One night, as I was video-chatting with my SO, again (we love talking about such stuff), about the differences between heterosexual men and women, I casually told him, “Women hold hands all the time and hug each other, even out in public and it’s fine – why don’t men do it?” To my surprise, he gave me a passionate and straightforward response, “Because you’re weird.”
I think men, in general, find it peculiar that women’s friendships are usually intimate. We can talk for hours, we can spill the juiciest, tiniest details about our personal stories, we have a tendency to keep each other updated about practically almost anything. We can be so tight with each other that we can literally create our own world.
There was a phase in my twenties when I couldn’t even make sense of my own thoughts and I couldn’t come into terms with my own decisions without talking first to a close girlfriend. I usually had one at a time who knew how I worked inside-out.
Female friendships, I would like to argue, are complex, even more complex than men’s. We sense this subtle tie that binds us across generations, nationalities, religions – and so on. It’s like we are part of a secret society and we know the password to enter the gates of our sacred sanctuary. Our Spirits nod at each other when we come across each other on the streets. We magnet each other; we are fascinated by each other. We inspire each other; we make each other laugh. We feel each other’s burdens, ’cause we all share one major struggle. We have, indeed, our own world, though it feels more like an underground world at this point in time (which only makes us bond more to a certain extent). There is a strong pull to merge and experience each other to the core.
On the other hand, we compete against each other. We criticize and pull each other down. We betray each other. In female friendships, there is a tendency to lose one’s identity as well, to lose the capacity to think on our own and to make decisions for ourselves. We are prone to expecting that our sisters, our daughters, our mothers will be just like us – or else, they’re not one of us. Those who dare to stand out and own her identity can sometimes be seen as a nuisance, a disgrace – a traitor. We tend to expect that each member of the sisterhood will always and forevermore disclose her most private feelings and thoughts – that her story will always be owned by the tribe.
I’ve taken a step back from female friendships (including the one with my own mother) for quite some time now, and that’s how I developed my own voice. There is value in thinking for oneself and in not sharing one’s thoughts, emotions and struggles with anybody. It makes our Spirit more mature – faster. It makes us sharper in identifying which identity, energy, opinions and decisions are truly ours.
During this phase of detachment, I had the opportunity to observe and reflect more on female friendships as well. This force that pulls us together can either strengthen or destroy us.
We share one major struggle, and therefore, it’s only right for us to harness the power of this force to create a united front – to stand by and stand for each other in life and in death, in success and in failure, in joy and in misery.
We should use the tie that binds us together in pulling each other up, and in empowering each other to be ourselves in all our unique glory.
We should never silence each other in the name of Loyalty to tradition and stereotypes. Rather, we should be the source of each other’s courage to speak up, stand out and shine.
By having the freedom and support to bloom into our full authenticity can we only harness this force, this power of our Sisterhood.