I'm a girl's girl.
I know sometimes it's cool to be the opposite, to be the woman who gets along with men better and who is more comfortable being one of the guys. I tried that hat on for a bit when I was younger, but honestly, one of the biggest revelations I’ve ever had was learning that just wasn't me. That’s no shade to my brother, all my male cousins and my bro besties, but the people I mostly look to for, well, everything have been the women in my life. More specifically, the Black women in my life.
Maybe it's because neither of my parents had sisters, so early on, they made it clear that my sisters and I had something special between us — a bond that no one else could ever understand.
Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 1980s and a product of Black female friendships seen in A Different World, Living Single, Girlfriends and Waiting to Exhale — all iconic instances of Black women showcasing what it’s like to have friends in your life who are rooting for you no matter what.
Or maybe I've just been blessed with my own set of Black women friends who keep me sane, challenge me, make me laugh, support me in my dreams and hold me down always.
Either way, whatever the reason (and I'm guessing it's a combination of all three), the Black women in my life have always been the moon and the stars for me. They have been there to pick me up whenever someone's son broke my heart, literally listening to me cry at 2:00 a.m. or rant about how I’m going on a “boy-cott” (knowing I wasn’t, but supporting me all the same). They show up for me constantly, without me having to ask. Their compliments can be just two words ("OK, hair!" "Yes ma'am!" "Alright somebody!") and brighten my whole mood. And when I’ve needed someone to push me to move past my fears, they have been there to lovingly encourage me without judgment. They are, in essence, my soul mates. Or rather, I like to call them my "solemates," a nickname that coincidentally stemmed from a happy drunk text to one of my best friends one random night in my 20s, after we’d made a pact to text each other anytime we wanted to drunk text our ex-boyfriends.
Without the Black women in my life, I wouldn’t have the same joy I do right now. I wouldn’t have the prayer life I have right now. I wouldn’t be as dedicated to taking moments of rest when I need it or finding the will to keep going when things get hard. They are a constant lifeline. They are bold, sensitive, beautiful, dynamic, soft, women — and their presence in my life, their friendships, inspire me daily.
This Galentine's Day, I hope to honor them as I celebrate the launch of my debut novel, The Shoe Diaries. While the book focuses on one woman and her journey to trusting herself and love once again, it's her tight-knit circle of girlfriends who keep her grounded every step of the way. Mine certainly do that for me. And my wish for every Black woman is that you get to have your own circle who does the same.
Speaking from experience, I already know that with them by your side, you'll feel like you can move mountains. That's just how powerful Black female friendships are.