As a girl of a certain size, I often feel frumpy in a t-shirt and jeans. So for a long time t-shirts have not been a big part of my wardrobe. This past summer I went to a t-shirt party with my best friend and the party was packed. I looked around the room and saw people of all shapes and sizes rocking their shirts. I realized that people like t-shirts. Duh, right? More than that people see t-shirts as a moment of self-expression. You can speak your mind, pledge your allegiance, or rep your squad on the front of your shirt.
If t-shirts are apart of fashion and fashion influences the psyche I realized maybe I have not been giving them their just due. All those t-shirt thoughts got me to shopping and I found the cutest thing! Best friend t-shirts!!! (found here and here) Not only were they cute but no one executes self-expression better than my best friend. I have mentioned her a few times on the blog so I felt it’s about time that I include her in on the fun. I challenged her to style the t-shirt to her liking and let her know that I would do the same. Like the bomb bestie she is, she agreed.
I bought these shirts in such a frenzy that I hadn’t put too much thought into what message we would send wearing the shirts. (me still underestimating the power of the tee) After we photographed our looks and I started going through the images I thought man this is powerful. As we get older friendship gets harder. Not only do we have to prioritize our lives to family, career, and self, we still need to be good friends. These t-shirts represented sisterhood and it is so necessary. We all need friends but in the current environment as an African American woman, the sisterhood has been essential. Sisterhood has saved me more times than I count. To be representatives of such an essential and relevant element of our community is more than just time spent with my bestie. I hope everyone can experience this level of #blackgirlfriendships.
Enough already, meet my bestie Kim” Duwaup” Bolden
Even though now, it feels like we’ve been friends forever, we have actually only been friends for 8 years. I remember when she came to my house for a gathering with my extended family and as I was introducing her I said, “this is my best friend Kim”. Best friend felt like the short answer. It was easier than saying… “This is Kim. She’s my lifeline, she supports me, believes in me, and keeps me from falling off the cliff when I’ve taken things too far.” So, as usual, I said: “I love you first”. LOL.
I asked her, “When did you feel like I was your best friend?”
“The only person I ever really “claimed” as my best friend was Shelisa, who I’ve been friends with since childhood. I’ve struggled with the notion of a “best friend” because that means that this friend is “better” than the other and that would be hard for me to say. I was actually just talking to Shelisa recently, telling her that I finally understand the motion of having more than one “best friend”. I’ve determined its possible to have multiple best friends, because different friends are “best” at particular times, for particular reasons. So while one might be the “best” to confide in, another might be the “best” for giving advice, and another “best” when it comes to feeling understood or accepted. I honestly embraced you as a “best friend” in theory back in 2012 while we were preparing our production Indestructible Bloom, but just recently, like within the past few months, called you by “best friend” because I just recently came to that understanding that I can have more than one.”
It just dawned on me recently that as mothers, entrepreneurs, and friends, we talk about sisterhood all time. It always comes up in several different tones and we relate it back to so many different instances. On several occasions, I have heard her have say “what I want for myself I want for my sisters”. Every time that she says that it feels more important than the last time.
So, I asked, “What does that sentiment mean in your terms?”
“I want to be happy, healthy, successful and thriving in every area of my life. Just as I want these things for myself, I want them for my sisters as well. We are all deserving.”
I know that I have grown exponentially since she came into my life. She has always been very accepting of me as a whole yet simultaneously challenged my beliefs when they’re, well, “wrong”. It’s not always what I want to hear in the moment but I will take in our conversation and realize that I may need to adjust my mindset about a topic or issue.
I asked, “Do you think friendships are essential for personal growth?”
“Certainly, being your friend has exposed me to many things that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise and opened me up to trying things I probably never would have tried.”
We’ve been working together for a while now but we’ve recently started our consulting company, BOLD Creative Solutions. We were always together before but now we’re ALWAYS together so needless say she knows me well. People naturally are just drawn to her smile and let’s just be honest she networks one billion times better than I do. I usually don’t have the same effect on people. I asked, “What do you think people misunderstand about me most often?”
People think you’re “boujee” and in a way you are because you have expensive taste and like luxurious things, however you aren’t stuck up. I think people may perceive you as “stuck up” or “stand offish” because they don’t realize you’re a true introvert. I think those are two different things.
We are both about building community with women and even more so now that we are Black women business owners. Collaboration is the key to being able to elevate, celebrate, and empower our counterparts. We elevate our peers and encourage their growth even if that means they hit a milestone before we do. We celebrate our competition because if we don’t have competitors we don’t have a market. We empower each other because it’s easy to think someone who is working has it all together but looks can be deceiving and personal encouragement from an outsider can be the compliment that keeps that person going. We regularly do this for each other and are quick to extend it to other women, especially Black women who want to pursue being a creative professional. These values are a direct extension of our #blackgirlfriendship
I asked “Why do #blackgirlfriendshipsrock?”
“Because having a friend that can relate on multiple levels who accepts you, respects you, loves you and wishes the best for you is everything.”
I truly cherish our friendship and I have been wanting to have an awesome t-shirt moment! I appreciate her for always being willing to play along with me and rolling with my crazy, on a whim ideas!!
Finally, I asked, “Describe our friendship in 6 words.”
“Love, Loyalty, Sisterhood, Understanding, Supportive, Accepting”
What is the core element in your relationship with your bestie? Tell me in the comments below.
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