Amber Southall, Teesside writer, explores female friendship and its complexities in light of International Women’s Day. 

The inside of a woman’s head is, quite possibly, the most complex entity on the planet. Inside it are rooms that inhabit the components of her life, the things which are indispensable to who she has been, who she is, and whoever she goes on to be. There are parts of her living comfortably alongside one another, each one juxtaposing the last. The throes of grief which once surged through her at lightning speed, but now gently ebbs. The heartache, tucked steadfastly inside a padlocked room, barely visible anymore to the naked eye, yet relying solely on a flicker of nostalgia to open its floodgates. Happiness is so intense, so unexpected, that the lull afterwards felt like the end of the world as she’d come to know it.

It has been women who have brought me more realisations about myself than I would ever have discovered on my own. There are flitting moments when a heart will be shattered into so many pieces that you’ll conclude that you will feel this way for the rest of your life. And it is then, that you will find ‘your ones’. The women around you who have held your head as you cried, squeezed your hand and never hesitated to drag you back up to the surface when drowning seemed an inevitable certainty. Those who are somehow equally capable of earth-shattering sternness and unreserved tenderness.

The ability to be fearlessly honest with you and never tire of the same story spilling from your mouth for the thousandth time. You will not always know what to say to each other, but you will find comfort that no pitiful attempt is necessary to fill the silence. Those you make no apologies to, those who know your every fear, secret, mistake, regret, and who still look at you with a sense of affection that can only be understood between two women who have an unspoken agreement to be each other’s crutch. It is the comfort you will find in the familiarity of their faces.

The consistency of their presence when you are so happy, if not smug, you could burst; and when you are tragically low. There she’ll be. You will endure heartbreak at the hands of death together, watch one another fall hard in love, worry when one is met with failure and become unashamedly protective when hurt oozes from every pore. You might watch her become a mother; the single, most important job in the whole wide world. A little human who will become a combination of their own worries and dreams and stories will become entirely dependent on the woman who has scooped you into their arms and just let you be. She will watch you fail and never brand you a failure.

Above all else, she’ll be there. And you will fall in love with her all over again. The steadfastness of female friendship relies not on the grand gestures, but on the seemingly insignificant displays of gentleness. The flowers that fall on your doorstep, the security you find in her arms, the equally unwavering and convincing assurances she gives you that you will absolutely be okay again.

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash


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