From a very young age, I remember sitting in my grandmother’s lace-covered living room, watching Walker, Texas Ranger for hours until 4 p.m. rolled around. At this exact time every day, you could hear the faint jingle echoing off the plastic-wrapped sofas: “Thank you for being a friend.” These words modeled my childhood. After school, I would rush home to make the 4 p.m. showing, right before Beverly Hillbillies. During my long rounds of chemo, Golden Girls would be my solace, the familiar voices and stories bringing me back to my great-grandmother’s plastic sofa, as if she were sitting there with me. I never grew up having a strong, independent, older female presence. These four ladies were like my grandmothers, telling me stories about their lives, teaching me lessons from their numerous mistakes. They taught me about how to be a woman, how to love, how to respect yourself, how to love yourself, how to be fearless, and how to be a friend. In honor of Hulu and their graciousness, for allowing me to officially binge one of my favorite shows, here is what I have learned from them over the years:
1. Wear confidence as well as they wear shoulder pads.
You should go through life with a strut in your step, as if your “Stan” is right behind you. Confidence exudes beauty, and you should wear, do, and be whatever makes you feel beautiful, whether you are skinny, fat, black, white or anything in between. Define your personal style no matter how outrageous. Whether you are a bombshell with hair to Jesus like Blanche or a dainty, classic woman like Rose, find yourself and wear it on your shoulders.
2. Embrace your inner Blanche.
Girls, it’s okay to be a slut (you too, guys). Blanche was my inspiration, ever so more now. As a woman in a different time, it is more “acceptable” now be single, independent, and “free spirited”. Even during a time where women were expected more so to be married, Blanche embraced her single life and enjoyed the company of many, may suitors. Even when Sophia called her a slut (as she did many times), she reflected a strong attitude that said: “fuck society, I will sleep with whomever because it makes me happy and independent”. We should all become a little Blanch-esque.
3.You don’t need a man to make you happy.
These ladies go through men like they go through cheesecake. From the Cuban womanizer, the little person, Stan (on many occasions), the beloved Miles, Sophia’s Sicilian, and the gay artist, they go through the same woes as modern day woman experience. In the end, they know that their independence, careers, and love for each other supersedes any fling.
4. Find your inner strength and perseverance.
It is hard not to crumble during times of lose, tragedy, and pain. When Rose had her heart attack, she fought hard to stay alive and rebuild her life. When Sophia’s son died, as a mother, she stayed strong and didn’t lose herself in grief. Letting yourself succumb to the consequences of tragedy will not allow growth. With the help of your friends and your own strength, you can overcome anything.
5.Letting someone disrespect you, even in the smallest ways, is never okay.
Even when rape, assault, and abuse were not so active as they are in today’s culture and news, The Golden Girls touched on issues women face today and every day. When Rose was sexually harassed by her dentist, the girls told her to go to police, to raise her voice and prevent other women from letting this happen. When Blanche’s daughter was being emotionally abused, she stood up for her, advocating that you don’t need to suffer for the sake of “finding a man”. Respect for yourself is the only thing you truly have; you must not let someone take that away from you.
6. Never believe that you don’t deserve true love.
This is one thing I constantly struggle with. Dorothy, a lonely divorced school teacher, found true love with the oddest of people, Blanche’s uncle. Being very Blanche-esque, I struggled with the fact that I deserve to wear white, that I deserve to be loved unconditionally and whole-heartedly. No mater what you have done, who you have done, and how many, you are worthy of love and nothing less. Thanks, Sophia, for making me feel loved.
7. You will always have that one person you will always love, and that’s okay.
Everyone is Dorothy at one point in his or her life, and they have a Stan. I, myself, have a couple of Stans. The connection is there, the relationship isn’t perfect, but fate is not in their favor. They are the loves you aren’t destined to be with, but create the largest impact. You grow with them, learn about yourself with them, love them, and they stay with you forever. Even to the end, when Dorothy remarries, Stan is there for her, holding a piece of her heart and wearing his on his sleeve. It’s okay to feel that love, even years down the road. It’s the most beautiful of loves, the ones that don’t die.
8. No matter what, your girlfriends are your soulmates.
Despite all the bullshit, the fuck bois, the heartaches, the happy times, your true girls will be there for you. Even when you part your separate ways, they will be your home.
Thank you for being my friend, girls.