So, just a couple weeks ago, I packed my little pumpkin off to college.
Now, as you probably know, or might suspect, there is nothing ‘little’ about packing your daughter up to send her off to college.
This is a really, really big moment in a mother’s life, and in an emerging young woman’s life. And it was especially momentous because it has been just the two of us.
I have raised her, solo, since she was 8 years old.
Yes, we pulled this off.
But there was no possible way on this earthly earth to pull this off (or to pull anything else off, with ease and grace) without the continuous support and love of my very intimate, very close gang of sisters.
About 8 of my gang came over to my house and created a full-blown, beautiful, touching ritual for me and Maggie, the day before we left. My pal Joanne helped Maggie pack. We stayed with Sheila and her family over the weekend, and we did all kinds of wonderful family stuff together. Ruth and Raven are going to visit her on homecoming weekend. Kris, Marie and Lydia were there for me, on speed dial.
And you know what?
None of us should have to pull off big life transitions on our own.
Or even small life transitions. Sisterhood is an incredibly important element in a healthy, well-lived life.
We should have a gang of sisters waiting on us as we go out on our first Tinder date.
Or catch us in their arms as we deal with the death of a loved one.
Or go on a job interview.
Or watch the Olympics.
Women need women.
We need a tribe of women to ground us, keep us sane when we teeter, lend a hand, show up, hold space, and continue to reflect the vision of our radiance when we lose our way.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Really Regena? Women are such a huge pain in my ass. They are back-stabbing, back-biting, untrustworthy, and selfish. There is no way on this earthly earth that a woman would give me support! She would probably just step all over me as she crawls her way to the top.”
And yes, it is true that women have been given a really, really bad rap inside this patriarchal world culture. The norms of the world in which we were raised do not teach us to embrace sisterhood.
Which is why I wrote my new book, Pussy: A Reclamation. There is an entire chapter in this book, devoted to teaching women the steps to creating phenomenal relationships with other women, and both providing and receiving phenomenal support from the women in their lives.
Perhaps the worst consequence of the patriarchal belief system is that we end up unable to connect to other women in joy, radiance, and pleasure.
If we want connection with other women, we’re conditioned to get it via our mutual victimization. We end up able to communicate only about the negatives in our lives. We are likely to talk about what kind of flu bug we just had, or bitch about our boss, or complain about how our husband forgot our birthday again.
But we don’t dare reveal anything good about ourselves, or our lives. We would never share about the great sex we just had with our hot boyfriend, or how much we love our job and how incredibly well-paid we are. Why? We don’t want other women to feel bad.
We assume that there isn’t enough good to go around, so our radiance is a threat to other women. We don’t want her to hate us for having a great life, so we stay focused on everything that’s going wrong.
To relate with other women, we’re conditioned to connect around our bad luck, mistreatment, and despair. Bad news is our entry point; we have absolutely no shame about leading with the negative. But to start with the spectacular news of our lives? We cringe.
But cringing is a problem.
It’s not only bad for our posture, but it keeps all of us small and less than we are capable of being and becoming.
This kind of cultural agreement is another form of enslavement. It binds us to negativity, instead of our potential. When a woman is taught by her culture to only communicate about the negative, she begins to place “positive value” in the negative. It becomes our negative experiences that buy us access into relationship with other women.
In my book, I teach about a new style of relating with other women, where we brag about, revel in, and celebrate the wonderful things we’ve created in our life. This is about re-educating ourselves and each other of our irrevocable value, and that we were created to support and inspire one another to shine.
It can take years and years to build up powerful female friendships. Yet, we are all wired to connect and support each other—so with the right tools and practices, Sisterhood can form quicker than you may think.
If you want to create, or deepen the relationships with women in your life, here are my top 3 Keys for True Sisterhood:
- Reverse the negativity habit. Begin to find a group of women that are open to and interested in bragging. You can test this out, one woman at a time, simply by suggesting to your friend that you each brag about something good that is happening now, in your lives. You can use my book as a guide. And don’t worry if you can only find one woman to brag with. It’s a start! Make a commitment to brag every single week. If you really want to hit the gas pedal on this, decide to brag together, every day. And be sure to upride each other’s brags. That means to praise each other for how wonderful each other’s brags are.
- Create space for your unfiltered truth. Every single one of us has both intensely good experiences and intensely bad experiences, and everything in between. Since we are accustomed to doing a lot of complaining with our women friends, we don’t realize that the act of complaining actually creates a lot of negativity and stress in our lives. It is quite stressful to listen to someone we love do a lot of complaining. In fact, sometimes I think that it is even more stressful and painful and frustrating to have to listen to the same complaints over and over again. Yet, we have to have a place to be able to dump our frustration, our crazy monkey-mind stirrings, our not-so-wonderful judgments, our fill-in-the-blanks. If we don’t get it out, we stuff it in. Spring Cleaning is a communication exercise I teach in my book, that allows us to hold space for a friend to release the intensely negative feelings they might have, without having to talk about it, or solve it. We all need a place to dump our garbage, but we do not have to use up valuable communication time or hang out time to complain ad nauseum. Sharing those feelings is so important, but making sure they don’t dominate the relationship is equally important.
- Schedule Sisterhood. It is the sad truth that most of us simply do not live in a world where community and sisterhood is embedded into our everyday lives. Like anything important to us, we’ve got to get our priorities in our calendars, or they simply won’t happen. I get together with one very special gang of friends, with whom I practice a lot of the tools and arts in my new book, at least once a month. We e-mail each other almost daily. I live down the street from another friend, so we have dinner once a week or so. And I make sure to continually reach out and keep tabs on my many other besties, asking for help as needed, and seeing where I can contribute, as needed. If you are just getting started in creating your posse of girlfriends, don’t be afraid to be the firestarter and the cheerleader. Women are just beginning to learn each other’s value, and we each need someone to open a door to sisterhood, for us. The fact that you are reading this e-mail right now makes you the leader. Tag, you are it, lady. I cannot wait to see what you can create!
In the comments below, let me know what you need from me, in terms of creating your posse. Let me know if you have a gang of girlfriends. I want to know if you feel you are getting support from them, and how you are supporting them.
All my love,
P.S. Oh my lordy, my book is hitting shelves ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! I am so excited. If you haven’t already, make sure to pre-order your copy and get the special thank you gifts I’ve created for you. Get all the details at mamagenas.com/newbook!