Last year when I wrote to you on Galentine’s, I wept as I recounted the incredible gratitude I was feeling 24 hours before I started over.
Last year, it was all about saying thank you to the people who helped me survive and rebuild.
This year, it’s about the people who have helped me discover, thrive and contribute to a bigger conversation.
When the concept of Galentine’s debuted in 2010 on one of the many iconic episodes of Parks and Recreation, the lighthearted tone of the episode seemed appropriate. It was reasonable to me to focus on frittatas and elaborate personalized gifts when celebrating female friendship. My femininity was predictable, protected, and privileged: living in the rural Midwest, having a male partner, upholding traditional gender roles. It was also peripheral — who really needed feminism anymore?
But this year, as #TimesUp and #metoo disrupt a new institution each day and we faithfully show up to listen to the important stories of diverse women as well as the stories within that are clawing their way out, the need to celebrate this emerging holiday, once frivolous, is now urgent.
Societal change will come from today’s women, just as it always has. The men go off to hunt and provide (and still feel an overwhelming pressure to do so) while the women stay behind, doing the emotional labor of building the future in which we all want to live.
Throughout my first year of independence, I know I have needed the strength of the sisterhood, both from the women I have chosen but also from strangers who know to participate in the understood contract of being a woman in public.
So today, let’s take a breath from this seemingly endless fight and recognize the endless moments given by the women among us, building a better world.
To the friend who listened to me sob right before I needed to buy a car and I couldn’t make one more decision by myself. I thought I needed a husband, but I needed you.
To the woman who shared her decades-in-the-making, One Who Almost Got Away, love story during my first Thanksgiving Dinner not at my parents’ table. At the holidays I needed connection. I needed her.
To the girl at the bar who allowed me, a stranger, to step between her and her harasser and get her some water while the security guard did nothing. She helped me feel powerful. I needed that.
To the friends who have built a community of love and support for me in California — holy shit I need you.
To the women who keep telling their stories so I can try to understand how I can be better as a flawed ally. You are brave. I am grateful. I wish we didn’t need you as much as we do.
Celebrate Galentine’s Day today by reaching out to the women in your life who are what you need. Keep listening. Keep believing them. Let them rest, then keep fighting. Because we can’t build the world we need without them.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.