POWER OF ME | Building Authentic Friendships through Fashion

I was looking for the definition of the word friend to start this post and, of course, the urban dictionary came up in the search.  But little did I know the “definition” fit what I am going to share.

“A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest, too. A friend is loyal.”

A friend is someone who not only doesn’t care if you’re ugly or boring, but doesn’t even think about it; someone who forgives you no matter what you do, and someone who tries to help you even when they don’t know how. A friend is someone who tells you if you’re being stupid, but who doesn’t make you feel stupid.

As far back as high school I have been on the struggle bus when it came to my friendships.  Friends in high school were with boyfriends and crushes behind my back.  High school jealousy was common and to be expected.  Then the backstabbing and catty behavior followed me into college as well.  I was definitely not a victim, I did my fair share!  As a result of all this chaos, I know that these betrayals and terrible experiences left me jaded and hardened.  By my senior year of college I was not a good friend.  I had decided that I was only supposed to take care of me. No loyalty to what will eventually crumble anyway.

But as all women know there is so much value in our relationships that into my 30s I craved that outlet.  However, I needed to learn how to be a friend before I could ask for one.  So I set out to ask sorority sisters and even former friends what I did to contribute to these failed friendships.  There was a lot of tears and harsh realities I had to face in those conversations.

Fast forward to today, the betrayals still happen.  I am not perfect.  I have not learned to completely let down my guard.  My circle is depleted.  I’m down to like 2 friends.  One of them being my husband.  The good thing is I am no longer jaded.  I know that they were in my life for a season and were necessary to bring to this point today.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with fashion.  I was asked to give a fashion presentation to a women’s group called Conversations of Women.  I consider the founder to be friend so I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  Then she told me the topic–How Did I Get Here? I panicked.  I begin to reflect on how I got to a point where I am speaking to a group of women that have a group built on fellowship with no judgement.  Why would I be there?  I can’t keep a friend.  The enemy is so quick to try to take you away from where you NEED to be with self-doubt.  I pressed on still not knowing what I was going to say until I was called on to speak.  Now I don’t want to get deep or spooky but I heard the words “authentic relationships”.  Not BFFs, besties, baby mommas, or whatever they’re called these days.  A true relationship, a supportive relationship, and not necessarily a friendship.  Which means you have an event, I am not just present; I help promote.  I share your event, cover your event on my blog, and encourage others to support.  Real support.  Real relationship.

I don’t know what is in store for me on this journey.  I know I will fall short many times, but I look forward to forming authentic relationships with spiritual, strong, powerful, damaged, broken, determined, annoying, extra, bougie, grounded, successful women.  You all have a place here with me.

So I think the “Power of Me” lies in my desire to form authentic relationships through fashion.  For me to continue to examine myself, be honest, and offer genuine support.  Through sharing my personal style journey or otherwise.  Everyone loves clothes and shopping–whether they admit it or not.  Everyone has a business idea or dream they may be sitting on. We all have a place.  There’s money to be made for everyone!  But our power lies in our collaboration, working together, supporting each other.

Written By: Zuqueta, the Pnk Panda