A Marriage of Friendship in Water
"Good friendships are just as important as romantic relationships -- they will save your life over and over again."
Marriage of Friends
My life is filled with the souls of women I love. The ones who make my belly ache from laughter, who catch my tears. Who grieve, who defend me when I'm unkind to myself. These women will love my children, dance as we age, protect my secrets, share in my joy, sing even when we're sinking in sorrow. They walk close, promising their lives to me - a marriage without a wedding; a commitment without a ring. If you have these women too, remember: the soulmate is a wonderful thought but look how beautiful these love stories are. Look how they make you full.
I discovered this poem when a wild swimming friend shared it with a group of us who had bonded recently. I loved the poem so much I looked up Hannah Ro Writes. She said, about this poem, that
"Good friendships are just as important as romantic relationships--they will save your life over and over again."
This is so true to me, so on this International Women's Day 2022, I would like to celebrate my female friendships which have been forged and deepened in the water. There is something about being in the water, with other women who have adventurous souls.
Wild Swimming Journey
I have written several blogs about my wild swimming journey, it started in a wetsuit in the winter with a good friend. In April 2021 I took part in a body confidence campaign with Deakin & Blue and The Bluetits. During the filming in Wales we did some group shots and ended up playing and jumping in the surf. It was the first time I had swum with so many women and without a wetsuit and I really loved it. We spent the day walking, dipping and talking. I loved the feeling of connection that united us.
After that trip we had the first group swim of my new wild swimming group, the Shingle Street Bluetits, for which I am admin. It was fabulous and eight people turned up. The group is now up to nearly 600 members. (Just to say Bluetits is a group for everyone, men and women. I am just focusing on female friendships in this blog as it is International Women's Day.)
As a group we've had swims on the Longest Day, Summer Solstice, full moons, Suffolk Day, New Year's Day fancy dress swims and more. The group has brought me so much joy. I have met such amazing and inspirational people and the cameraderie we have in the water is just lovely. Read more in my blog about the magic of the sea.
I love that every time I go for a swim it will be in different conditions and with lots of different people. I have made some amazing friendships from people I probably wouldn't have met in any other way.
We have become true friends and confidantes. As they are all swimmers they are already up for all kinds of adventures and plans!
Recently in a separate venture I was involved in a filming project through a swimming friend who was in it. A friend was in a special swim national project film, and some of her friends were filmed too to highlight how real people use the UK coastline. We filmed all day (although I had to go off to work for a few hours in between) outside and although it was cold and tiring, we all had a real sense of fun, adventure and bonding.
There was also a sense of love and relaxation between our group. At the time of writing this blog there is a real sense of uncertainty and despair in the world. Having battled two years of Covid-19 we now have an international crisis over the devastating impact of the Russian Government’s decision to invade Ukraine. With sadness and concern on everyone's mind, the chance to take some respite in the company of other women was just what we needed.
We felt incredibly lucky to be able to get to share our love of swimming captured on film forever - unless we end up on the cutting room floor of course! The film crew were amazing and commented on how it was obvious the friendships were real and genuine.
Adventures with women
I moved to the countryside two years ago to a little village near the sea and forest. Making friends with local women who were into nature and being active, I started walking with them and we especially like walking to the beach and watching the sunrise and sunset. Sometimes we just go to the beach with a drink and watch the sea or shooting stars.
I became an ambassador for This Girl Can Suffolk and became really passionate about inspiring other women to get outside and be active. I love stand up paddleboarding and have been doing that, even throughout the winter. Being able to go for morning swims or sunrise paddles with my close friends is what keeps me going when life gets a bit stressful.
What adventures do you like to do with your friends?