I've Got All My Sisters And Me

I thought about an eloquent introduction for this post but then I decided to just go straight in for the kill... All my life I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, strong women. Come to think of it, there isn't actually a more eloquent and accurate way to write that. I've been brought up by women who have inspired, influenced and shaped me into the stubborn, head strong little thing I've come to be. I was raised solely by my single mother, along with my three older sisters. I didn't know it at the time but I was truly blessed to have four automatic best friends in my life. As we grow older it blows my mind how similar our personalities have become. I see my opinions, traits and mannerisms shine through so obviously borrowed/stolen from my wonderful older sisters. I remember being a little girl and being completely in awe of everything little thing they did. From them listening to Stone Roses full blast in their room and having arguments with my mum about not being allowed to go to the Hacienda. To wearing ridiculously short mini skirts, cropped Oasis tees, a shiny silver bubble jacket and practising dance routines to East 17 in the living room. To letting me sneak in their room when they had their cool, older friends come round. To showing me how to do my make up and introducing me to GHDs and Mac Studio Fix. To dressing me for my first ever gig (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, if you must know) in a Ramones tee and making me feel like I was one step closer to becoming Karen O. To giving me the cast offs from their wardrobe and as times progressed, me giving them mine. They are and always will be my heroes and the opinions I value above any other.

Throughout childhood our circles of sisterhood expand rapidly. You figure out who you are and who you want to be through the friends you keep, it's as simple as that. Music, films, personal style, you'd be lying if you said your biggest influencers weren't your circle of killer girlfriends. You grow to love them like you would your own blood and they become you rock through whatever drama (mainly boy troubles, let's be honest) you may encounter. I feel like in my teens to early twenties, I was so obliviously "needy" to my friend's companionship. I would talk to them 24/7 and see them practically every day. I look back to 22 years old when I was living with one of my best friends, three more of them lived one floor down and two more lived just down the road. How lucky I was to have my circle in such close proximity, always near by to make me laugh, to wipe away my tears and help me forget my problems. I look back at this time in my life with such affection. You take it for granted when it's happening and you really never think such an amazing set up could possibly ever change, but it does.

As you grew older each and every one of your priorities change. Your career, boyfriends, mortgages, babies, marriage... Yep all that grown up stuff really creeps up on you when you least expect it and as time goes by your network of incredible women starts to break down and move away. It's not a personal thing, it honestly does just happen and you don't even realise it at the time because inevitably you're too busy with your own new found, oh so serious adult stuff too. Excluding two of my dearest friends, all of my beloved extended family of girls have moved out of Manchester. Dotted around various locations from London and Sunderland, to half way round the world in Australia. I remember each and every time one of those girls left Manchester I cried like someone had died. Seriously, I waved them off into the big wide world and wondered how I'd live my life without them. But you do.

This weekend just gone one of my best friends came back to Manchester for a few days all the way from Australia, we hadn't seen each other in two years. TWO YEARS! You're life can have a complete transformation in that amount of time and ours had. I genuinely felt nervous on my way to meet her because I was so terrified that as our lives had changed and in turn maybe we had too. What if this one girl who had been there for me through thick and thin didn't exist anymore? What if we have nothing to say to one another? But that didn't happen because that's a completely ridiculous notion. I guess it takes a while to catch on, but you're close circle of incredible women never really changes. No matter where they are in the world, you will always hold them as that wonderful network which know you inside out. You don't have to hear from them once a day, once a week or even once a month but they will forever stand by you. They will continually hold no judgement for whatever stupid mistakes you make and will be there at a drop off a hat if you called them and said "I'm not ok". Distance doesn't make the friendship and it's true that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I know they will forever root for me as I will for them and that's surely the barebones to any true friendship.

I recently became obsessed with a book called The Girls (if you haven't read this book, why not?) and there was one particular quote in it which really resonated with me; "Girls are the only ones who can really give each other close attention, the kind we equate with being loved. They always notice what we want noticing". Never has there been a more perfect way to summarise exactly how and why your circle of girlfriends are so amazing and so important. They will tell you when you look great, but I mean those times when YOU truly feel great and they will say so for the most obscure reasons only you and they can see (my friend Jess will forever point out every summer when my freckles reappear and be as excited about it as me.... And that makes me smile). They can tell when something's wrong from the slightest change in wording, in the smallest text possible. They will agree with you on the trivial instances your angry or upset and be able to know the EXACT reasons why without you even mentioning it. They will scrutinise and put the world to rights with you over a coffee date, no judgement held because no judgement is ever needed.

My circle of amazing ladies continues to change and grow. One of my biggest perks to blogging is the absolutely incredible girls I've had the pleasure to meet along the way, some I know will be life long friends. Whether oldest and dearest or new and equally amazing, just down the road or half way around the world, I watch us support one another everyday through whatever life throws at us and I've never felt as lucky as I do right now to have such an amazing set of friends surround me. I guess you could take this as thanks or praise to all the surreal women in my life. I definitely don't tell them enough how bloody amazing I think each and everyone of them is but then again I just don't need to...

I know, they know.

May girls continue to support girls.

Sophia x

Photography by the super, amazing Rosie Butcher

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