Ladies, We Are In This Together

I remember being very very sensitive as a child, a young adult and into my twenties. The smallest comment would affect me in the biggest way, whether it was to me or to someone I cared about. For those I cared about, I would embrace the stubborn side of me and defend a friend or loved ones’ honor. For me, I would go about and be ultra sensitive. I wouldn’t often defend myself. Instead I would accept the bad comment as truth and absorb it.

Everyone has defining moments in their life. And defining people. I have many defining moments and people, but I find that the negative defining moments and people are the ones that sit on my shoulder whispering lies into my ears, long into adulthood, even when I know better. They are the ones that surprise me by sending a jolt of insecurity so subtle that I’m not even aware of what happened. All I know is that I’m in pain for some reason. Then I remember why. But often, it’s too late and I’ve reacted.

This is going to sound ridiculous to some, but 2 of my defining moments from childhood involve people thinking I was a boy. On two ( probably more) occasions that I can distinctly remember, I had people question my gender. I had unruly curly hair so for my sanity, and that of my parents, it was cut short….so, yes, I kinda looked like a little boy. But imagine how those comments affected me. I have NEVER felt especially pretty. I always question my attractiveness. I even go as far as NOT primping myself, maybe to prove my belief system right? Who knows. I also notice that I hang out with average looking girls….maybe so that I can feel like the pretty one? I hate admitting that.

Another defining moment was about 10 years ago, when one of my positive role models told me “You’re way too sensitive”. Wow. So, I believed that and instead of being a softy, I resorted to sarcasm and cynicism as a way to deal with my hurt. And I put up walls. BIG ones. No one was going to see my sensitive side, or take advantage of it.

My point about defining moments is that, whether you like it or not, they end up defining you.

They sneak out sometimes when you least expect it.

They sneak out and remind you that you haven’t healed.

As a teenager, I hung out with mean girls. I was fairly neutral, but could teeter on the edge of pure meanness. I don’t think it’s unusual for young women to venture into this element. We are taught at an early age ( by whom, I don’t know) that we cannot trust other females; that they are our competition, instead of our allies. We all walk around pretending to like one another while secretly hoping for the demise of our “competition”. That is just gross. And it’s gone on for centuries. It hasn’t changed either. (If someone can figure out how NOT to do this, please teach your grandparents, aunts, mothers, sisters. And grandfathers, uncles, fathers and brothers)

Because I hang out in the neutral zone, I often got overlooked. For positive things, sometimes, but thankfully the hate wasn’t laid out on me too often because of that. I’ve noticed in recent years that I have been hanging out in the neutral zone. I so want to be noticed, but instead I remain the wallflower. When I think of myself in the 3rd person, I see this shy, hurt girl standing against the wall at the dance, by herself, wishing someone would notice her. I feel like the stupid, ugly girl. Even in adulthood. I often avoid people that I know because I don’t think they’ll remember me. And often, they don’t.

This sounds odd, because I have always had a boyfriend, or a husband. I’ve never had trouble meeting men or engaging in meaningful relationships with them. Women are a different story. Even at 36, I still feel like we are all still in junior high school….all jockeying for position, all wanting to be popular….or the MOST popular. My values don’t line up with that thinking. I just want real, honest to goodness friendships with women, as my allies, not my competition.

This has not been happening in my adult life. I have been hanging out with stupid, ugly girls. I realized today that I hang out with stupid, ugly girls because I feel like a stupid, ugly girl. And by ugly, I don’t mean outwardly, I mean inwardly. I have been asking myself, why do I always attract people who treat me poorly? Why do I attract the projects? Because they are a reflection of how I see myself. Wow. Oh, wow.

So, how does this all tie in together?

Well, lately I’ve noticed the lack of good female friends in my life. I can count, on 2 fingers, the ones that would drive my getaway car. And I would need to drive to either coast just to get IN that car.

Recently, something happened that made me feel like that stupid, ugly, worthless girl that I felt like often when I was young. It made me so sad. Skip the mad. Sad. Deeply sad. And then I was embarrassed for feeling hurt. I felt like my feelings were WRONG.

It may not have been a big deal to the perpetrator but it was huge for me. It was huge because it reminded me that I AM sensitive ( yay!!) but that I need to start sticking up for myself and calling people on their bullshit. Even if it costs me a friendship.

I decided long ago that I would try to build my female friends up, point out their beauty and talent ( especially the girls that were prettier and more talented than me). I will never stop doing that. Because it is what I need, too. Obviously.

I’d like to start a women’s ally group. I want this group to consist of women who are strong, smart, beautiful and unafraid to admit that the other women are too. No gossip or commiserating will be allowed. I don’t care if there are 3 people in it. As long as I’m one of them.

We have to remember that deep down, we are fundamentally similar.

We are in this together. It’s time to behave as such.

Image: Cia de foto
97 Responses to “Ladies, We Are In This Together”
  1. You left me nothing sentimental to add! So I’m going to throw in a KUDOS, love it. <3

  2. I have such a great bond with the ladies in my life. I think it’s important for everyone to have that support.. irl or online. :)

    • Laura, that is awesome to hear. I agree, support is so important for our well being.

