Growing up, my dad would always tell me… your friends are your worst enemies because they take up all of your time. Practice the violin or read a book instead… be careful who you hang out with because they will bring you down. Also the classic hit…Trust no one. Simple, but to the point. He also planted misogynistic seeds into my head as well. Women aren’t as smart as men. Women aren’t as funny as men. They even change their last names to the man’s because they are less superior. He understood having sex (for his son, not so much for his daughter). So for awhile I never trusted women or even wanted to hang out with them. If I can’t fuck you or get a job from, then why hang out?
Even in my 20s, my boyfriend threatened to break up with me if I didn’t make any girlfriends. He told me I was putting too much pressure on him. He wrote these to-do lists for me. (Yes, it was quite the unhealthy, codependent relationship). The first thing on every list would be Call Molly. Ask her to go to a Groundlings show. But I would get nervous and ask my friend Steve instead. Yeah, I had friends, but they were all dudes who wanted to sleep with me.
Perhaps I’m being harsh. Yes, I’ve had girlfriends, but far and few between. I never truly allowed myself to be honest with them. It was hard for me. I felt so awkward. How can you be vulnerable if you’re NOT spreading your legs?
But then things changed. I distanced myself from my father, went to therapy, and discovered and am still discovering who I am. It's a process. I am untangling my thoughts and feelings that are separate from my dad’s. First step, understanding my crazy and fucked up thoughts and realizing where they come from, followed by, forgiving myself for thinking and acting on those things, and then figuring out who I am and also who the fuck I want to be. I highly recommend it!
Turns out, I LOVE having girlfriends. My favorite thing on this planet is a girl’s night or even better… a girl’s weekend. In fact, many of my friendships with women have saved me. Not only that, I just love talking to women in general. I love to talk about girly things from how often to wash your bra (things I never learned) to hair and make-up to pubes and plucking nipple hairs to politics to favorite movies to Game of Thrones characters to childhood abuse to god. And everything in between. Oh, and calling out creepy men and naming names. That's a rather new topic I love.
Recently I was a guest on She Shed Comedy podcast and talk show with Linda Schwartz. It’s a new podcast… "educate and empower women pursuing a career in comedy through lighthearted, soulful, and meaningful conversations with working women in entertainment.” So of course I was honored and delighted to be a guest. I had known Linda through an improv class like a decade ago and have remained Facebook friends ever since. We live in different cities so we haven’t really been in contact other than the webs.
I took a beautiful train ride to San Diego where Linda lives. She picked me up from the train station, made me a delicious salad, and then we went into her pink shed to discuss comedy. There’s an unspoken bond between us that we slowly unraveled as the day went on. (Recorded and not recorded). We shared similarities from our childhood to current dilemmas and desires.
For so long I was taught not to trust women. I was taught this from a man. It’s clear now that it’s a way for men to control us. Make it so we don’t tell anyone about the harassment, the date rape, the sexual abuse. Make it so we feel like we’re all alone sorting out the damage and sometimes not even realizing it’s magnitude because we’re not telling anyone. We’re not seeing someone else’s expression, their reaction of empathy and horror and then telling us it’s wrong.
My dad was incorrect. You're friends aren't your enemies. They're your friends. Friends are important to have, and it's a good way to spend your time. Not only that, it's healing. Plus, I have never laughed as hard or learned as much from talking with my girlfriends. So, my dad was incorrect about that too.