Audrey Kenyon / Daily Nexus

“Kira, just let me do your hair,” my roommate exclaims over the Taylor Swift song we have blasting in our room. I hand over my curling iron and hairbrush, and she happily begins separating and pinning up my hair. “Okay, but I can curl your hair after,” I promise her.

It’s a Friday night; there’s makeup everywhere, outfits being tried on and swapped and our dorm room smells like a mix of hairspray, perfume and girlhood. I hold this exact moment in my mind as the night keeps moving, careful to remember it exactly as it happened. I want to remember the laughter, the communal lipstick and the comfort I felt while being hugged by my best friends’ love. I assumed this day was one in a million — a blip in a world of obligatory love — but my friends continue to prove my theories about love wrong. 

As Dolly Alderton so eloquently writes, “Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt in my long-term friendships with women.” My best friends have shown me the most intimate, pure and selfless forms of love that have set the blueprint for the love I wish to receive for the rest of my life. 

I love love. I believe love exists anywhere you look, and I give love unconditionally. However, different forms of love I’ve received have been transactional, convenient or mandatory. Romantic relationships, though the most obvious relationship to learn about love, have only shown me that love can come with barriers. My exes reaped the benefits I provided (i.e. my love, my kindness, my attention) without really getting to know me and give love back. My familial relationships, though foundational, have a border of obligation surrounding love. There is a certain unspoken agreement in familial love that we must love each other because we are family, rather than being family because we love each other. 

My friendships, however, have undoubtedly formed because they saw me for who I am and decided to keep loving me every day after that. They got to know the worst parts of me and all sides to me; my female friends learned my bad habits and embarrassing stories and still choose to show up and love me. These are the most beautiful relationships I have ever known. 

Most of my happiest memories include my female best friends because they effortlessly break down my walls and create a safe space for me to cry, to laugh, to be weird and, most importantly, they allow me to be unapologetically me. I reflect on the intimacy of my roommates and I laying on the floor and listening to sad music because I was feeling down over a breakup. They noticed my mood and instructed me to listen to the music, then decided to join me on the floor for the sake of sympathizing, allowing me to wallow. They had nothing to gain from doing that, nothing that would benefit them and no ulterior motive. My roommates just wanted to let me know that they were there for me, that they were there to love me. 

When a boy ghosts me and I lose a little more hope in love, I think back to the sleepovers with my hometown best friends when we would stay up all night, laughing about things we wouldn’t remember in the morning. We would say our goodnights at midnight, but somehow stay awake until the sun rose. In those few late hours of the night, when the realities of our lives couldn’t touch us and each other’s laughs kept us awake, we spoke about our deepest fears and told our funniest jokes. We didn’t touch our phones — everyone in them was sound asleep — and we didn’t bother checking the clock because we already knew it was late. The later it got, the closer we seeped into the next day where our responsibilities hit us. For those few hours, though, we were fully immersed in each other’s presence and could offer advice, hugs, love and pillow fights. After I remember those nights, I am alright again. 

My girl best friends are the first to notice something new about me, whether it’s a new haircut, new nail color or a new happiness I carry with me. They prove to me, over and over again, that they see me in all aspects. They validate that, yes, my hair looks good and, no, that guy didn’t deserve you. They delicately look at my new manicure and read my poems thoroughly, giving commentary back. My girl best friends are also the first to notice when I am upset, sometimes before I even recognize it. They study my facial expressions and take into account the music I’m listening to, lightly asking if I’m okay because they genuinely want to know. Their intentions are pure and full of love, which has been an overwhelming but needed lesson for love. 

My female friends have healed me by simply being my friend.

My female friends have healed me by simply being my friend. Every text they send just because they’re thinking of me, every time they save me a piece of food or remember a tiny detail I told them in a story two weeks ago, I feel myself learn a little bit more about love. The tears of laughter I cry from my friends’ jokes replace the tears of sadness I’ve cried over failed relationships and times of loneliness. 

Thus, I choose to use my female friendships as a blueprint for love; I believe I deserve this kind of love all the time. I deserve this love through surprise birthday parties and homemade cookies and Starbucks trips and words of affirmation. I deserve unconditional and unrestricted love. I hold a special place in my heart for the women in my life, for always listening and always encouraging me in moments I needed it. I hold my female friendships close to my heart, where they are a beacon of love to me and everyone around them. 

Kira Logan reflects on the beauty and selflessness of her female friendships, appreciating the unconditional and constant love she receives from her best friends.