Last year, one of my favorite posts for Blog Like Crazy was about the power of female friendship. Though the majority of 2013 has been better than 2012, it's been friends of both genders who have made sure I stayed as sane as possible. They have shown me what love can add to even the fullest life and have embraced me and all my flaws.
The people I call friends have been amazingly supportive during my transition out of 9-to-5s that I hated. They were encouraging and loving, but if I was miserable and wouldn't admit it, they were more than willing to give me the kick in the ass that I desperately needed. It's been this strength and high set of standards that's lead me to demand more for myself and my life.
Bartending is a largely male-dominated field, and here in the South that can mean that women in the industry are held to a different standard. It's not easy, but it's satisfying and surprisingly intellectual work that adds layers and layers of complexity to what would appear to be a straightforward basic skill set. At Octane, I was the first woman to successfully complete the barbacking process at Octane, and am one of only a handful of female craft bartenders in the city.
My female friends especially have been my biggest cheerleaders in starting to bartend, so it's been amazingly refreshing to be able to pass along that support. Jack Wyrick, one of my incredibly talented photog/blogging/creative/handy friends (if you don't know her work, check out this and this), started at Octane this past Saturday. Seeing her focused on learning and joking around with people made me proud and excited for the future of the food industry and, more importantly, my friends here in Birmingham.
Y'all, it's important to earn money, but it's just as important to make a life instead of a living. My friends have pushed me even when it wasn't comfortable financially or psychologically to work towards what would make me happy, not what would provide benefits or a set 401K. Their support in hard times has gotten me through any and all obstacles in my way. They enrich my life with their stories and their advice, and I can't really and truly can't thank them enough.