Chicago- home of the deep dish pizza, a green river, some incredible ice cream, and of course… The BEAN, just to name a few- here we come! Or I should say… we survived St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.
I hadn’t taken a girls’ trip in over ten years. My first experience with going on a trip with a group of girls was not the best and I have been hesitant to revisit that experience. But- in the spirit of saying “yes” to things and knowing that with age my group of friends is a great deal more solid and mature than the first group I went with- I figured what the hell? And I’m so glad I did.
We had planned a trip to Chicago, purely based on the best dates for all of us to go- not even realizing at first that our trip would fall on St. Patrick’s Day. I have to say, the people-watching was second to none, but what a shit-show. I came out of this trip with a few revelations, and a great deal of gratitude.
Revelations that included being pretty happy that I didn’t come of age in a big city like that. I’m pretty positive I wouldn’t have survived it. I barely did as it is. Second- the knowledge that sugar is indeed poison lol. I was so sick when we got back from all the sugar I ingested. 4 am hovering over the toilet ready to vomit was not on the list of things I wanted to be doing when I got back. Third- I recognized that what I really love about the city isn’t the city, it’s the ability to fade into the background. Everyone sticks to themselves and stays out of my business, something I have been desperately craving since moving back to the town I’m in. What I also love is being able to walk everywhere. I really, really miss that. Fourth- I recognized a lot of things in my personal life that I am ready to let go of and move on from: relationships that aren’t bringing positivity into my life anymore, pressure that I put on myself on so many levels, and attitudes I have carried that are no longer serving me. And lastly- how important freedom is to me. Not something I ever really forget, but something that sticks out from time to time and it definitely did on this trip. We had a lot of fun and I loved being able to show them some of my favorite things in a city I loved living in years ago, but I know now that my place isn’t there- something I have questioned from time to time since I left so long ago. I’ve changed and it has never been more apparent than it was in those few days.
Where I found extreme gratitude was in my friendships. I have been tremendously fortunate to cultivate the most incredible friendships with a couple of the most beautiful women. Growing up, I was always (and still am if we are being honest) a tomboy. I hung out with boys about 99% of the time. I always struggled to make friendships with girls. I always had at least one or two, but they are on a different level when you are younger. The ones I have managed to build as an adult are with women who live across the country from me as a result of my moving around all the time so unfortunately, they are not daily friends, people I see and who are in touch regularly. I don’t automatically turn to them when shit is hitting the fan as I know they are too far away to really do anything. The friendships I have in these women are those kind of relationships.
I know without a doubt that they will be there for me no matter what and vice versa. It’s an incredible feeling to know that exists. I have realized over the last couple years how truly important those female relationships really are. I love my guy friends, but it’s nice to have people who truly understand what is happening with you, to you, inside you. Whether we like to believe it or not, women and men truly do live on two completely different planets. Any Gilmore Girls fan will remember when Rory says “Why do they say Mars and Venus? They’re both planets so they at least have something in common. It’s more like Venus and a bowl of soup.” We think differently, feel differently, and view things differently. It’s just the way it is. No right or wrong- just different. I still believe it to be a miracle that we manage to make heterosexual relationships work. It’s the 8th Wonder of the World or something. But whatever, I digress. My girlfriends and I pick on each other, are brutally honest with each other- even when that honesty hurts, yet we are never cruel, petty, nor would we ever do anything that would be detrimental to our friendships. We love each other and never hesitate to make that clear in our words and actions. For the Brene Brown followers out there- we are ‘marble jar’ friends. This is what I found the most gratitude in during this trip. Realizing that this is possible and that I have it. I am truly a blessed individual- something else I needed to be reminded of. Other things may not be super awesome right now, but the things that are right, are really right. I just needed to step back from my day-to-day for a minute and see it all from a new perspective. So that’s my take away for you- step back for a second and see your life through fresh eyes as if you were someone else, and find all the things you can be grateful for- the things that are really right. Then stay there.