Hi friends! Chrissie here. I’m excited to pass the mic over to someone very special in our Love Is Project community—our intern, Lara! Lara is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and we’ve been so grateful to have her on Team LOVE. Lara believes that strong female friendship should be sought, cultivated, and celebrated to further empower one another. To Lara LOVE is women supporting other women.
Lara, take it away….
Despite everything that 2020 has shown itself to be, it was not until I chipped my front tooth after a millennial-style rant that I started to get really fed up with lockdown. Naturally, the rant was about the injustice women face in our society and to my incredible luck, the chip was not as noticeable as my anger towards the system. Evidently, lockdown has allowed for some deep reflection about the society I, a 20-year-old girl at university, am about to dive headfirst (hopefully with a mouthguard) into.
This year has been transformative, not only for my dentist’s revenue, but for my admiration for the women I am surrounded by. Being home again has given me the quality time I longed for with some of the most inspiring people I know: my friends. With all of us at the precipice of our careers and adulthood, we shared in the lockdown-induced existential crises, deep reflections, and anger towards the system that is geared only to those who are privileged and usually male. It was in sharing our anger - that quickly turned into hysterical laughter - that I realised the importance I placed on female friendship in my life. These women were the antidote to my needed rants, my deep reflections, and my many existential crises that I had pre-, post- and during lockdown and it’s because of their ability to listen. In contrast to Stephen Covey’s infamous quote, these women listen to understand rather than just to respond, and that’s what LOVE means to me.
A true example of the potent listenership from our friend group came from an observation made by one of our mums. She noted, “you girls see each other and talk about very deep issues, you need to have fun!” Although an excruciatingly accurate description of our time spent together, we ironically discussed this further to conclude that a lot of our fun is found in the conversations we have. From topics such as how to make the perfect pasta sauce to the devastating implications of white feminism—we have discussed it all. Every topic comes with a true presence from everyone, each actively listening to understand each other and growing from others’ points of view. With a nine-girl strong group, there is always something to learn from each person in every conversation, allowing for each rendezvous to feel healing and rejuvenating.
I have always had incredible luck with girlfriends. From high school to university, I have met empathetic, intelligent, and, above all, kind women who have inspired me every day. From the awkwardness of middle-school to the discomfort and stress of high school, my friends have grounded and supported me throughout, and this is something I can never thank them enough for. I know this is not everyone’s experience, it’s a gift and definitely not a norm.
Growing up, the concept of LOVE was almost exclusively taught in relation to a family unit or a significant other that I would one day grow old with, and although both are rooted in LOVE, meeting and growing with my female friends underlined that the concept is not binary. LOVE exists beyond romantic or familial emotions which is something children are seldom taught. Although more modern children’s stories are beginning to stray away from the hyper-romanticised plotlines of the past, there is still room for more focus on the LOVE found within friendship. Love Is Project is a direct example of the celebration of LOVE outside of the binary. Through promoting LOVE on a global scale by highlighting its presence in community, spirituality, and in the everyday, the project transcends the lessons we were taught as children and empowers us further to see LOVE in every relationship we have.
Working as a Love Is Project Intern the past couple of months has been rewarding in so many ways. Not only am I in contact with some incredibly inspiring women who are continuing to make this world a better place inside and outside of their work, but I have also been able to see the impact that telling stories about LOVE has had across the world. Through the diverse community the Project has fostered, a myriad of stories about LOVE have been told and, most importantly, listened to, truly making it “The Greatest LOVE Story Ever Told”.
So when asked what LOVE means to me, I suppose the concept will evolve as I grow and experience this increasingly bizarre world. However, the one pillar of LOVE that I know will remain strong is the female friendships I have had the honour in sharing. The generosity of support, LOVE, and kindness is something each woman needs as we take on this system together. Being generous with your ears to understand one another will allow us to cultivate bonds based on trust and create friendship worth celebrating.
Thank you, Lara, for sharing your beautiful LOVE story. <3
If you want to share your LOVE story, shoot Madison an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how!