Strong Women: Friendship

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‘Akufaaye kwa dhiki ndiye rafiki. Akufaaye kwa taabu, ndiye sahibu’

(Old Swahili Proverb that translates to ‘The person who helps you in need is a friend’).
Urafiki (Swahili)
Vináttu (Icelandic)
Ubungane (Zulu)
Amistad (Spanish)
มิตรภาพ (Thai)

These are all foreign words for ‘Friendship’. No matter where you are in the world, friendship is important.

Put quite simply the word ‘friendship’ is defined as ‘a relationship between friends’.

Simple right?

You can google friendship and what it means. You can read many articles and blog posts on what it really MEANS to be friends. I personally believe that it’s completely individual. We all want and need different things out of our friendships.

Some people want friends. Some people need friends. Some people consider their friends as their family. Others know that you can’t choose your family so it’s lucky you can choose your friends. I’ve also heard that if a friendship lasts at least 7 years then it is destined to last forever. Interesting.

I was fortunate enough to have a group of 4 gorgeous young women join me for a photoshoot. This was my way of highlighting the importance of having strong women in your life. Strong friendships.

Following on from my original project titled ‘A Natural Woman’, I asked these gorgeous ladies to be completely makeup free. Natural.

I wanted them to be themselves. To be raw.

It’s a big ask. When you’re used to putting on make up, even if it’s just the slightest amount. Everyone feels comfortable in their own way.

These ladies understood what I was asking and just did it! I’m so glad they did. They are all naturally gorgeous.

These four lovely women have all known each other for a while. Jacinta was the instigator. I’m so glad that she put her hand up on behalf of her friends/ sisters. These four are an intriguing bunch of ladies and I’m excited to share their friendships with you all.

Jacinta.
Jacinta.

Within this group of friends, Jacinta is a teacher, a sister, a best friend and a sister-in-law. Jacinta is recently engaged and plans to marry her love later this year.

Jacinta makes me laugh. I have quite a few friends who are teachers and they all possess the same ‘extreme’ skills in personal organisation. I say this because these two love birds have been planning their wedding long before they were even engaged. As you can imagine it’s inevitable that he’s going to put a ring on it… but when!?

Imagine trying to ensure that for every dinner date, outing, drive in the car, going out for take away or just casual trip to the shop- you were dressed in your best ‘I’ve just gotten engaged’ outfit. Now I don’t know exactly how long they had been planning their wedding prior to their engagement but I imagine that Jacinta is feeling quite a lot of relief now that she has that ring on her finger!

I’m pretty sure she told me that she is having 8 bridesmaids. EIGHT! Now this girl must have some cracking friendships!

I’d like to introduce this beautiful bunch of friends.

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Jasmine, Susanne, Natalie and Jacinta.

So… stay with me here.

Jasmine and Jacinta are best friends and have been since year 7.
Susanne and Jacinta are sisters.
Natalie is married to Jacinta and Susanne’s brother.

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They have all known each other for a really long time.

Jacinta tells me that she wasn’t a fan of Susanne when she was born. Apparently there are many photos of her leaning away from the baby in disgust.

 

I’d like to confirm that that has changed and these sisters are also now the best of friends.

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So what does friendship mean to everyone…

Personally, I believe that friendship is based on common interests, trust and acceptance.  Being able to confide in someone when you truly need it. The ability to vent excessively and know that the conversation won’t go any further. To reciprocate this for those same friends and be there when they need you to listen. Accepting who someone is, even if you don’t 100% understand why they do certain things. Just allowing people to be themselves. Truly just getting someone.

It goes both ways. One-sided friendships are short lived.

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Jacinta

I asked some of these ladies to explain what friendship meant to them…

‘Friendship to me means being able to call upon each other when needed. Whether you need to vent about a hard day, or tell them exciting news. Being there to support, have fun, be completely yourself every time you are with them! Trusting them to keep your secrets and knowing they will tell you if you have food between your teeth. I know that I try to hang around people who bring out the best in me, who are full of happiness and are up for any adventures’

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‘Friendship is something that should come easily and naturally, the ability to trust and rely on someone and to know you always have an ear that listens, shoulder to cry on and legs to jump for joy with’

What is important to you in a friendship?

‘Honesty, reliability, loyalty and of course having fun!’

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Jasmine
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Susanne
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Natalie

 I feel like these girls have got it right. They talk a lot, laugh a lot, spend a lot of time together and genuinely enjoy each others company.

It’s only expected that they would have some dirt on each other. So I asked them to share.

