Sisterhood - Belonging
Connection is Everything
"Once women find the sisterhood, there is nothing stronger." Zoe Kravitz
The last few months have been pivotal on proving what is important in life. At least for me. While reading numerous books, writing, working in my office, gardening, making dinner, watching Netflix, being with my husband, one powerful thought was apparent, "We need human connection especially, "The Sisterhood."
Having girlfriends is imperative along with your family and loved ones. The sisterhood is a dynamic elixir that feeds our minds and souls. And, yes, we can talk for hours, following tangents in conversations and often without garnering or wanting a solution to our angst. We just want to "be." Men often are the opposite, and not always a fan of our ramblings. We love it that they want to "solve" the issue but we on the other hand just want to vent, analyze, and forget. After all, we sisters need to state 20,000 words a day versus men with a paltry 7000. Need I say more. The Sisterhood!
The Girls, Ladies, Women Known as Sisters
"Life is all about finding people who are your kind of crazy."
All of us who have "sisters" to bare our souls and laugh with until it hurts are indeed blessed. We cherish the moments like a priceless diamond or diamonds. They may not be blood related, but they are on sisters through the maple syrup of life. The trips, walks, hugs and holding our hand during trying and joyous moments is incomparable to any other relationship. Those that have known you the longest and remain close are the chosen few. These are often friends who you have not talked too for ages and when you call you both pick up where you left off. Or the ones who call when you are in a pickle. Perhaps you were not close for years but then the door opens again and the party commences with relish. Of course, you will have challenges, because women do, yet we always weather the storm and grow stronger. We are queens and queens must fight now and then with gusto and love all mixed into one. It is those that come out of it that remain lasting "besties".
Why do we have conflict? Well, because we are passionate, incredible and nurturing women who live with style, humor, and grace. We radiate when we walk into a room like a movie star and as directors of our own personal play. At least I like to think that. More importantly, it is the history between us that makes the stories unique combined with the energy spent supporting and healing one another.
"Help one another is apart of the religion of sisterhood" Louise May Alcott
When a crisis occurs, we immediately inform our families and then are "sisters." We know the sisters will form a coalition of women to calm our fears and help us move through and beyond the situation. They will show up with food, lend a listening ear or will just sit in silence as we speak or take medication. They will create the "group" that shows up when needed. They become the buffer from the fear. The energy bond that speaks volumes without a word.
To be honest, there are some women who are better at the task and will stand fast against all odds. Others may try and can be rebuffed for a spell but not forgotten. The sisterhood web is complicated, ever changing and yet made of incredibly strong rope. The years of a friendship builds the thickness of a rope thus the more intricate the tapestry becomes between two sisters. What this means is the rope is created of ups and downs, discussions, anger, love, hand holding, joy and basically everything that is comprised in each of our journeys tied together.
Sometimes there can be challenges when a sister grows personally and becomes a stronger and calmer person or vice versa. The perception once known is different and can cause confusion until acceptance overtakes the changes. At times, competition of jealousy can rear its ugly head. After all, we are human beings with vast emotions.
In a book called, "You are a Badass", by Jen Sincero, there is a concept called, The Crab Pot. If you change your life, become successful, or your life becomes calm instead of a whirlwind of frenzy, there will be friends that try to keep you in the pot. They are used to dealing and seeing you as you once were and not what you have become. They try to keep you in the pot instead of supporting you and applauding you on. Why? Well, often this is difficult to assess. When you change behaviors the dynamics of the relationship changes. In their minds, it was easy to focus on your failings rather than on their own. They have to learn to revise the perception and graciously accept the new you. The friends that are content with their own lives will be ecstatic for you and force you onward.
The moral of The Crab Pot is never to compare yourself to others and to allow friends to become the best they can be. Push them out of the pot. Shout out with joy when they succeed. Be happy for them.
No matter what happens, the select core group of women in your life will continue to support you. This will become your "sisterhood gathering team." They step up to the plate no matter what. They play ball, speak well of you and have your back. "We got this sister!" is their mantra in the gathering. The sweet gathering that empowers one to overcome, repair and heal.
The Collective Gathering
"It's not a house. It's not a club. It's not a party. It's a challenge and a promise. It's a millionth moments of truth. It's the old and the new. It's a gift entrusted to me to cherish and then give away. It's a shared mission. It's a lifelong expectation. It's a daily call to action. It's an ancient tradition. It's a future of opportunities. It's a chance to matter."
