WE ARE CELEBRATING FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS WITH A SERIES OF STORIES AND WE’D LIKE YOU TO TAKE PART … DO YOU HAVE A FEMALE FRIEND WHO HAS KEPT YOU AFLOAT THIS PAST YEAR, OR ONE YOU HAVE MISSED AND LONG TO SEE WHEN LOCKDOWN ENDS? …
Where would we be without our female friends? The friends who have supported us through lockdown, made us laugh, shared our sadness and our joy, been there for us at the toughest of times, in person or at a distance.
If ever there was a time for the consolations of female friendship, it’s now. Not so much a shoulder to cry on (although sometimes that too) as an arm to lean on, a hand to squeeze, a sympathetic ear. Such is the nature of this particularly fraught and endless phase of this pandemic that nothing is quite so out of reach.
But soon we can really enjoy our friends again … what will we do, what will we talk about?
For the next ten weeks on thegloss.ie, we will celebrate female friendships with a series of stories and we’d like you to take part … Do you have a female friend who has kept you afloat this past year, or one you have missed and long to see when lockdown ends?
Tell us why your friend is fabulous, what makes your friendship work and send us a photograph of you two together. Email [email protected] or share on Instagram, using the hashtag #MyGlossyFriend.
This week, three GLOSS readers share their stories of female friendship and support …
Above: Orla and Rachael at Killiney Beach in January 2021. Orla and Rachel are also pictured in the main featured image of this page on a hike together.
Orla Dunlea and Rachael Mullett
‘We didn’t realise we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.’ Winnie The Pooh
“I have always really valued all my female friendships, partly because I don’t have a sister. Like most women, I like to have a big long chat and dissect events, people and problems from lots of different angles with all of my gorgeous, glossy female friends.
Rachael Mullett and I have been friends since secondary school, although I remember her cycling her bike earlier than that, around aged ten, trying to check out the boys in my neighbourhood. Apart from a husband and three children each, 30 years later not much has changed – we are still on our bicycles but down at the Forty-Foot or Killiney Beach and with a few more laughter lines. Rachael and I are part of a wider circle of friends from school and college and our lives have intersected in many ways. We went to America for two summers together during college, got married at roughly the same time to husbands who coincidentally share the same birthday, had three children each and we both love sport and being outdoors.
We have been there for each other through the ups and downs that life throws at you. As Rachael had her first child earlier than me she was able to pass on lots of nuggets of information so much so that my Mum started calling her The Oracle. Less frequently we are also there as a support for each other on career and work-related conundrums.
Rachael has a real zest for life and has a lot of energy. She is always on the go and we have lots of similar interests. We go hiking with our families together and we did the Ironman 70.30 in Dun Laoghaire as a team with one other friend a few years ago (when we were free and big racing events like that were possible). Last June, we started swimming together on a weekly basis after the first wave of Covid had passed. It’s not something that we had previously done together but like many people we wanted to escape the four walls at home/the office, reconnect with nature and ourselves and of course any excuse to socialise. The ritual is ongoing and other friends have joined us when they can – even friends not so keen on the swim or early mornings sometimes venture down just for the soul-food chats. As Luke O’Neill has mentioned, sea swimming is an excellent antidote to the pandemic – it helps combat all the stress and after the (freezing) dunking you come out feeling alive and ready to take on the day.
It’s not all zen and good living though:
• Jelly wrestling queen in Australia 2003 – TICK
• Ability to park a mini-van on the vertiginous streets of San Francisco – TICK
• Highly skilled at taking the 6-way highway from Cape May to Washington DC in a rental car at age 21 – TICK
• Interpretative dance to the Lord is my Shepherd in blue gospel gowns – TICK
Support through the tough times is part of the job description of a female friend but making funny memories helps anchor a fabulous friendship through the decades: sea swimming is great for life affirmation but I find a belly-laugh just as helpful.”
Dawn Bailey and Laura Starnes
Dawn: “So this is me and my bestie, Laura Starnes, two years ago at her brother’s fabulous wedding in Italy, just as I finished treatment for breast cancer.
We have been friends since the year dot (we’re second cousins) and have been through everything together…the teenage heartbreak, the college years, living in separate countries.
I was her bridesmaid and she was mine (ten years later…I was a late starter!)
Pregnancy, childbirth, loss…
Career highs and very lows.
Penniless, minted and all the bits in between.
Honestly I couldn’t have gotten through the last year (and most of the preceding years it has to be said!) without her.
Through thick and thin (usually one of us is thick while the other is thin…we like to mix it up!)”
Laura: “While Dawn might want to pass on praise to me, to be honest, none of what I did compares to the strength and courage she has given me my whole life. I don’t suppose you could have a better friend and her email to you is a testament to that, she wanted to highlight me, when she is the highlight. I tell Dawn things I don’t want to admit to myself and she always helps me figure it out. I just wanted to balance it out. I’m a lucky girl to have Dawn Bailey as my confidant. (Not to mention all the devilment we have had and I am certain the drama will continue).”
Angela Guillemet and Fiona Byrne
“I have this fantastic friend, Fiona Byrne, who picks me up when I am low, who supports me when I am feeling more optimistic and who rose to the challenge when I needed a pal to try some sea swimming. I marked my 50th birthday in March and told her that I had asked my family who live here and abroad to do the Jerusalema challenge. I think she knew that nobody would get their act together so she worked with my husband to get family, cousins and friends to do the dance. She co-ordinated them all and produced a stunning video. It really made my day.”
Now it’s your turn to share your story. Tell us why your friend is fabulous, what makes your friendship work and send us a photograph of you two together. Email [email protected] or share on Instagram, using the hashtag #MyGlossyFriend.
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