Growing up, most of the people I hung out with were guys. It wasn’t that I was boy crazy. I just felt that guys were easier to get along with. I didn’t have to have conversations about who liked who, what I was going to wear to a party or what shade of lipstick I’d wear to the mall. With the guys, life was simple. When it was time to go, we went. When we got hungry, we ate pizza and when one of us go it trouble, we could always on each other for an alibi.
I always felt comfortable and I always felt that I could be myself. I think it came from the fact that I literally had a gang of male cousins. When it came to girls in my immediate family, there was me, my sister, my aunt’s two daughter’s and my great-aunt’s daughter. So whenever there was a family get together, it was the five girls and like ten boys. Of course the boys dominated everything we did. So being around boys as a young girl was easy. To my benefit, I did attend an all-girls Catholic high school and I got along well with them but at home, in the neighborhood, it was the guys I ran with.
When I was eight or nine I met my lifelong best friend. She and I are still close and over the years I have met a few girls/women who would grow to hold a special place in my life. One such person is my friend, Lissahn. Lissahn and I met when I lived in Atlanta for a few years in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. My son’s elementary school was hosting a program one Saturday. I think it was about health or services in the community to help parents. It was something like that. Either way, I ended up sitting at a table with Lissahn. Both of our boys were in Kindergarten at the time. We started talking. I remember giving her a ride home that day.
Today, she is one of the most important people in my life. She is a beautiful soul. Although, we definitely don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we are always there to support each other. Over the past ten years or so, she has built an amazing event designing business. These days she is often busy with designing and planning events all over the country. So when I set about planning my the book signing for my debut novel, I didn’t think for a second to invite her. After all, she still lives in Atlanta and I am currently in Florida. I would have simply been grateful that she’d purchased a copy.
During one of our phone calls, I shared with her my plans for the book signing. She asked what day it was on. When I told her, she said that she may be able to come. I laughed and told her that wouldn’t be necessary. In my mind I was adding up the cost of a plane ticket and hotel fees for something that, even though it was a big deal to me, was not worth her spending that kind of money. We ended the phone call and I didn’t give it another thought. Two days later she called to say she’d purchased her plane ticket and would see me in a few weeks.
I didn’t know what having her at my book signing would mean to me until I looked up at the crowd during my talk and saw her face. The fact that she thought enough of me and this moment in my life to physically be there to celebrate with me was so powerful. Her friend took this picture of us and captioned it, Women on the Rise. It was the perfect caption as it reminded me of all that we’d both shared and struggled with to make our dreams come true. Our friendship has spanned twenty-plus years. In that time we’ve seen each other at our best and cried with each other during our worst. All the while we were encouraging each other not to give up on our dreams and goals. It is important to have friends like this in your life. I am so blessed to have her in mine.
Don’t stop the momentum…:)