Meditation

Sisterhood is Necessary

By Julia Connolly

It was bad. I’d been in bed for three days, depressed, crawling out to handle only the most necessary of motherly duties. On the third day Stacy messaged me suggesting a late lunch, which sounded like a good excuse to take a shower.

We met at an outdoor cafe and sat in the sun. She was having a bad day too, filled with foreboding about a presentation she was to give that night.

We talked about those twin devils, anxiety and depression. We shared tales of fear, envy, loss. In time, the conversation took a turn. We began to share stories of parents who raised us to be creative, how proud we are of our kids, how much we love our husbands—the things that make us happiest.

image

By the end of lunch we were laughing, hugging, celebrating our friendship and general good fortune. In two hours, we had rescued each other from our demons.

My time with Stacy was golden, a singular example of girlfriend lifesaving that has happened countless times throughout my life and the life of every woman I know.

It’s a bond we share as the caregivers, the fixers, the compassionate ones. We understand broken hearts, marriages put asunder, the terrible twos, mean bosses, no longer fitting into skinny jeans, and three-in-the-morning phone calls that can only bring the worst of news. We get it. Because we’ve lived those things too.

image

I used to think I was missing the girlfriend gene. I had plenty of female pals, but we never did the things women friends did on TV or in the movies. No shoe-shopping with mimosas afterward, no mani/pedi afternoons, no girls-only three-day cruises. I was sure I was the only one not wanting to live that fabulous life.

The truth is that few people want that. What we want, what we need, is a sister-friend who knows that reaching out is considerably more restorative than a new pair of Jimmy Choos. Sometimes that means a long chat over a glass of Chardonnay. Sometimes it’s a drive-by cup of coffee. And sometimes it’s just a text that says “Men suck.”

Life is hard. Joyous, yes. But hard. For all of our progress, women are still the cooks, the jugglers, the diaper changers. We are wise to remember that sisterhood is powerful, whether its sentiments are shouted on high in fist-raised rebellion or whispered in the ear of a friend at her lowest point.

Categories: Meditation

7 replies »

  1. I have some friends from kindergarten. We were at each other’s communions, confirmations and weddings a long time ago, Our fathers lived in the same neighborhood and our mothers came from the same town several miles away. My mother actually dated my friends mother’s cousin before meeting my Dad. Our moms visited each other for lunch and coffee in the afternoons. They are always there when I reach out. We do not live near each other now, but when we are in the same territory, we do have that sort of fabulous lunch of which you speak. We can unload misery and empathy one sentence after another, one breath after another one sigh after another, I am so grateful for them and for the newer friends I have made over the years Two newer friends practically carried me from my bed to my shower during a miserable low and continued until I was well. I seldom hear from them now. I once read in a story by Pearl Buck that a woman had to help a friend deliver her baby. In China at the time for the birthing mother this was a great shame and she had to shun her friend. How sad is that? How lucky I have been over a lifetime. BUT it was not only women friends who helped me lift myself, it was men friends too, I say Yeah for humanhood!

  2. I relate a lot to this. I am an only child and have always pursued individualistic activities. I always felt like I lacked the sisterhood gene and was a bit ill at ease during ‘sisterly’ events with pals. It is only recently that I have started to discover the potential of my female friendships and they are slowly (VERY slowly) growing into a richness that I never knew could be valuable. Thank you for writing this piece.

We're listening--tell us what you think!