New Lessons for Our Daughters…on Sisterhood

On Sisterhood

After a rather long day of shuttling to and from various appointments and obligations, I’m worn out!  I can’t wait to hit the hay, but I’m desperately trying to just get a few minutes to write, even if it means I only get to write a line or two, in between barking commands at my children, picking something up that I’m sure I’m not the first to walk over…again, or the hamster-on-a-wheel activity of loading yet another load of laundry.  No Chocolate Communion for me tonight!  I did manage to scoop up some discounted Valentine’s chocolate at the local Target, but they’re not for me, they’re for the children… at least that is what I keep telling myself. :o

One of today’s highlights, if not the highlight, was talking to a long, but not lost, friend.  I’m not sure that we started out as friends when we first introduced ourselves to each other in high school, but thanks to social media, and the power of the written word, we’ve been able to reconnect beautifully and authentically, without the backdrop of the banter, gossip, or foolishness that often characterizes the years between ages fourteen to eighteen.  My high school experience was a flash in the pan anyway.  I came away with very few relationships that I would maintain between then and now.

This friend was not among the few; however, our trips of motherhood, marriage, and life in general, reconnected us in a way that required no explanation, no pretense, and no justification.  The unique journeys of womanhood color our now-friendship in a way that is meaningful, and vibrant.  While we’ve taken some different routes, our journeys have taken us to similar places in the development of self, and some of the stops along the way are familiar to us both.  I have a few friendships like this one, each as unique as the individual.   These friendships have become the backbone of what I call my sisterhood.  Its members represent an extraordinary network of uniquely gifted women, each enterprising and skilled in their own right.  Though they themselves aren’t friends with each other, they are all my sistah gal-friends.  They strengthen me in ways that I never thought I’d come to need or acknowledge. This small sisterhood enriches, encourages, and empowers.  Whether giving advice, lending expertise or sharing experience, there is a tremendous amount of reciprocity in terms of what each party is willing to give to, or take away from the table. In these relationships, I feel valued and confided in, and I arrive at an epiphany that we…first as girls, now as women, were taught very limited notions about sisterhood, and its relevance. 

I grew up in a family where I did not witness strong, affirming, ongoing relationships between my mother and other women. I was taught, explicitly and implicitly, that women were not to be trusted, and that relationships with women weren’t even worth the hassle.  Undoubtedly, this perspective informed the way I viewed myself in the company of women, and as a premise, I did not seek relationship with women as friends.  As such, I reserved a special brand of  cynicism on the subject, and never really thought about how this behavior would impact my own daughters, were I to have any.

Well, two daughters later, though not necessarily because of them, I’m convinced that a sisterhood of women, even if only a handful, is essential for women to live authentically. Rather than shun the idea of sisterhood, women should deliberately forge relationships with other women. This isn’t to say that women should force friendships to exist where they may not; however, I am saying that we should make a conscientious effort to develop and nurture relationships that offer a potential for further growth and self-actualization.   Ultimately, if there is any substance or connection, these relationships will become effortless. It will be like talking to an old friend, and picking up where you left off, or somewhere new altogether but with a common destination in mind.  I find this much easier when the other party is also rooted in something greater than their own limited, human self. Also, when the desire to become richer as a result of these connections supersedes one’s need for self-preservation and ego, authentic relationship will abound. 

I hope to provide my daughters with examples of authentic relationship, and a newer and more sensible understanding on the subject of sisterhood.  While I don’t have the ability to rewrite my earlier lessons on this subject, I can write volumes for them on the subject through lived experience and examples. My ability to nurture and fortify the relationships with the women in my life will be the ultimate proving ground.  Certainly, they will come to rely on each other, first as sisters, but ultimately, I want them to understand the importance of reaching beyond biological lines to seek and maintain authentic relationships with other women throughout their life experiences.

Some musical inspiration on the subject:

“In My Daughter’s Eyes”, Martina McBride
“Daughters”, John Mayer
“I Hope You Dance”, Lee Ann Womack

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9 thoughts on “New Lessons for Our Daughters…on Sisterhood

  1. I just love this post. You are absolutely right, we as women need to have our sisterly love, not only from our bloodline but also from women that we meet in our-lives. Growing up I had a best friend that betrayed me, or so I thought, I did not speak to her for almost 12 years, threw social network we have connected again, even though our relationship is not the same, we are trying to rebuild a new one.

    I have also re-connected with a lot of the women I went to HS with, we now try to go out once a month to stay connected, we talk about everything there is to talk about, from motherhood to marriage, divorce, etc. we’re very close. It helps to know that some times you’re not the only one going through what you’re going though. I love my sis-ta-friends..

    • Good morning Lady Sharon,
      Thank you! There is a definitive place for sisterhood, even apart from our spousal or romantic relationships. We’ve got to insist on sisterhood, as it may very well be the thing that keeps us sane amidst life’s changes!

      Thanks for taking the time to read. I’m glad that this one resonated with you! Love your sistren. Keep on reading!

  2. This is a beautiful post. I thank you for writing this. Over the past few years, I made the decision to be diligent in making and sustaining strong connections with my sister-friends. This really spoke to that.

    Aiesha

  3. Being an only child the “sisterhood” has been very important in my life. You expressed our relationship beautifully. I am so glad that we are cousins, and that through the magic of facebook we can stay connected. Love you!

    • Hello Yvonne, God bless you! I’m glad that I was able to capture that sisterhood for you. I imagine that the sisterhood is that much more important being an only child. I love you back! SomerEmpress

  4. This is a very thought provoking subject for me. It makes me long for at least a couple of warm, mutually supportive, and close friendships with women. Unfortunately in my life, close to home, I haven’t come into contact with other women with whom I either share a basic outlook on life, or who are open to sharing and exploring thoughts and ideas together as friends. I wonder now if part of this problem is a philosophy of distrust some of us have toward other women. If it is, that’s sad. For years, trying to make friends has felt a lot like looking for a good man. And the rejections hurt just as much. I’m glad it’s happening for you, and that your daughters will see it.

    • Good morning Re,
      Now you’re meeting like-minded women…writers even! :) I appreciate your candor on the subject. I think that in part, the lack of relationships among women, have to do with our upbringing and the resulting distrust. Also, I’m learning that the relationships I’ve sustained with women over time, require a special brand of openness and cultivation over time. Don’t get me wrong, I have had to broom those ambivalent ‘friends’ and others that did not have my best interest. They came from hurt places on which they hung their hats, and weren’t interested in transcending, or moving the relationships forward. They were toxic. Their behavior was often too unpredictable, and the maintenance of such relationships required much more than I was willing, or able, to give.

      I’m learning a lot about this thing called sisterhood and real relationship, but I’m determined to give my girls a different model, one that is built on integrity, mutual respect, honor, pride (in being a woman), and trust. Believe me, it’s a constant work in progress, but one well worth the labor…a labor of love.

  5. Pingback: A Tapestry of Women « Life As An Art Form

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