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I’m going to be honest here. I’ve been a little shattered of late. I’ve felt a little vulnerable and it’s a shitful place to be dwelling. Life isn’t always a bed of roses, sure – but there are times when it feels like a struggle.

I am however buoyed and so grateful to my girlfriends when my heart is struggling. Women are incredible, aren’t they?! I’m obviously preaching to the converted here! I always feel lucky to be surrounded by so many inspirational, strong, funny women.

There is a reason that women have been portrayed as goddesses throughout time, symbols of fertility and love. Women are creative souls. Some of us bare children and some will give birth to amazing ideas. We nurture one another, and our partners, our children, our pets.

I grew up with a large group of girlfriends throughout my high school years, most of whom I am still friends with to this day. I thought for a long time that this was quite a normal occurrence. Now I realise that it’s actually less common than I realised. It’s a special and amazing gift.

What growing up with so many women has given me is priceless. I learnt that all women are unique and different. I learnt that your friends can have differing opinions without impacting the friendship. We have given each other love, support, laughter, and respect. We have formed bonds that preclude judgement and nastiness. There is trust and compassion.

Don’t get me wrong. As humans, of course we have annoyed each other. Our views are sometimes at odds with each other. We have reached varying stages of our lives at different paces. In the end, we love and respect one another, and like sisters, friendship triumphs over all in else in both times of joy and need. In the end, we share a lot of laughter.

I often say that we are the sum total of our life experiences. As a woman, I have known the wrath of women, but I have also known the beautiful fierceness of the women who have stood in my corner when my life seem to have spiralled.

Emotionally, I have seen important women in my life survive incredible trauma and grief. My heart has grieved for them when they have lost siblings, grandparents and parents. My heart has broken when relationships in their lives have ended, when love has been lost, when their children have been sick. I have supported and defended them in times of bullshit thrown in their direction by horrid work mates, or ex partners. As they have done for me.

The strength of the feminine Psyche never ceases to amaze me.

There is something brilliant about having awesome women in your life. I have friends on both ends of the spectrum between extreme extroverts and extreme introverts and everything else in between. Some are outspoken and passionate. Some are quiet and spiritual. Knowing my own flaws and strengths only too well, I regale in theirs also.

I admire those friends, for example, whose determination and dedication in achieving their goals are stronger than I could ever be. Friends who work out in the gym or run every day, I find simply amazing. Though I know that exercise is necessary to good health, I view it more as a necessary evil than a life affirming hobby. It’s important however, and I’ve learnt that by nature I’m actually an active person.

I rarely sit still. I’m a bit of an ever-ready bunny, and if the truth be told I really enjoy walking. I love walking the dog and I’ve missed that lately as he broke his little foot. Now that he’s hoping around the house, we’re back on track.

The women in my life have such an incredible capacity to love, and to nurture. Of course we all show it in different ways. When your life isn’t going to plan and things are feeling really crap, I know I can count on my girlfriends, consistently. To lend an ear or for a supportive hug. Today for example, one gorgeous friend, who lives interstate, told me “enough” when I was feeling quite sad. She sent me a message.

She gave me a kick up the arse, reminding me that I know my worth and to stop dwelling on the actions of others, which of course I can’t control. She was right, this wise and wonderful woman.

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My gorgeous friend, Bella, has always been the consistent voice of reason in my life. She has literally seen me at my most vulnerable, at my best, at my mediocre and at my very best. She’s a beautiful soul with a loving heart who feels deeply, but she’s also a take-no-nonsense kick ass chick. She doesn’t always agree with my thoughts, nor my actions, and vice versa but we have a deep rooted respect, trust and love for one another, forged through years of experiences.

We don’t need to ever pretend the other is perfect. With deep friendships, I think that’s always true. You can take off your mask. I’ve known Bella since I was 11 and there is nowhere to hide! We’ve shared too much. It’s a beautiful thing. For this reason, she is the voice of reason. I adore her, as I do her sister.

When I started my new job 6 months ago, I had no way of knowing that I would also meet new friends. Three women in particular took me into their fold and I feel very blessed to have been embraced by these funny and amazing women. They are all so different, but they all have a killer sense of humour and they give good hugs! Since I’m a hugger, that’s a beautiful thing.

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Friendships in the workplace are so important. We spend eight hours a day (or beyond) at our jobs. Knowing someone has your back on both a professional and personal level is great. Laughing over coffee, or the occasional lunch is good for the soul. Having someone to vent to when you’re having a shitty day is even better! I call the girls at work my hashtag girls. We speak in code. “Hashtag, coffee”. Or whatever.

These gorgeous gals make my work days so much brighter. Today these insanely funny girls sent me selfies of themselves which kept me chuckling all day.

I’ve been really lucky over time to meet wonderful friends through different places I have worked. Gorgeous insightful women who have inspired and mentored me.

So when life is being a complete pain and I’m struggling (and indeed when times are bloody brilliant), I’m always grateful for the women in my life. The writers and poets, the gym junkies, the dreamers, the career chicks, the animal lovers, the armchair psychologists, the wine lovers, the advocates, coffee connoisseurs, the cooks, the readers, the listeners, the talkers, the mothers, the daughters, the sisters….my friends, the goddesses I walk amongst. I love them all for their uniqueness and their brilliance. For their strength and wisdom. For their intuition and knowing.

Through the highs and the lows, their love is such a gift.