It’s no secret that women are raised from a very young age to subtlety and overtly tear each other down. It’s the great trick that’s been played on us all. Here we are, with this amazing group of people who could love and support us, who could indeed change the world, and we’re fooled into thinking it’s all a competition.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love a good competition. There’s a reason I’ve never gotten an A-. But there’s also a reason I’m the first to share my notes. I recognize that we can strive for excellence without leaving each other behind. I recognize that I didn’t get where I am on my own, and I have a responsibility to pay it forward. I recognize that we are stronger together than alone.
But still…do you ever feel that thing deep down when you see another woman succeed that you wish you didn’t feel? And instead of letting it inspire you, you let it make you bitter? That’s programmed into us, because if we’re too busy fighting each other, we never get around to fighting the truly important battles. We miss out on how powerful the bond between women can be.
So that’s why it was so refreshing to see Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins love each other so unabashedly on Parks and Rec. That’s the way I want to love my friends. Because my friends truly are Rainbow Infused Space Unicorns, Good-Looking Elegant Baby Turtles, Transcendent Seahorses, and Vivacious Rainbows of Joy. They love me and inspire me and make me better and smarter and kinder and more fun.
And my friends are spectacularly different people. Some of them are superb writers. Some are excellent businesswomen. They work in education and finance and non-profit and government and medicine. Some inspire me with their boldness, and others with their calm demeanor. Some of my friends laugh easily, and I’m inspired by their light hearts. Some of my friends are angrier than I’ve ever felt the capacity to be, and I’m inspired by their strength.
Leslie Knope taught me, through hilarious and beautiful compliments, how to love my tribe. She taught me that women can be strong and beautiful and kind and hilarious, and they can love their friends for being all of the same things. She taught me that love is an unfathomable ocean, a majestic unicorn, a beautiful rule-breaking moth. And there is more than enough of it to go around.