Twelve years old.
It was a time of sun-filled days spent lounging around the pool, of bike rides and drumsticks and dreams about the future.
A time of posters plastered on bedroom walls and horror movies and dance parties.
A time of firsts: first kisses, first periods, first cigarettes.
A time of growth spurts and sex talks and boys with blue eyes and yellow dirt bikes making hearts flutter and skinned knees go weak.
A time of girls.
Gangly girls who thought they knew it all. Who thought they had it all. (Didn’t we?)
Some were friends I knew would last forever (they have). Others were friends I knew would eventually drift away (they did).
I see it so clearly: pyjamas and popcorn and bowl after bowl of Heavenly Hash ice cream.
Staying up until sunrise sharing the secrets that hid in the deepest crevices of our hearts and trusting that they would never be repeated. (They never were).
There were silly moments and scary moments as we giggled our way towards the unavoidable task of growing up.
Then, we grew up.
We met more girls along the way - in high school, in university. Some are now sisters. Others crossed our path for one brief moment and in that moment they made us laugh, or cry, or question. They taught us a lesson we were ready to learn.
Different girls at different times and so many popcorn-fueled confessions.
I miss those confessions. That feeling of harmony and solidarity that came from just being girls, in pyjamas, chatting the night away.
These days, I see my girlfriends once every few weeks, if I’m lucky. We try to connect over a rushed lunch date or last-minute coffee break and barely even get past “hello” before it’s time to go.
We often plan to have a nice dinner, catch a movie, talk until the bartender kindly asks us to leave. Sometimes these plans work out, but usually they don’t. They fall to the bottom of our list of things-to-do while work or family or other more pressing commitments consistently take the top slot.
And women everywhere are suffering because of this.
Women need women just as girls need girls.
We need to relax, unwind, discard the heels, the makeup, the earrings. We need to turn off the cell phone, turn off the charm, turn off the polished skills of the accomplished professional and just chill out.
Like we used to, when we were 12.
So, ladies, I am bringing it back. I am reinstating the slumber party. I am checking my calendar, choosing an evening, booking it off, and treating myself to a night of uninhibited sharing and squealing and ouija boards and pillow fights.
There can be some tweaking, of course. We can substitute root beer for red wine, M&Ms for dark chocolate, and chips for brie cheese and crackers, but the rest must stay the same: the pyjamas, the popcorn, the ice cream, the horror movies. These are the slumber party staples.
I see it so clearly: women reconnecting with their girly selves, their childhood aspirations, their genuine feelings. Women, freed from the pressures of city life, loose and giddy and unguarded.
And though the evening itself is sure to be fun, I am certain that bringing back the slumber party will have repercussions far beyond the living room.
Imagine a world in which women are regularly encouraged to take some time for themselves, to unclench those fists, peel off those tights, and talk and share and dissolve into giggles.
Imagine a world in which women are encouraged to detach themselves from their various roles of girlfriend, wife, mother, staff member, boss and relax into the realms of girl and friend.
This is a world in which women feel valued and worthy. It is a world in which women can more easily shrug off stress because they understand the importance of putting themselves first. It is a world in which women give themselves permission to throw on some pyjamas and replenish their reserves of strength and passion and power.
Yes, power. Women, united in a sisterhood of love and trust and laughing fits, are a force to be reckoned with.
Ladies, let’s make this happen. Let’s take care of ourselves, and each other. Let’s indulge in some guilt-free girl-time and remember who we once were, before we became so many things to so many people.
I am having a slumber party.
This week's affirmation: I am grateful for the women in my life.