The 5 Things Sisterhood has Taught Me

Originally Published November 4th 2014
 *For the content of this post women/woman refers to any person who identifies as well, a woman.

 I was born into the wrong wave of feminism. The year I was born was the same year that third wave feminism was coined and began to take off, subsequently second wave feminism and its ideals of sisterhood got left in the dust.

23 years later, here I stand still holding a banner out of the 60's proclaiming that sisterhood is totally a thing y'all and come get on the bandwagon again! I read books like the red tent and I long for an even larger community of sisters. When I spent 3 months in Mozambique and saw mamas raising their many small children in community, laughing hard at each other over open fires, my heart began to rise. There was a calling, clear and persistent, a calling to a deeper level, to a spiritual sacredness that only happens when women rise up together. Whenever I sit in women only groups or among close soul sisters my heart feels most alive, most welcomes, most at home.  

These are dangerous words, especially as I finish up an education at a liberal arts college, in a liberal state in an even more liberal city. Sisterhood has been knocked aside as people began advocating for more LGBTQ rights, defeating gender norms, stopping systemic oppression, gender pronouns and other issues that come along with third wave feminism. And yes, there are issues, and yes they are very important...

But, I suppose I should be honest, some gender norms annoy me. It kills me a little inside when a friend finds her baby is a girl and all of a sudden people gush with words like "pretty, princess, tutus" and don't get me started on the incestuous language we use for little girls and their fathers. Yet... Yet... I believe woman are different from their male counterparts. There I said it. Maybe it is because I put a lot of faith in science, or I am projecting experience. Either way it is what my deepest heart believes is true, and when it comes down to it, that is what is most important to me. The word woman resonates with me, sisterhood, she/her, soul sisters and friendship are beautiful songs to my ear. file000346276799 

I believe women are courageous, mothering, peace makers, strong, brilliant, and so many other things. I wish when we found out "little peanut" was a girl our first thoughts went to welcoming them into our sisterhood, declaring words of courage, grace and love over their lives, not just... well... pretty. Pretty is what society values, because woman have had it spoken over them since utero. What would change if we declared wisdom, grace and radiance over babies in utero? What if from a young age we taught babies and toddlers that they judge people based on character, wit, and compassion? What if we taught our little girls in kindergarten that their class mates were sisters, that by themselves they could only accomplish so much, but if they banded together they were a majority, they could change things! What if when our twelve year old comes home in tears over the latest girl/boy love triangle drama we enforce that men come and go, sisterhood is forever. Men can only give us so much, there will be beautiful friendships and relationships with men, men are so important, but not at the sake of sisterhood. What would happen then?

So here I am 50 years later, waving my banner of equality and believing that women are part of a greater sisterhood. A sisterhood that is waiting, is open and ready to take them in with all their shame and all their vulnerability.

With that, I give you the 10 things that sisterhood has taught me. My mother. Friends. Writers. Researchers. Female only gatherings. Mentors. Readers. Small group leaders. All the courageous woman around me who gave up on the Joneses long ago and instead lived for their heart.

1) Speaking of the Joneses, I remember still being in elementary school and mother telling me that she thought she knew herself when she graduated. She laughed, it simply wasn't true. Years later I had melded her experience with many others, here I compile them into one. It is not until 30 that most woman learn who they are, it is not until 40 that most women figure out they don't care what the Joneses are up to anymore and then not until 50 do women realize that the Joneses were just trying to keep up with everyone else! That the Joneses also fought, that their kids talked back and maybe they were just as miserable as everyone else seemed to be. Women are competing every day against each other, trying to keep up and not realizing that no one else has it together, and maybe women simply need to let it go. Maybe, if we recognize all this in our 20's we wont spend 30 years of our lives breaking ourselves for other people. Maybe, we would be a lot happier! de9uL9L7RSmzV4SAoAO5_Lauren and Winona Under a pass-1

2) Never apologize for who you are. Women are known for apologizing, for everything. All the time. Don't believe me? Go sit in a high school or college classroom for a few hours. Woman after woman will speak up starting sentences with, "Sorry if this has been mentioned..." "Oh, sorry but I have a question..." "Sorry but could you..." STOP IT. Stop. Do not apologize for questions. Do not apologize for making people uncomfortable for your new brilliant ideas. Do not apologize for going into business, staying single and being rich, as long as it makes you happy! Do not apologize for going into art and being content in your little studio apartment. Do not apologize for getting married. Do not apologize for not having children or having a dozen children. Do not apologize for how you eat, how you dress or how you live. Simply do not apologize for being you in all your humanity, to anyone. Do not apologize for following your heart.

*Do still apologize if you actually need to apologize, this is not a road pass to just be a cut throat meanie all the time.

3) Stick up for your sisters. Think female solidarity! If you see a woman being abused or you suspect abuse, be a sister. Step in and speak for your sister who is voiceless. Stop gossiping, stop turning sisters against each other. Think the best of one another, lift each other up. This is how we stop the Jonses complex. This is how we take on the world. Solidarity and peaceful resistance friends!

4) Understand that you hold incredible power in either building up or tearing down sisterhood. Whenever you make a choice to hide your true self, when you attempt to build yourself up falsely for the goal that others will envy you, you break down sisterhood. You allow your sisters to think "wow I wish I was more like her. I wish I had my life together like that." But when you go into the world as your true self, when you shine confidence, and talk about radiant things and also the not so radiant things you grow bonds of sisterhood. You allow your sister to think, "wow she is brave, happy and glowing in the midst of it all. she needs my support to stay that was, and I need hers!" Recognize your power, every time you go out. You have a choice!

5) Honor your womanhood, honor everything you are. If you cannot honor yourself in all of your humanity, in all of your feelings, in all of your perfections, in all of your flaws, how do you expect anyone else to honor you? I once had a teacher who during class elections was asked if you could vote for yourself, she replied, "If you don't vote for yourself, how do you expect other people to?" That is some sage advice brought to you by a 5th grade teacher. If you do not honor, respect, love, and care for yourself, how do you expect any other people to do so? If you do not think you are WORTHY how do you expect others to see you as worthy? 1370554308iyevd

With this I only have a story to share. One passed down through generations, I read it in a book many moons ago. A book I have since lost and have not been able to google this information. If I eventually find it, I will update.

There are many ideas as to what started the term "witching hour," now it is a term used in horror movies to describe the time from 12-3am. Yet, tradition says that the witching hour* used to take place at 3:08, and it had nothing to do with witches, instead sisters. This is centuries ago, back before cell phone clocks, wall clocks and wrist watches. Around 3:08, when women had just had another nursing session and put their babies down, they would leave their houses, they would feel the pull of sisterhood and they would meet. Women would take 15 minutes out of their nights to gather together, to chat, to laugh, to talk. And then they would return to their houses, to more night time feedings and toddler cries. It was beautiful, a time just for sisters, for women to gather together outside of the business that held their lives.

*It gained the term witching hour as men found out about this time, and did not believe woman could meet together without sorcery.*

No comments:

Post a Comment