from my bookshelf: text me when you get home by kayleen schaefer

papercut

text me when you get home is a non-fiction work filled with anecdotes and research focused on modern female friendship. schaefer made me think about difficult topics: do i welcome females into my life easily? do i trust them? do i prevent or perpetuate stereotypes about female friendships? reading this book made me hyper-aware of the way television, movies, books, and magazines frequently project inaccurate and harmful assumptions (i.e. women are catty, girls are mean to each other, girls compete with each other over men). text me when you get home gave me a new appreciation for the strong female friends i have in my life and opened my eyes to the importance of nurturing and prioritizing those relationships.

dogears

“I look to my friends for the kind of support that comes from wanting only to be good to each other. The women I love are like a life raft I didn’t know I was looking for before I got in it. But my friendships are not just about being nice. My people push me to do better. They listen, but not in a quiet, passive way. They’re always on point for correcting me when I put myself down or fall into the trap of thinking things are my fault when they aren’t. My friends are brilliant, funny, fearless, wise, and generous. We champion each other in emails, texts, in congratulatory flowers, or simply by saying how much we trust each other.”

“But if you dig a little deeper, the stereotypes fall apart: Not all mean girls are popular, and not all popular girls are mean. The truth is, girls are no meaner or nicer than anyone else.”

“I’d believed that being too girly would hold me back, but that wasn’t true: I was holding myself back by pretending to be a one-dimensional woman. Plus, I was undermining and dismissing my sex by not seeing us as complex people who shouldn’t have to conform to anyone’s standard of what’s cool or not.”

“For the first time in years, I felt a real kinship with my own sex, and the more I looked around, the more I started to realize that there were plenty of smart, funny, warm girls around me to be friends with. Why wasn’t I reaching out to them?”

“The e-mails, texts, weeknight dates and weekend outings, secrets, jokes, and tears all rolled up into a big ball, giving my female friendships weight and importance that they’d never had before in my life.”

“When women stop seeing each other as rivals, whom they nonetheless have to be nice to, we’ll be free from this clumsy middle ground of being frenemies. We can compete against each other. We can face off and admit what we really want and that it hurts when we don’t get it. But we can also understand each other–and with that kind of empathy, instead of disingenuous smiles, we might be able to lift each other up too.”

“The friendships that are those safe spaces, the ones that feel more like tribes than anything else, are important.”

“But even as our individual friendships fluctuate, we’re not going to stop reaching out to each other. There is no longer an automatic endpoint for prioritizing friendships, like there was for my mom or other women her age, even if they aren’t within the same women we met in kindergarten, as college freshmen, or at our first jobs. We’re continuing to stretch toward each other.”

“Our friends are not our second choices. They are our dates for Friday nights and for ex-boyfriends’ weddings. They are the visitors to our hometowns and hospital rooms. They are the first people we tell about any news, whether it’s good, terrible, or mundane. They are our plus ones at office parties. They are the people we’re raising children with. They are our advocates, who, no matter what, will make us feel like we won’t fail. They are the people who will struggle with us and who will stay with us. They are who we text when we get home.”