:
After we moved to Texas, we were surrounded by newlyweds. Seminary student husbands and hard-working wives. Deep friendships were formed that allow us to pick up easily when we are able to chat or see each other. While I identified with other ladies by profession, I identified with these 3 because of our husbands’ call to the ministry.
After Texas, we moved to Mississippi. I got to know some people. Then I remember praying one day for friends. The Lord answered.
The Prayer Group gals were so much fun: Laurie, Karen, Lahoma, Dianne, Lisa, Lori, Debbie, Karen, and Cynthia. We liked to have sleepovers and travel and have dinners with the husbands, too. These people are still held closely to my heart. I would give them a big ol’ hug if I saw them out on the street. Then I would ask why they were out on the street in Kansas. Yes, I have on a tacky Christmas sweater, but I didn’t think it was tacky back in the day. I bought it at Stein Mart, after all.
Over time, some people moved away, some people backed away, and some people drew in closer. So, there came to be a group known as the Ya-Yas. Debbie, Lahoma, Karen, Marsha, and me. Our husbands liked each other, too, so we spent loads of time together. My parents adopted them into the fold. We celebrated their children’s graduations, weddings, and birthing of babies. On many a Sunday, we rotated homes for lunch after church. Fried chicken and friends. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Speech-Language-Pathologists are some of the nicest people you will meet. We quickly form Squads.
Well, then Ang and I moved to the ‘Ham. Through social media and texts, we kept up with old friends, but sometimes you gotta get together.
After we moved to Birmingham, I met lots of lovely ladies. I blogged about them here (Ladies I Love in Alabama) over a year ago. Here are pics of the Alabama Squads:
Well, we are now in Kansas, far away from all these Southern girls. Social media keeps us in contact, and I don’t feel so banished. We can FaceTime and feel connected. Currently, I have a Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang “You’re My Person/People” type of squad. I will share about them and a recent trip we took in a blog post soon.
So, here’s to all the wonderful ladies who let me be in their squads. Thanks for “getting me”. Just so you know, if I were to one day, somehow, have as many resources as T-Swift, you would get a phone call, a plane ticket, free childcare, a limo, spending money at a boutique, and an all-expense paid trip to somewhere tropical so we could hang. That’s one of my #squadgoals.