I know you've heard it. Maybe you've said it. Maybe you've felt it. That animosity between women. Those phrases like:
"I just can't be friends with women."
"I hate working with women."
"I only have guy friends, it's easier."
"Women are catty."
As a woman do you ever feel like we are all in some kind of giant worldwide competition where all other women are the judges? No one knows what the prize is....you just know you don't want to lose. Why is this? What is going on? Is it jealousy? Insecurity? Can we blame this on the media too?
I will admit, after a bad female friendship experience in my teens I swore off making female friends. Most of my best friends were guys. Guys made great friends, plus I didn't want to be lumped in with and seen the way I saw other females, so I distanced myself. I convinced myself it's where I belonged. I prefer old converse and tee shirts and I loathe shopping. I prefer whiskey and beer over wine and cocktails. I don't need a lot of attention and I don't like chit chat. I was fine, and I never felt like I missed out on female friendships. Looking back there was definitely some competition, jealousy and insecurity involved with my behavior, not to mention I was putting myself and others in a made up "what a girl is" box. This was the case for a long time, until I started interacting with women in my birthwork.
As my passion for childbirth grew, so did my love for women. I have met some of the most amazing women. Women who birth their babies and raise their children and support one another with such fierceness! Women who step outside of the "what a girl is" box and still harness their feminine power. It's truly awe inspiring. What I have learned as I have developed these relationships with women is that the more I love them, the more I love myself. I see myself in them, and I see things I want to be in them. Instead of jealousy, I now feel joy for their success. Instead of insecurity I feel empowered to do better by other women that might have achieved something I haven't achieved yet. Instead of cattiness, I now try to think about the bigger picture...what's her story?
As a birthworker I've met a lot of women who were into gathering, goddess circles, women's circles, red tents...I really didn't know what it was all about but I was curious. I started attending red tent ceremonies, and women's circles and opened myself up to other women and listened to their stories. It's eye opening when you sit face to face with a woman and realize that we all have a story to tell. It's a refreshing change of pace from my snap judgments in the past or the ever popular online communities that can get so ugly. When you look into the eyes of a person and really witness them you can see their emotion, you can see if they have tears in their eyes or a smile on their face when they convey their words. It's beautiful. I have learned to welcome the differences of the women around me and the wisdom of the women that came before me. I still prefer converse and whiskey, but it's such a relief to have disqualified myself from the competition and accepted that my version of "what a girl is" is perfect for me.
If you have never attended a women's circle, especially if you think you don't get along with other women, please give it a try! I always learn something and I always leave feeling high on the vibes of sisterhood!
On August 26 we will gather in circle at Mother Rising in Chardon to discuss the dynamics of female friendships and sisterhood. We encourage you to come, try it out. Bring a friend, the unlikely kind, you know the one that thinks you are witchy and weird for even inviting her to such an event. She will thank you.
Our women's circles provide a safe place for confidences and support, we meet the third Wednesday or Friday of each month at 7:00 P.M. Take the time to find your tribe. You deserve this.
Shauna Rich, BS, LCCE, HBCE
Co-Founder of Mother Rising Women's Studio