Female cannibalism is a serious problem in our culture. By cannibalism, I mean we are actively taught that by cutting other women down we are building ourselves up. This illusion of competition and constant criticism keeps many women fearful and stuck. We have all been party to these conversations. I am as guilty as the next woman.
Men are not exempt from this practice but they are socialized differently. My husband never comments on “what he was wearing” or “who does he think he is acting that way.”
This is not a feminist rambling, although I do enjoy those conversations.
This is actually a dedication to a beautiful female friendship.
This may get a little Bette Midler, Beaches for the reader, so get ready.
I met Katrina when I was about 12. She moved to Roscommon from downstate. Now, downstate was a foreign magical land where the cool music, movies and clothes lived.
From go, our friendship was pretty solid. We were two adolescent girls trying to figure it out. I could go on for days about why this friendship means so much to me but I try to keep these posts brief.
Let me sum it up. We are not competitive. We never have been. She has always encouraged and supported me and I hope she could say I do the same for her. What is even more incredible is that we are so different. We do not agree on much of anything politically or religiously. I mean, if we have some drinks we can get into a friendly debate but last time that happened it ended with a dance party.
More importantly, (and this is where I’m going to get really Bette Midler on you). When my life was burning to the ground (this has happened a few times) and most people ran the other way screaming and shouting, she not only ran towards the fire but she ran into the burning house and sat with me. She let me know everyday (several times) that I was not alone and that she loved me unconditionally.
In my life, that support was essential for my survival.
When the bottom dropped out (again, a few times), she told me to fly. And I did.
There was also a significant moment a few months ago and I went to her seeking support and guidance. Without hesitation, she remarked, “You can’t let people talk to you that way, you just can’t.”
It reminds me of the wise words spoke by my favorite poet, writer, teacher, woman:
“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate. You must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody. No mother, father, no wife, no husband, nobody.'” – Dr. Maya Angelou
Did I mention that we’ve maintained this relationship at a significant distance for over 15 years?
Is our friendship perfect? No, there is no such thing.
She taught me that women do not have to eat each other alive. In fact, when they support each other, courage and strength emerge in ways I could have never dreamed of.
Because this post is for her. I will end it with her favorite word as opposed to mine.