A story about acceptance.
One of the ladies tells me about her habit of cutting people off mid sentence whenever something pops into her mind. This caused one of the others to develop a stutter whenever they were together. It was clear when an interruption was about to occur. One would be talking and the other would widen her eyes and get ready to cut her off. The poor girl would have to spit her sentences out quickly in order to be heard!

To this day whenever they are together, the stutter comes back. Best part is- they have just accepted it and at least they can laugh about it.

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A story about honesty.
Another story occurred in a night club in Rome. One of the girls had been dancing all night (maybe after a few drinks). The rest of the group decided they wanted to head home later in the night. The following day the dancing girl expressed her disappointment at everyones lack of dancing, that the club was pumping and they had all been party poppers by heading home ‘early’. She refused to believe that the club was actually NOT pumping and only remembered having this awesome time.

Everyone was confused by her memory as they only remembered an empty club. So they then had to show her photos from the previous night where she was one of 4 people dancing on the dance floor. She was actually the only girl on the dance floor among 3 super seedy men. The photos were immediately deleted so that she could preserve her memory of the awesome night in the pumping club!

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A story about being yourself.
Then there is the clumsy one. Described as having a ‘cartoon- like tendency for awkward fails’. One day at school she was running to class and went to jump over a low bench. She didn’t judge the bench properly and ended up tripping. Text books flying, school skirt up over her head (thankfully she had shorts on underneath!)

It is expected that this one will likely have a piano fall on her head one day…or something completely random. This is just the way she is and the rest of them are used to it!

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A story about caring for one another.
Two of the ladies were travelling on the bus to band camp one day. One had bought a water bottle filled with fresh rain water from her parents rain tank. She was extremely proud of it and had told her friend to cherish it. That it was special and they needed to make it last.

So, naturally, the friend was careful and took the perfect sip without spilling any. Happy with this effort, the owner of the rain water took a sip but unfortunately breathed in some of the water and started to choke. She started coughing, choking and going blue. She tells me that she genuinely feared for her life.

She looked over to her friend for help and all she could see was her facing her and laughing. She thought she was dying and her friend just laughed and gave her a hit on the back. She managed to get in some air and lives to tell the tale.

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So what’s this all about? It’s no secret that every woman needs to surround herself with other strong women. Women we can look up to, be inspired by, laugh with, support and be supported by. We all need strong friendships.

Mostly we need to be allowed the opportunity to be ourselves. To just feel like we can be whoever we are and that that is ok. (And if not… well maybe ditch her. You don’t need that in your life!)

We’ve all had a shocking fashion attempt in the 90’s that our friends just went long with (Knee high rainbow socks, Blue tinted John Lennon sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts…. just to name a few. Oh gosh…)

We’ve all had that super shitty boyfriend our friends didn’t like, but made an effort with anyway. We’ve all said stuff we didn’t mean in the past. We’ve all just made stupid decisions.

But they are still there. Aren’t they…? Your friends won’t always be ok with everything you do or say. Why should they. We’re not all carbon copies of each other, are we? (How boring would that be!))

What matters is the people in your life can call you out on your bullshit.

Tell you that that was a really stupid thing to say. Let you know that you made a dumb decision. Make it clear that they disagree with what just came out of your mouth.

I’m thankful for the people in my life who have continually pulled me up on stuff. Talked to me about it. Then we all move on.

You learn. They help you become a better version of yourself.

Having these strong women in your life helps you evolve. You help them evolve. You all grow together.

Sometimes you grow apart and that’s ok too.

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I’m pretty lucky. I’ve got friends all over the world and all over Australia. Between school, surf club, previous jobs, travel, common interests, mutual friends and many other ways- I have friends all over the place. Do I talk to them every day. No. Do I see them all the time. No. Have we been friends for ever. No.

But I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

So in my own experience I would like to put together a list, or rather, a recipe of the things I truly believe make up a good friendship.

Acceptance.
Being yourself.
Reliability.
Call-on-in-a-crisis.
Encouragement.
Agree to disagree.
Trust (That ‘this conversation stays in the vault’ type trust).
Boundaries (Understanding each others).
Be available for wine.
Grow together (Yes eventually people will get married and have kids. Either resist against it or just go with it).
Forgiveness.
Fun.
Positivity.

Surround yourself with strong women. Be one of those strong women. Be good to each other. Be there for each other.

Having strong friendships makes life good.

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A project by Carly Box from Carly Takes Pictures.

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Carly Box is an Australian Photographer. She is a self- taught photographer and has been perfecting her art for over 5 years. Carly is a ‘world wide’ freelance photographer who travels indefinitely. Currently based in Northern Thailand, Carly has the ability to travel anywhere  you require her to be. Her style is a unique mix of many things, with her forté being natural light. Contact Carly with your enquiries here.


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