Monday, September 7, 2009

Mean Girls Series-Part 5: Sistah-Friends

It’s often been said that if you get a bunch of women together, they just can’t get along. People say, “Women are ‘catty’, ‘jealous’ and ‘backbiting’”. “If they all have to work together, it will never get done because all they do is gossip”. And, Lawd help us, if you get women of color together, it’s really ‘on’ then! There has been much talk and debate about whether a sistah can ever really have a true girlfriend. You know, true-blue-and-tight-like-glue? Well, there have been songs sang and books and movies written proving that women can, in fact, get along. But if you ask the average sistah, she would probably say, “Unnhh, unnhh! No Way!”

I use to wear the same ‘Women Just Can’t Get Along’ t-shirt until I had two significant things happen in my life that disproved that theory. The first one is that I read this book many years ago called, “The Friendships of Women” by Dee Brestin, In the book, Ms. Brestin points out why women are the way they are and how it can actually benefit our friendships. We are very passionate and when we love, we love hard. So if we feel betrayed, you’re gonna know it. She uses the friendship example of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible and shows how it can, indeed, be done. She gives insight into characteristics about us that are unique, which makes us excellent friends…but also excellent enemies.

The other significant thing that happened is that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of having some real, genuine, honest-to-goodness friendships with a (small) group of girlfriends. We got each other’s backs no matter what. We’ve encouraged each other through heartbreaks and celebrated each other in triumph. Dee Brestin wrote a sequel to “The Friendships of Women” called “We are Sisters”. In the sequel, she talks about how our female friendships can actually help enhance our other relationships. A lot of sistahs feel like if they got their man, that’s all they need. Well, I beg to differ. Your sistah-friends can actually be a great sounding board and voice of reason when you and your man are having some challenges (cause you will). Also, a little ‘girl-time’ can refresh you and make you more amicable in dealing with your family, your co-workers or even your neighbors.

I ran across two powerful pieces of literature that speaks to the importance of us coming together as sistah-friends and embracing, supporting and encouraging one another. Norka Blackman Richards wrote a powerful essay entitled, “Eight Hateful Things Women Do to Each Other”. It echoes my observation and experiences in dealing with other women and encourages us to discontinue certain practices in “order to heal our sisterhood”. Another great essay, “The Sister Accord”, written by Sonia Jackson Myles, is a beautiful affirmation admonishing us to uphold one another as sisters.

I think the bottom line is that any relationship; friendship, marriage or otherwise, takes a tremendous amount of effort and can only be as good as you make it. We have so much to offer one another and we’re cheating ourselves and others when we hold out on giving the gift of friendship. I know we’ve been burnt before; our best friend stole our boyfriend, our sister told everyone that we peed in the bed when were little, our college roommate went out with a guy she knew that we liked, etcetera and so forth. But let’s squash all of that! If we understood the enrichment having a good girlfriend had in our lives, we would realize our mass potential to effect change, not just in our community and world, but more importantly, in ourselves. That old song by Whodini is ringing in my head, “Friends. How many of us have them?” Let’s make efforts to debunk the stereotypes, embrace one another and tell another sistah, “You can count on me…”

This will conclude the Mean Girls Series. I hope that I’ve given you some food for thought and that you’ve taken the opportunity to challenge yourself and others in your attitudes and actions toward other women. Since beginning this series, I’ve had to check myself quite a few times. The reality is that infighting and derision only further divides us and hinders us from our true purpose. Let’s make a commitment to ourselves and other sistahs to stop the madness and instead make concerted efforts to build one another up.

Be Inspired!
Inspired Sistah

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last Week’s Poll Question was: You show up to your daughter’s dance recital and you spot your ex and the chick he left you for. What do you do? Eighty percent of you said that you would, “Walk up to them and speak. After all, you are looking pretty cute tonight”. Everyone took the high road & decided not to “Bust her upside her head, ‘cause it’s been a long time coming!” LOL! No one wanted to, “Make a bee-line to your car before they see you; your daughter will never know you missed her dance”. And only one person chose to, “Ignore them; you’ve moved past the drama. More power to them”!

I think it’s big of you to want to go over and speak to your ex and his Home-Wrecker girlfriend, but I would caution you to examine your motives. If you’re going over to them because you have truly forgiven them and are healed and free, then ‘Go On, Sistah’! But if you’re going over there to rub in his face the fact that you are 20 lbs. lighter and looking better than ever, then you would do better to keep your seat. Gloating before them may give you a short-lived burst of satisfaction, but the real victory comes in when you have done the work and you are healed and whole. Wouldn’t it be the best thing ever if you could sit comfortably in your own being and have internal peace and satisfaction knowing that what the devil meant for evil, God meant for good?! Now he can put that in his pipe and smoke it!