Galentines

Hannah Bullivant believes in Prosecco. Brunch. Girl friends. She is pretty excited about Galentines day, a brilliantly ordained day to celebrate your female friendships. It falls on the 13th February and is a wondrous invention by Leslie Knope, fictional star of Parks and Recreation, one of her favorite sitcoms.

 

“I have sent silly little notes and presents to my friends on Valentines Day long before I’d come across Galentines Day. I have always liked the idea of expressing love for your mates, as well as your significant other, if you have one. Valentines for romantic love only?! Nah. Share the love! I can think of nothing better than brunch with my friends this valentines.”

 

“My female friendships have always been pretty crucial to my wellbeing. I’m an external processor; I need to talk or the thoughts build up in my mind to an uncomfortably cramped level, and if left untended, explode out of me in an uncontrolled messy tearful rage. I feel like my female friendships have taken on a whole new patina since I became a Mum however. I mean, I thought I needed them for teenage first kiss anxiety and being brave enough to go to the under 18’s night, or for having willing recipients of my 20+ page letters, or as allies when I had a party that time when my parents were on holiday. And I did need them then. But I feel the need is deeper now somehow. Motherhood wracks you to your core, combing away layers and layers of self until it feels like theres not much left and you’re not quite sure WHO you are anymore. Then it stretches you so far beyond your limits that they’re mere heat-haze shimmering somewhere in the far distance. So to have friends in that strange new landscape of myself; milestones or markers if you like, was utterly essential for me.”

“I am part of a group of women who make me a better person/talk me off the ceiling on an almost daily basis. I live next door to my sister-in-law and best friend and we share practical daily life stuff, as well as he big life chats, constantly. So feel like I experience a semblance of the female community all women used to enjoy at one time. We have managed to build around us a gang of truly marvellous female human beings. We cover it all; the breathless high’s and desperate lows of motherhood, careers, finances, our wider families, husbands and sex, money etc. There is also prolific emoji use and stupid gifs too. And as much as I thought I needed my gang at school it isn’t until now, since I became a mum, that I feel like I’ve found my tribe. I have other friends dotted around the country who I love dearly, who when I see it’s like we’ve never been apart, who enrich mine and my families lives in countless ways. But there is something special, and I think quite rare, about having a tribe of women around you locally, who share the daily shit with you. A group that make my anxieties and weird paranoia’s less daunting, funny even! I’m starting to build this with some of my online friends too, which i am increasinlgy grateful for. I’m talking about this because I’ve realised recently how incredibly rare it is for women to have this, and more widely than that- to simply feel supported and heard. I feel both very privileged to have experienced this and heart broken that it isn’t the norm for everyone.”

“I was invited recently to be part of a private Facebook group by a couple of researchers who asked the following simple question; “how has motherhood changed your identity?” The most incredible outpouring ensued. Story after harrowing story. There was no judgement, pretty much no comeback, other than love. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was cathartic and healing to tell my story and reassuring and heart breaking in equal measure to witness the stories of others from very different backgrounds. And all of us said how rare it was to be given the chance to tell our stories, and how humbled and privileged we felt to simply listen to the stories of others. It tapped into something deep down- a vague collective remembering of a female community long gone. It felt right. And then the project finished and the group closed and we got on with our lives. But I want to hold onto it!”

“So all of this is leading to this. Celebrate your female friendships. Your mother/sister/best friend. Nurture those friendships that build you up. Tell your stories. Open your hearts. Be vulnerable. Reach out. Not to everyone, and certainly not to anyone who cracks or wobbles your foundations. get them out of your palace. I’m talking about those who build you up your Queenliness and shore up your foundations. Lets hear each other.”

“This weekend I get to hang out with some excellent women folk and I cannot wait. There may be breakfast food as dinner and 99p peel off Superdrug facemarks involved….”

“So I’m wishing you a Happy Galentines day in advance. May it be filled with your besties whether its in person or online/in your inbox/on the phone.”

 

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Photography: Hannah Bullivant

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