A singular truism I have long now accepted is that I have a phenomenal group of best friends. So phenomenal is this somewhat diverse but unified group that I actually sat back for a minute this week and contemplated them running England. (The country, not the landscape).They genuinely could. It wouldn’t fall apart.
This is by no means simple, this articulation of what I have for so long known to be true. But it has been decided, I am in awe, filled with admiration and overwhelming gratitude. Truly humbled. Let me lay it out for you: To my mind, I see each of them as a mini representative of great women in history. A Margaret Thatcher here, a Jackie Kennedy there, a Florence Nightingale, so on and so forth, (and even my very own Oprah Winfrey!-we’ll get to it).
And it must go without saying, ladies and gentlemen, that such company has the profound capacity to crease.me.up. Indeed, there is never an occasion, however troublesome or wretched I have insisted it is, that won’t end in belly-aching laughter. Somebody WILL have me doubled over, laughing harder than the day before. How is anything truly problematic with these women around?
And so many lessons! So much I’ve learnt. 6 of the smartest, headstrong women I know equates to 6000 things to learn. Incongruous, unrelated but utterly brilliant. One of the wisest and most valuable things I’ve ever been given came from my very own Oprah, approximately a year and a half ago, “it’s okay to be uncomfortable” she told me. And with that, I began to understand that acceptance of a situation, good or bad, frees you up a little. That if you would only make peace with an uncomfortable time then it passes. And the growing pains subside. We’re not always here to smile. Comfort isn’t everything. Comfort isn’t growth.
Margaret Thatcher has theee most tenacious, head-screwed-on-the-right-way, marvelous advice I have ever heard. Pretty much always. And the most patient, non-judgemental pair of ears I’ve ever come across…I still maintain that her and Oprah are very alike. They believe otherwise.
Whilst Florence Nightingale is secretly Mother Theresa and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. In short, I’m frightened to entertain guests if she isn’t around. Genuine anxiety prevails. The girl can cook, clean, and has more useful general knowledge than google. What’s more she’s faster and funnier. And she can measure a bra size more efficiently than the women employed in the M&S fitting deparment (I’ve seen her do it, better, faster and funnier) with the added bonus of no awkward fumbling or cold hands. (Think they wanted to employ her after that episode).
So when Jackie Kennedy sends me a one-word text that reads ‘Starbucks?’ (she has an uncanny ability to know when caffeine and sugar are most necessary) and we sit covering as many topics as we can humanly manage until they kick us out, I remember things are awesome. And so is Jackie – my fashion icon, both literally and metaphorically. Nobody does it better. And whatever she has- she’ll share with you. That’s a tall order when you think about it. Pun totally intended.
That leaves 2…wonderful, creative, exceptional beings who’ve moulded and shaped so much of the person I am. Don’t you doubt for a second that I’ve run out of flattering comparisons, it’s just not the case.
Once I passed out from laughing too hard. True story. One moment my cheeks were aching and I couldn’t sit up straight and the next I was out cold. Just for a few seconds. But it felt like an eternity. I could hear the sound of my own laughter resounding inside my own head, until I came to, completely bemused. I believe that sometimes we go through phases that due to their intensity, seem to last a lot longer than in actual fact. Without the resounding laughter, they might go on forever. The fact is, I wouldn’t know. Because I have the Protein Queen, as she shall be known. Strong, lean and not at all mean. She’ll tell you how it is, she’ll tell you how it needs to be. If I had to, I’d say a cross betwixt Golda Meir and Kim Kardashian. But you might imagine why I’m hesitant in that regard.
Many times I’ve woken up next to a curly dark mass of hair on my pillow belonging to my 6th flag. Ironically, she’s probably the oldest flag, the one that’s been there the longest. And we’ve seen a lot together, a lot of places and faces, a lot of trips, a lot of memories. Just like the others, but more. By default. Or genetics.In any event I genuinely don’t have a comparison but at this point I’ve started to believe her heart is actually golden. It pumps gold the way most hearts pump platelets. And I’m cool with that.
It is my wish for these girls to remain as anonymous as they appear, although they’ll undoubtedly recognise themselves. It would be hard not to.I only wanted to share with you, with them, a plethora of ideas that now and again come crusading by and subtly remind me of how entirely and utterly blessed I am. For my 6 Flags. And all the tenacity and vibrancy they encompass. For the perpetual speckles of laughter.
And for everything in between.