  3. Shannon

    So powerful! What a great read and it is so important for us women to stick together, stay strong and realize how amazing we all are in this world. No matter what others say, think or do towards us. We are women hear us roar. :-)

    @luv_mydachshund

  4. One of my best friends greets her female friends with “Hello, Beautiful!” and she means it. Whether I feel beautiful or not, she makes me smile every time she says it.

    • Your friend has learned the true meaning of beauty. I’m glad she sees your beauty and isn’t afraid to empower you.

  5. Count me in! I almost always get along fine with men, but women scare me to death sometimes. I’m always paranoid, never able to relax around other women, because I know how they tend to gossip behind others’ backs.

    • I read something brilliant recently; “When someone talks about you behind your back, it’s because you are ahead of them”.

      I do, however, believe ( after many failed female relationships) is to be choosy in who you are intimate with. A good friend will never talk about you behind your back ( unless it’s in praise) and will never let go of your secrets.

  6. Wonderful writing, loved every word. I’m going to read this again. I can count my real friends on one hand – so true!

  7. anna c

    wow! a perceptive post that i would probably respond to even if you weren’t offering an amazon card. ;) would love to be part of your group. several years ago i noticed my lack of friends who were women. the ones i would throw myself under a bus for had switched their allegiances to their growing families and so had i. the kind of easy relationship and ready laughter we used to have were no longer accessible. i wouldn’t give up my kids and hub for anything but i miss my old girlfriend self. i honestly don’t know if getting back to who you were as a woman with other woman will help you will the pain and vulnerability you felt recently but it certainly won’t add to it.

    kia kaha–

    • My dream is that women will come together and empower one another…conciously or unconciously.
      I hope that you can find at least 1 female friend with whom laughter comes easily, again.

  8. Lazula

    Wow… Thank you so much for the insight. It really did strike a very deep nerve in me, and I would really like to have a stronger female influence in my life. I have never had that, and even now that my work requires interaction with women, I still fell like it’s never going to be on a friendship level.

    • If you are open to it, friendship will FIND you….I assure you.

  9. Lyn Reid

    Great article. I have a tendency of attracting high maintenance people and for a long time, I went along with it until I felt drained and exhausted. I’m more of a loner now only because I got tried of all of the drama. I would love to be a part of your group. It would be so refreshing to have a conversation with someone without the drama.

    Lyn

    • I have the very same experience, Lyn. It got to the point of just befriending men to get away from the drama. Lately though, some amazing women have entered my life. Some, I’ve had to let go, others will remain as long as we have something to learn from eachother.

      With so many of you wanting this type of group….we may need to organize something online!

  10. Kristina Stockamp

    I have often felt I “do” not measure up. You all know the “list”. Not pretty enough, smart enough, witty enough, catty enough, athletic, funny, dont’ have the right clothes- the list goes on and on. I’m not sure that type of internal dialogue is reserved strictly to females, but we are more prone to sensitivity and are taught to constantly worry about what other people think of us. One of my ah-ha moments was realizing that I DON’T have to be and CAN’T be all of those things- I have my own gifts and curses. The other important thing, is that what I give to other women, I typically get back. I try to give positively of myself, that’s all I can do. Lastly, I can be who I truly am, and I can continue to shape myself into the person I want to become without sacrificing myself for the sake of friendship that is hurtful to that process.

    • I think we can all relate to that Kristina, and one thing that I often observe in women is that we are afraid to admit that to one another. I’m glad you have realized that you can’t be everything, but I imagine that you are perfect as you are.
      I’m sure that your beauty shines through in your friendships and that you recieve that energy back.

  11. So true! Sometimes it does seem as if we never grow up. It certainly would be nice to see women working together instead of tearing one another down.

  12. I was that girl you were up until my first semester in HS. I dressed in mousy clothes and practiced blending into the scenery whenever possible. Then one day, one of the popular girls snapped at me because she didn’t feel well. I thought about my hurt feelings and decided that I might as well be as expressive as I wanted, since no one liked me anyway, there was no one to alienate. My mother had fed me the “other women are competition” line as well, but I never bought it. I have close women and men friends and I am grateful for them both, but maybe a little more for the women friends. Treasure the allies you make – they are definitely worth the effort to find and keep!

  13. I have no words. I do, actually, but they seem quite inadequate at the moment. Across the grand blogosphere this is the best and most poignant post I’ve read in a month… or more. So, thank you!

    I was the tomboy… one of the guys… the fellow jock and I have always struggled with female friendships. You know that one “no BS allowed” and “drop the melodrama” way-too-blunt female friend you all seem to have? Yep, that’s me. Sometimes I, in my complete lack of tact way, do the hurting of the feelings inadvertently and I always find myself apologizing. What other women seem to not realize is that I, too, have feelings. They do get hurt. I just hide it better… sometimes.

    • I relate to you, especially because I am outspoken. I am finding myself surrounded by the same type of women now. And guess what? We actually have a lot of fun with our straightforwardness. It’s fantastic. :)

  14. What a truly honest piece. I’m joining. If only to prove to you that so many of us women feel the very same.

  15. Dawn. I look forward to it!

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