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Issue #11: Lessons in Love
An Ode to Friendship
Four years ago, I had just moved to Boston without knowing a soul. Eager to build a circle of meaningful connections, I immediately immersed myself in a work-from-home club, a book club, attending events at my local coworking space, and finally, a Moon Circle that my now dear friend, Amy, co-led. It was there that I struck up a conversation with a girl who dressed in bright colors (a stark contrast to usual New England attire) and learned we worked at the same coworking space. We had agreed to meet soon for a coffee date, and that’s when she told me about a woman she had been introduced to through a mutual friend. They were going to meet up for tea and invited me to join. Eager to make friends, I, of course, said yes!
The morning to meet, we started a group chat — something called the Coronavirus was making the news, and what if we met up for a walk instead just to be safe? We did, and the three of us walked and talked for hours, learning we were all transplants to the city, enjoyed activities like trying new restaurants, and loved learning about topics related to wellness + spirituality. I had finally found some true friends in the city! My heart was full, and then, the government declared a lockdown.
About two weeks after lockdown began, we agreed to meet up for a virtual coffee date on Zoom. One of the girls had met a coworker before this, and she had just arrived in Boston as well. Might she join in? Of course! The four of us met up that day. By the end of the call, we were laughing so hard tears were falling, and then, we were so caught up in our anxieties over living in a new city during a time of such extreme unprecedented circumstances the tears began to fall for different reasons. Over the coming weeks, we met weekly to discuss books, fears, and ideas to stay busy at home, these conversations became a lifeline I very much looked forward to.
As the weather began to warm, we agreed to start getting together in the Boston Public Garden on Saturday Mornings near the same angel statue, all plopping down in our own spot about 10 feet away from one another, chatting, laughing, and definitely sneaking a bottle of wine or two. Eventually, as the Fall snuck up on us, we agreed to move our weekly dates to a local coffee spot (incredible South End spot, Greystone, for Boston locals) where we’d sit on a brownstone stoop sipping our lattes, continuing to have meaningful conversations.
This went on, and by the Fall of 2021, we had grown, adding a few more members of the Greystone Gals, as we had by then dubbed ourselves, meeting in the blustery winter winds, pouring rain, or hot sunshine to enjoy a cup of coffee along Appleton Street. It was our safe haven and a bright spot during an often dark few years.
I write this all to give you a backstory that led to this moment. A couple of weeks ago, at a wedding celebrating one of the amazing Greystone Gals, we went around the table sharing who has taught us the most about love outside of romantic partners. Mary, always the incredible conversationalist, quickly declared her female friendships. When she did, I nodded wholeheartedly, unable to stop thinking even on the plane home about how this group of women had helped shape an entirely new view of love for me.
I moved to Boston searching for new adventures, lush green parks, and the typical trappings of what we’re told to go after in life — career expansion, a deepened relationship with my partner, more money, more time to travel — some of those things I’ve received and some I haven’t. Still, I’ve been gifted with so much more. Friendships that have taught me the importance of celebrating one another whenever possible, conversations brimming with honesty and openness to understand, how vital belly laughter is, the necessity of setting boundaries and respecting someone else’s, that we all have our own magic, and showing up as often as possible; come rain or shine. I think that means so much more.
As of this month, we’ve scattered. We’re now living in Boston, England, Ireland, New York, and beyond, but I know we’ll continue to show up for one another in FaceTimes, group texts, and annual pilgrimages, and that’s love.
To platonic love that runs deep,
Quick Sand by Clare Elsaesser // Art of Friendship // Greystone // Dancing with Whimsy
Are You There, God?
🎬 On a recent flight to Ireland, I turned on Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and I am so happy I did! Are You There God is centered around 11-year-old Margaret’s transition into adolescence in her new town, and with each scene, I felt like a time machine had transported me back to those awkward yet innocent preteen years myself. The movie explores friendship, firsts of all kinds, and womanhood at its most gleeful and its most challenging; the quest for meaning at the forefront of Margaret, yes, but also her mother and grandmother as they navigate a new phase of life. Completely heartwarming and totally relatable — a must for your next girl's night in.
Making Friendship Last
🎧 I found myself nodding in agreement as I listened to Aminatou Sow's engaging conversation with Cleo Wade on a recent podcast episode. Sow, who is the co-author of Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, and Wade delved into various aspects of friendship, including how to adapt to changes in our friendships over time and the significance of celebrating our friends. However, one particular insight from their conversation resonated deeply with me: the idea that while society provides us with well-defined scripts for romantic relationships, we are often left to navigate the complexities of friendship on our own, learning how to "grow through what we go through" without clear guidance. Whether you're looking to enhance your friendships, become a better friend, or simply be intrigued by the wisdom of these two incredibly insightful women on the subject of friendship, I highly recommend giving this podcast episode a listen.