Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, but the new holiday dedicated to love, Galentine’s Day, is here to steal V-Day’s thunder. Galentine’s Day is a day dedicated to women and all of their besties. The day will be filled with lots of wine, chocolate, girl talk, charcuterie boards, reruns of Sex and the City, or dancing along to the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack! As you prepare for gut bursting laughter and happy tears with your great girlfriends, take stock of what your friends look like. Do your close friends look similar to or different than you?
There is such a big fight for diversity across public platforms and spaces, but diversity seems to be lacking privately. One of my goals for 2020 was to diversify my friend group. I noticed all of my close friends have been all black. It has always been comforting to have friends that shared the same common community, and more importantly having to share the same frustrations and fight about our daily challenges with being black. I lived in a judgmental state, based off conversations with diverse work groups who could not grasp my frustrations with society and its constant bulldozing of black culture and life. If these people that I spent a large amount of time with daily could not understand, or we couldn’t find any common ground/interest, then how could I open myself up to friendship?
You know from being a parent that children do as you do and not as you say. I can teach Aria and Hayes about diversity, but if they do not see me living what I’m talking, then why should they bother? I can read all of the diverse and inclusive books we want, but I have to do more. I want them to have diverse groups of friends, not just in school or extracurricular activities, but outside of these scheduled groups as well. They are the reason; I want to be vulnerable enough to add diversity into my close friend group.
I no longer want my race, culture, spirituality, gender, or anything to hold me back from making lifelong friends. I so desperately want this world to be a reflection of me, but it cannot if my private life is not a reflection of it. There will always be something about me that others will not understand and that is what makes up this world. Miles Davis once said, “If you understood everything I say, you’d be me!” Friends have to be different; that is what creates dimensions and depth in a the relationship. I want dimensions and depth!
Our differences are what creates the awareness and knowledge needed to be dynamic. Affinity Magazine features a great article on the importance of having a diverse friend group. It mentions how diverse friend groups break stereotypes, bring awareness, and are knowledgeable. As I challenge myself to be more diverse in my friend choices, I am also asking that you do the same. What would you like to see more of in your circle of friends? What conversations do you yearn to have? What experiences would you like? What would you like to understand more? It is time that our differences no longer make up the drawn lines in the sand.
We cannot change this world by all looking the same; we need the help of others’ voices, views, and experiences. Those changes start with your inner circle, friends, squad, besties, bffs, etc. Again, I ask how diverse is your circle of friends? Mine, not so much, but I am changing that this year and moving forward.