Lately, I’ve put a lot of thought into my love and appreciation for the other women around me. I’ve come to a conclusion. There is something beautiful and magical about having another woman to talk to.
I am not one to espouse women’s solidarity against the metaphorical man; in university I even refused to join the clubs and organizations that were specifically for women. My stomach would churn when I heard a woman I previously respected in engineering or in the sciences talk about how it was ok to feel intimidated by the men around you, it was ok to feel awkward, it was ok to be stared at and it was ok because we women would get through it together. The need for this kind of comraderie was absent from my experience. Since elementary school, my best friends had always been boys. I’d long since become one of the guys and did not feel intimidated or awkward when the boys excluded me or poked fun, I did what any good boy would do and dished it right back out.
For years, I saught to make the personality that would make me fit in with the boys around me and for quite some time it worked. Until I realized that I was incapable of communicating to my friends, collegues, romantic partners and everyone that the one true thing I really needed was to be a woman. To those around me I was not a woman, I was this other word we use to describe women who are not womanly; I was a bitch.
Let’s talk about this word bitch. I used to be proud to be a bitch. Bitches are strong. Bitches can run you in the ground and tell you how it really is faster and with more eloquence than anyone. When you’re bitching you are incapable of being wrong, you do not have to be humble. When I was a bitch I treated life like a crowd that I was bustling through, knocking people over on my way to some inperceptible front of the room.
Only to find out that to be in the front of the room is irrelevent. To be on stage, to face the crowd you cannot force your way through from the back of the room. You must enter from the side door, the door that is only opened to people who are authentic, true, and deserving. Those people on the stage are not bitches.
Bitching is not enough.
To feel like I was on the stage of my own life I had to learn to communicate what I really needed. I had to conquer and use my womanhood. I needed to feel comfortable in my body, I needed to accept my emotions, I needed to be made to feel safe and secure in who I was. Part of this came from within. Part of it comes from without.
It’s time to start focusing on the relationships we have with the women in our lives. Having other women to talk to is so important. Women need other women. Women are trained through their life to communicate in a certain ways, we learn from our mothers and sisters and best friends to talk. The sterotype that women don’t stop talking is based on a truth. We predominantly talk to work things out, we talk to each other to decide on everything, from what color shoes to buy to where and when to pursue a job. This method of communicating is beautiful, womanly magic. Embrace it. Teach yourself to share, tell a story, relate it to yourself, talk, bitch, complain, nag, negotiate, converse, and do it with a woman that you love. Let the talking bring you closer together.
Over the last few years, I have been investing in earnest on my relationship with my mother, my sister, my best friends and my newest friends. Being with them and talking with them makes me whole, it satisfies a need to connect and be whole that I have felt for years. It makes me feel like a woman and reconnects me to a world outside of myself. This breaks down the habit patterns of being a bitch. Talking to other women, sharing their experiences makes me more compassionate, more kind, more humble. As a result, I now trust these women more than I trust myself. We are the flowers in a field, beautiful inside and out, dancing together through our lives, competing for the sun but relying on our closeness for survival from the wind. I rely on the women in my life for advice on everything from cooking to budgeting, clothes to personal development, presentation advice to career goals. I rely on them because when I am with them I am judged as more than I seem to be, I am part of an ongoing conversation that started the first time we spoke and will not end between us. Because of this reliance I got outside myself, I got outside the label of being a bitch.
I am still bitching, but now it has a place. I am a bitch, but I am also many other things. Through my women friends I can vent the real me, they accept me and they share themselves in return. If I need to rant and bitch aloud to someone I can do that with them without losing myself to the rant. I can bitch to the women in my life because they bitch to me, becuase we trust and expose ourselves to each other. A trusted female friend always smiles, interjects or points out the error in a rant exactly when you need to hear it, they stop you from running into the ground, allow you to see yourself as a reflection. And most importantly they pull at your arm and point you towards the side door, walking out on stage right beside you.
Women need to share who they are with other women, because other women take you for who you are.