Confession: I’m an only child. I mention this all over my blog and social media. Like that’s a whole mood. I promise you. However, the benefits of sisterhood, support systems and having a “village” is not lost on me. In fact, I’m trying to impress upon my Future CEO that these connections are infact important, if not “sanity saving” necessities in our lifetime. So let’s chop this up….
Not having siblings and a shit ton of cousins had an effect on me. My Mother was 1 of 14. — Note: I am only counting the children from his first 2 wives. — She knew the value, sometimes trauma and daily life with a whole damn village. My Father was 1 of 9 (I heard). He too knew about living with a village, but he was a loner. I am like my Dad in that respect. From early on, my Dad sewn seeds of Independence and not depending on other people. I had to carve my own path, walk my own journey and make my own way in the world. He told me that at age 5 and I have never ever forgot those words. I have a huge IDGAF attitude. I think most only-child-type people do. You have to have it because in the beginning, middle and end …. it is just YOU. My cousins and I are very close in age. We are all 6 – 12 months apart. Those were my brothers and sisters, but the great thing about it was after they finished annoying the living hell out of me ( or vice versa ) … everybody went home. There was no daily village. It was only on holidays, school vacation time and funerals. Fine by me. … but not having siblings meant that I didn’t really have a sister and thus it has taken me an extremely long time to understand AUTHENTIC SISTERHOOD.
One of the things I laugh about these days is how one of cousins – whom I always bickered and argued with – she became my real sister in times of need. We are 14 months apart. Then like the smarty pants I am, I made a double and skipped second grade in elementary school. We were suddenly peers, she was my older cousin but we were in the same grade. You’d think that would be a good thing? It wasn’t. I tell you why… my Mother compared me to her day in and day f***ing out. …and there was really no comparison. We were both vastly different. She was quiet and observant. I was an extroverted introvert. She was a homebody. I loved being outside, meeting new people and generally making memories doing things I never done before. She was cautious and I was naively adventurous. We weren’t cut from the same cloth. I loved her dearly but my Mother was constantly forcing me into her presence so that we could be close like her and my aunt. And I think my cousin resented me for that push. For a long ass time, she didn’t like me. For a long ass time, I was selfish and trying to find myself so I didn’t give a rat’s ass about building our relationship. Then my Father died when I was 16 and my Mother died when I was 21. After my Mother died, I went into the matrix because I was truly all alone. There was no one to motivate me to keep going and I just detached myself from my family as an act of self-care and general emotional mistrust. Every now and then, I called on my cousin. She would talk to me and talk me through things. What I didn’t realize is that I was actually getting to know her… she wasn’t thrusted into my face. Us getting to know each other was now organic. Who was she? What did she like? Who was I? How was I coping with being an orphan at 21? This is the real shit that bonds people together.
As the universe would have it, we built a sisterhood and mutual respect for each other as unique individuals. I flew home to support her and in hopes I would be there when she gave birth to her son. She was the first person I called when I had my baby. She has always been a phone call, text or Facebook message away. And I love her for who she is, as she is… because she is truly, truly my sister.
So that’s my first real example of sisterhood. My Sister / Cousin. God Bless her soul. (Insert heart emoji here…)
I think my detachment and the triviality I assigned to sisterhood stemmed from my horrible relationship with my Mother. (RIP… but I’mma kinda tell the truth today, Ma.) Your relationship with your mother sets the tone of friendships / other bonding relationships with women all throughout your life. I loved my Mother immensely, even though her depression made it impossible for me to thrive in my own humanity as a teenager. See, I am passive aggressive. Mainly because my parents had a very violent divorce. I’m very much the type of person, if I love you – I’m not trying to have a massive confrontation, but I will haul off and say some shit that will cut you to the bone. When hurt, or when abused, I am malicious and relentless in my pursuit to make another person feel my pain. I learned from the best. When my mother had some of her depression episodes and she wasn’t happy – you weren’t even gonna be content. Misery loves company and thus you were gonna join her. This is where my emotional mistrust of people stems from. I had a Father who hit women and a Mother who couldn’t manage her sadness. So I grew up thinking, stay the whole f*** away from people. They may touch your soul and leave it stained or dirty. Now here’s the dysfunctional part, I was loyal to my Mother to a fault. I tolerated all her verbal and emotional abuse, even when I was old enough to know something was wrong. I still held fast that it was my Momma and I was to tolerate it. This laid the foundations for me having girl friends who were vile or iffy to me in school and in university, yet I stayed their friends. Friendships would be expired, tired and unfruitful … but because they rode with me in the trenches, I stood there by their side without any reciprocity, without any value in our friendship. And when I would lose a friend, I’d always say f*** sisterhood – it doesn’t exist.
Now I know it does exist, I just hadn’t had healthy relationships to help me establish insightful friendships in my adult life. … and boy honey, when I got divorced and damn near lost my whole entire marble of a brain to not one, but two nervous breakdowns… I needed those I considered sisters more than ever. Jesus “Tall White Flat Latte” Christ… whew did I need my sisters / friends.
I will say this though… TO BE A SISTER, YOU NEED TO FIRST BE A FRIEND. Friendship is paramount to real, authentic and consistent sisterhood.
I am NOT a good friend to many. There I said it. I said it. I lost the fervor to go the distance for everyone and honestly I never had it.
Take my Best Friend for example, I love my best friend, but I’ve asked her to love me even when I ran away to New York, ran away to England, landed in Texas and many times when I did not love myself. … Yet, I’ve always asked her indirectly to be there, to be a phone call or message away.
And I’ve failed her many times. I’ve been so broken and self absorbed in trying to self-medicate / heal myself from my past trauma that sometimes I’m not there to ask her the hard questions, to show her that I think the world of her, to offer financial assistance when needed or just to jaw jack on the phone. Life has rendered me unavailable, incoherent or numb on a number of occasions. It is through these iterations of our friendship, massive fights and all… I’ve learned that to even call her my “Sister in Christ” or my “Best Friend” – I need to be a better, more engaged, consistent and honest friend. To be a sister to anyone, first be a sister to yourself and be a damn friend to others.
True sisterhood is a truly an organic process that is dependent upon intentions, kindness, time and purpose. And we need sisterhood because as Black American women, the world takes part in a simultaneous wet dream of destroying and maiming our humanity. So you need people who will cheer you on, motivate you to do better, tell you the truth when you are blinded and in bed with your own delusions. You need someone to hug you and clap when you win. SISTERHOOD can be complex, caring, controversial or comfortable. — but we as Black American women cannot thrive without it.
I hope I’ve learned enough in life to be a sister to those who are a sister to me.
#Friendship #lifeskills #relationships #MommyFab #BlackWomen #Kindness #Support #YourVillage #Sisterhood