One of the most important steps in my life was becoming a member of a sorority at eighteen. My home life was a chaotic mess in high school and having the opportunity to live with eighty to a hundred women was heart soothing during college. These were special women from all walks of life. Many worked in order to attend college and to be a part of the sorority. In fact, we all worked during the summer for extra money. We were taught responsibility, being a collective with goals, our actions mattered and were a reflection on everyone in the house. We had rules and if you did not comply, you were kicked out. Plus, you had to make a certain grade point. We were there to learn mentally and to understand how to get along with everyone. Social skills were achieved.
We made the best friends and enjoyed each other and their families. These women today complete our circle as our memories were of a time when we were youthful, wide eyed and ready for the world. The instant bond is powerful and unique. When required, we surround each other in unity.
In fact, currently we have one sorority sister who is battling brain cancer. The women closest to her reached out to all of us who knew her in college. We had a Zoom meeting, took photos, and prayed in unison for her upcoming procedure. We Zoomed in from all parts of the country. Our energy and the collective bond with good wishes, thoughts and prayers are filling the airways. The sisterhood is intact, alive, and ever breathing good will to everyone.
There are other groups in my life, tech, and tennis, that were and are impactful and am blessed for their friendships. All are dear to me and you know who you are. These friends too have spanned for years, some for 32 years and others for over 15 years.
In other words, make friends, keep your friends, and reach out and touch base. You will be overwhelmed with heartwarming feelings and connection. After all, is not this what life is about: the connection, the love and the reminder of the fun, heartaches, worries and time you have shared with one another.
Old Shoes Versus New Shoes
"Sisterhood is not a destination. But a journey."
Friendships are made and friendships change over time. Some friends come into your life and remain there forever. While others enter for a period and exit as the journey progresses. We learn from all relationships and they are never forgotten.
Old Shoes are the friends that are glued at your hip from an early age onward. I have one friend who I have known since I was four years old. We touch base once a year and pick up where we left off as if no time has passed. There are others I have known for 41 years. These are your old shoes that remain firmly close in your closet of sisterhood.
New Shoes are the wonderful new friends that cross your path. They also become close friends who you laugh, cry, and enjoy immensely. We learn something from everyone and it is a blessing.
What about the friends that come for a while and exit? Life is a learning experience and the moments shared could be weeks or years in your life leaving an imprint on you. They are never forgotten and thought of fondly.
Hold onto your friendships. They are the diamonds that shine brightly and bring forth happiness.
"Did You Hear?"
"Make it a habit to shut down conversations that aim to tear others down."
Gossip can be unfortunate and may end friendships quickly. However, learning from your experiences will teach us to stop the sticky process. Anything you repeat that is held in confidence will come back to haunt you. Learn from your mistakes. We all have been there. This is what women like to do. Chatter about one another. Now, we may never go cold turkey on talking as it is hardwired into our brains though perhaps we can focus on positive discussions. And, if you do hear something negative or private, keep it to yourself. The aftermath and phone tree are not worth it.
Of course, if you slip, then hopefully you can apologize and ask forgiveness. It is a circle, isn't it? We can be such chatterboxes for good and wrong reasons.
Zip it sister! Positive begets positive feedback and negative brings unhappiness. Never compare, never relish in someone else pain. You are not walking in their shoes. Get back into your own shoes and life. It is short after all. "Zip it sister!"
"Sister: a person who's been where you have been, someone you can call when things aren't going right; is more than just a family; a sister is a forever friend."
Cherish the moments. In fact, some of the most memorable moments are when we all sit in contentment while reading books, swimming in a pool, or just chilling out. You will have a recipe and cocktail that cures all ills when you mix in laughter, energy, activities, and maybe a tennis salad. We need our sisters. We need those unique women who know you the best and who love you unconditionally. Sure, you might have flareups, but it is how you resolve them that matters.
Each day is a gift. Reach out to one friend a day or several. The options to touch base are endless with social media, text, Zoom, Team Meetings and through phone conversations. The connection is the bounty that keeps us alive and youthful. Seek out connection with everyone you meet. Keep those you love close to your heart.