Girls trips are healing. They are joy. They are laughter in the toughest of times. They are comfort and assurance in the midst of uncertainty. And they are a necessary form of self-care because sometimes life gets too hectic and murky, and every now and then you need time with your girlfriends to slow down and just be.

I didn't realize how healing these trips could be until my recent mini road trip/vacation with three of my best friends. I didn't know I needed it, but I did. In fact, I thought the trip wasn't going to be all that fun (shady, I know). We were originally supposed to go to Martha's Vineyard for the weekend, but because of late planning, we ended up going somewhere that…well…wasn't Martha's Vineyard. Despite not being able to indulge in peak black bougie-ness (i.e. vacationing in Oak Bluffs, MA), I still had the time of my life on our weekend getaway. There's something about spending time with your core group of friends that just centers you. It realigns you with the things that truly matter in life in an organic and uncomplicated way.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the pursuit of things and consumed with becoming the person you aspire to be while forgetting to pause and simply be. Girls trips are refreshing because whether you're chilling on a yacht, resort or in an Airbnb, you get to be in a space with people who are familiar with who you once were, and who respect and support who you're trying to be but still love you exactly where and how you are. As my friend Courtney eloquently wrote in a card to me, "Sometimes we can't see beyond the women we are striving to be, to see how great, amazing, fantastic, magical and wonderful we already are." Girls trips allow us those moments to pause, reflect and relish in the awesomeness of who we are and who our girlfriends are.

Girls trips are healing because sometimes you need to turn up with just your girls with no pressure to meet men (although, somehow that's always when they seem to find you). Girls trips are healing because sometimes you need to put on your PJs, turn on your Apple Music, and burn them extra calories off dancing to throwback jams in your hotel room. Girls trips are healing because in the midst of an honest, no-holds-barred conversation, you get epiphanies about what you really want but might be too afraid to admit in other spaces. Girls trips are healing because although your girlfriends might gasp and clutch their proverbial pearls at your confessions and uncensored desires, you know there's no judgment. Girls trips are healing because you get to vent about work, school, men, and get validation that may not fix the issue, but at least makes you feel like you aren't trippin'. Girls trips are healing because you get to share your crazy ideas and career aspirations with no shade or side eye, just encouragement and the occasional "yaaaaaaas" with an accompanying hand clap. Girls trips are healing because in the midst of recovering from heartbreak, adjusting to a fairly new job, and gearing myself up for my final year of grad school, this past weekend I was overwhelmed with peace, love, joy and comfort that eased my mind and soothed my soul.

That's the beauty and blessing of sisterhood, and that's the healing power of girls trips. I am grateful for my girlfriends in a way that I can't even begin to articulate. I am grateful that I have amazing, hilarious, driven and inspiring women whom I call my girlfriends. I am grateful that I have women whom I can be carefree around. Women whom I truly feel comfortable letting my hair and guards down around. They bring me healing when life feels debilitating, and joy in the midst of life's inevitable misfortunes. As Whitney perfectly put it, "Sometimes you'll laugh, sometimes you'll cry. Life never tells us the whens or whys. But when you've got friends to wish you well, you'll find the point when you exhale." This past weekend, I closed my eyes, I exhaled and I was healed.