Abby and I have known each other for four years.
We’ve taken long drives to Scotland together, listening to ABBA Gold on repeat. We’ve danced with our coats shoved into our rucksack straps in dingy Brixton bars. We’ve walked home after the night buses in the early hours of south London mornings. We’ve had rushed after-work debriefs in city pubs and debated life changes over extortionately priced beer. We’ve exchanged books (Abby knows my reading taste better than I know my own), possessions and baked goods. We’ve had Christmas meals, birthday dinners, Well Done on the New Job drinks and goodbye picnics.
For most of this time, peeking into the gaps of the early hours and late weekday evenings, is Dear Damsels. A collective that is so much more than the sum of its parts (those parts including: a daily Whatsapp chat, a joint bank account, multiple loyalty cards across London cafes, a spectacular Google Drive and our wonderful writers and readers).
It would be a lie if I said that we manage to keep our friendship and Dear Damsels separate. They’ve always existed alongside each other. Our collective was born out of the realisation that we shared a passion for the same thing – and that our friendship and understanding would only make us work even harder to create the spaces we so desperately wanted for ourselves and other women.
It’s hard to take a step back for yourself and even harder to take one for your friend. To know when not to send that message late at night. To know when you should. But as Dear Damsels has grown, so have our boundaries and ability to balance.
In those four years of #AbsandBri, we’ve got pretty good at passing things back and forth between us. We know where our strengths lie. I’m a serial multitasker, able to do seven things at once. Abby likes a block of work, always to be finished before 9pm. I could ramble on for England. Abby is brilliantly succinct. I need colour coding, spreadsheets and excel docs. Abby writes her to-do list by hand, carefully crossing off each one.
We also know the strength we have together. We understand the purpose of what we’re doing, and talk about Dear Damsels with one united voice to anyone who wants to listen (usually whilst wearing accidentally coordinated outfits).
I couldn’t do this without Abby, and I’m pretty sure she couldn’t do this without me. Seeing Dear Damsels grow has only made us even more sure of the power that women can have when they come together and share their voices, be it online, at an event, on a podcast, in print or even in two women working together across the Pacific Ocean.
When it came to deciding what our next project would be, it felt natural to focus on these connections. These relationships. Our friendship.
Although there won’t be an ‘Ode to Abby’ printed in Let Me Know When You’re Home, our relationship is celebrated through everything that we do together at Dear Damsels. It’s in every page, every line and every word.
Help us to crowdfund our first paperback publication: Let Me Know When You’re Home: Stories of Female Friendship
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Dear Damsels is your collective.
We want to create a space on our website where you can find out what your collective is doing for you. Whether it be upcoming events, publications, projects or podcast episodes, this blog will be where we communicate directly with you about what is going on in the world of DD.