I recently saw an article about the Sex and the City shows and what had become of the series and its legacy. And this quote really hit me: “What if it were the story of a woman who lost herself in her thirties, who was changed by a poisonous, powerful love affair, and who emerged, finally, surrounded by her friends?.” And it had me thinking about what the show had meant for me in my life. Ya know, just like every other single gal living in a city has wondered. So add me to the list.
When I first originally watched the series in the later years of college and then in the post-years. My emotions entirely surrounded Carrie and Mr. Big. Because, of course, I had a Mr. Big. Just like thousands of other women across the country. And this is how I related to the show. Thinking, hey maybe at the end of my series, “John” will call me up and we’ll sail off into the sunset. Well, “John” is now happily married, not to me, with a child. And I’ve spent countless hours in a therapist chair trying not to let that unhealthy relationship permeate through the ones that followed. Often, unsuccessfully.
But as I looked back at the series in my late 20s into my early 30s, there was something larger that really hit me. And that was the friendships and the community that these women had built for themselves. That despite the heartache, tears, and disappointment, at the end of the day, they had each other. They had their people. And I got to thinking about my own communities and my own friendship.
Being a single lady living in a city in your 30s can be rough and lonely at times. It can sometimes feel that everyone else is moving on and you’re left on the sidelines. Marriage, babies, the American Dream. And what happens if you don’t find that? What happens if it doesn’t fit your life just right? What then? What is your community? Where are your other three female brunch companions? Was that what I really wanted from the Sex and the City lifestyle?
Over the years I’ve been so very lucky to have created communities throughout my life. From a Jewish youth group when I was younger, to surprisingly joining a sorority in college, I have found that sometimes, communities create themselves when you least expect it with some of the greatest friendships you’ll ever know. On a recent weekend with many of my girlfriends from college, women who all are leading very different daily lives these days, it was comforting to know that we could still bring each other to tears with laughter. That we still knew so much about each other. That we still had such a sense of community despite not seeing each other as often as we used to.
I was always amazed at the community that surrounded me while living in London. I always describe the people in my life at that time as my ex-pat family. And while there were many that were a part of that that weren’t technically ex-pats, family still felt like the best way to encompass what everyone meant to me. If we couldn’t share a lot of special moments with our own biological families, at least we could share them with each other. And complain about London in ways that no one else would understand. [Please don’t be offended by that statement, London, you’re still my favorite.]
Coming back to Boston in 2009, as hard as it was, and as much as I questioned if I had done the right thing, the communities that I have surrounded myself in the last 4 years are ones I never could have imagined. From an incredible book club that has given me much more than a longer book list, to the librarians and activists that I met through going back to grad school, it’s the richest community I could ask for. And it’s a community that not only supports me but keeps me in check at times as well. But each time I think, well, that’s it’, that’s my community, those are the borders. It expands. Like with my experience in the Jewish community this past winter that has now brought me to the incredible Team Ari.
I have a close-knit biological family and have always considered myself so incredibly fortunate for that. And the fact that I’ve been able to add to that through so many communities, well, maybe that’s my brunch. Maybe my Sex and the City friendship is walking into a neighborhood bar and being immediately surrounded by hugs, laughter, and drinks made just for me. Maybe I can stop being jealous of those friendships and realized I’ve had them all along.
A friend recently told me that this would be the year I met my “person.” Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But it all seems irrelevant, because I have my people.
*Ed Note: I have over the years grown to understand many of the class and race issues within the Sex and the City series. This is not to gloss over those but more to offer a single perspective of what that show meant to me over the years.