When I was a young girl, I went to a fantastic co-ed summer camp called Camp Arowhon. Located in Algonquin Park, Ontario, it’s one of the prettiest, most remote and beautiful places in all of Canada. And oh, what fun! I remember horseback riding, art room movie nights, sailing lessons and tons more.

The following year, my mother told me I was going to an all-girls camp, called Northway.  Also located in Algonquin Park, I was full of dread going! I thought what could be worse, an all girls camp or sleeping in tents with no running water?

Well my Mother set me straight pretty quick, telling me: a) Decision was made. And b) the friendships I’d forge with my camp girls will last a lifetime.

While not happy with this initially, it turned out to be one the best decisions ever. Little did I know, she was instilling one of my most important, golden rules I follow and live by to this day.

Girlfriends are everything.

This, I’ve come to appreciate and acknowledge more and more with age. Boyfriends, husbands, partners – some will come and others may go, but my girlfriends – the ones I’ve known since camp and then high school, these women are my “constants”. My rocks, my pillars. Who I cherish most.

Knowing this, has really shaped how I raise my own kids too. Like my Mother instilled in me, I want them to experience the ups and downs of making friends, and hopefully hold on to the ones most golden. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve never been a helicopter or over-bearing parent. I believe my kids are capable and deserving of the freedom to make friends – whether at school or soccer practice. The less I get in the way – the better.

Girlfriends are like a lottery you win every day of your life.

So just who are my closest?

Well without revealing names, there’s the one I go to for any and all advice related mostly to family/kids as well as day-to-day stuff. She’s the one who’ll set me straight even if I might not agree, or worse, I get into a fender bender with her car, blaming the automatic garage door. While a total pain, she’ll carry no grudge or rub my nose in it.

My other ‘go-to’ is one who truly wants me to feel and believe I’m beautiful. She thinks I’m a super model, for real. No wait, she thinks ALL women are pure beauty, and makes this known to nearly everyone in her presence. She never judges, and speaks only positively. She’s also a 20 out of 10 looks-wise, and keeps no beauty secrets whatsoever! She’s first to reveal what products she’s loving for her skin, or what formulas she recommends I try. I adore her authenticity.

She’s also the one I champion for teaching me confident women share! Cause really, why shouldn’t we?

What’s up with:

Me: “I love your top. Where did you get it?”

Random Gal: “I don’t remember.”

Or

Me: “Your skin looks gorgeous. What products are you using?”

Random Gal: “Nothing really, just Dove and water.” ?

C’mon ladies! We can do better. Or at least, why not try to be? Know that feeling when you smile at a stranger in the airport and they smile back? That’s a good feeling isn’t it? So why can’t be this way with people all the time?

Further to sharing, I’ll admit I’ve become very conscious of gossip-talk and putting others down. In my opinion, it’s ugly, and not needed. As my Dad always told me ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.” Damn straight.

All of this reminds me of an article I read about Kelly Rowland’s friendship with Beyoncé and Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles. In it, Kelly says Beyoncé encouraged her to always be authentic, to embrace her beauty and the colour of her skin. Tina, she says, has been like a “bonus mother” forcing Kelly to stand in front of the mirror and say kind things to herself.

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Beyoncé’s music, I’m now crushing ‘the Bey’– huge!

The best part is that Kelly now believes it’s her responsibility to share her experiences to empower other women.  Which goes back to women, the power of friendship and the beauty of sharing. My kind of trifecta. My kind of Gorgie. Namaste.