If I could put the love that I feel for the women in my life into a capsule and get any guy to swallow it, I would silver platter myself the perfect partner. With the exception of romantic love, the women in my life tick every love box any psychologist anywhere could devise. They give me unconditional, supported, non-judgmental, soul reviving, heart thumping, mind expanding love and I will never ever be able to thank them for it.

Today I went on a walk with one of these friends. Like all of my friends, this friend’s intelligence is intimidating. She’s adventurous, she takes great care of herself, is compassionate and does not back away from thinking deeply and questioning everything. My relationship with this friend and the many others like her are exactly like the one that I always thought I’d have with a man. Every time I see one of these friends, our intimacy is immediate, intense and full of surprises. We passionately examine the trials and tribulations of our lives. After we exhaust our passion, we comfortably rock on the porch, gently chipping away at the world. I fucking love these friends and I love that I get to fall in love with them all over again every time I see them. The coolest thing with good girlfriends is that, unlike with a romantic partner, that euphoria never dies. Ever. Not after fights. Not after years of separation. Not after the shit flies through the fan. Even after mistakes feel catastrophic, their love is there.

In addition to giving me love, these friendships confirm that it’s okay to be who I am. These women—some I’ve known for a year, some I’ve known for thirty years, one I’ve known all of my life—love all of me. They love the intense me. Strong and steady, they calmly bob among the waves of ideas that fall from my tongue and when I trip over them or start to drown, they offer a hand, not a life jacket. They love the moody as fuck me. They let me sit and grieve and wallow and cry. But, when it’s getting on pity party time, they tell me to shut the fuck up in the gentlest of ways. These women love me the way I always thought one man would. What a ridiculous assumption, that one person can love any other person fully, the way that we’re supposed to be loved. Love is a community, not a monologue.

I spend so much time searching and reaching and trying to move beyond whatever my current state is that I forget to see these women as they are. They are my one true love. They really and truly are. And I don’t think a single one of them knows it. Look at this list of women:

Mom

Taryn

Lera

Ginny

Stacey

Stacey

Stacey

Bonnie

Andrea

Ellie

Tina

Odette

Suban

Kayla

Kaarina

Heather

Chloe

Emily

Toni

Sheila

Devon

Sarah

Aimee

Maria

Within the last week, this list of women has had a significant, positive impact on my life. These women and the rest of the women in my circle are phenomenal, beautiful, ethereal creatures. They are my soul patch. Or, more beautifully and writerly, they’re my heart patch. They are the comfy little quilt of lovin’ looped around my ticker. And just like my heart, I feel them intensely when I am scared, heartbroken, or amazed. When I am calm, content, or pleased, it’s because they are there.

I pull on the strength of these women all of the time. Most recently, I’ve pulled on their strength in making tough decisions, sacrifices, mistakes and good. This cold, wet evening, I want these women to know that every minute that they are out there fighting the good fight, they can find me wrapped around their heart. You are kicking ass, I hear you, you are unstoppable.