Posted: March 13, 2024

Above And Beyond

All my life I’ve wanted a best friend. Isn’t that what girls are supposed to do? We look for someone to share everything with. Braid each other’s hair, try out makeup techniques, trade clothes with each other. There were no other girls my age for miles and miles. Then one year, Naomi and her family moved one mile down the road. Totally within bicycling range. We sat by each other on the bus ride to grade school and back. And we spent long summer days together playing, after chores of course. And as suddenly as she was there, she was gone. Her family left for better work opportunities in another state. I cried for days.

It wasn’t until high school that I met another friend who would be my next best friend. We’d stay over at each other’s houses doing all the girl things together. She taught me how to put on makeup and sneak a cigarette. I taught her how to milk a cow and slop the hogs. We always wound up at my house the most and I never understood why. Until one day, I found out she was only being my friend so she could get to my older brother. They started dating and I found myself put on the back burner.

Fast forward to my grown-up years and still on the hunt for the illusive best friend. I had lots of girlfriends but none that ever felt like “the one”. Oh, there were a few hopefuls; but they all seemed more into gossip, and clothes, and social standing, and gossip, and…and…and. Nothing I really cared about.

And then along came the incredible women of the nudist community. Conversations flow around who you are as a person. We are a community of women that I don’t believe has existed since my grandma’s days on the farm. When neighbors helped neighbors with ease and care. When they sat on front porches and worked out the details of the day and saved their little corner of the world. We sit on the deck of my cabin sharing a bottle, or two – okay, maybe three – of wine, and talk and laugh and welcome others into the circle.

At this point in my life, I don’t have that one best friend I’ve been looking for my entire life. I am blessed with many incredible friendships of women who have also become my sisters. We encourage each other, build each other up, and are there for one another through adversity and joy. We don’t do each other’s hair, but we often go get pedicures together. For the most part we could care less about learning new makeup techniques. And best of all, there’s no need to share clothes. Instead, we share stories of life: adventures, struggles, victories, and what the true meaning of beauty is. Real conversations that foster friendships with depth and purpose creating friendships above and beyond anything I ever thought possible.

-Andee Rodgers

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