How to gather a pod of supportive sisters (even when you’re too busy, or too hurt)

Like oh so many of us, I am in the midst of another huge personal transformation.

Transformations can look so many ways. Graduating from university. Beginning divorce proceedings. Shifting from one career to another. Having a baby. Sending a baby to college. Getting fired. Starting a business. Menarche or menopause.

Women are amazing. We go through so many transitions in our lives. And change, no matter how constant, no matter how practiced we are, is never ever easy. A part of us is ending, which is terrifying. 

Perhaps we don’t know what is next. Or if there is even going to be a ‘what’s next’. Transition can feel kind of like rounding the scariest corner on a roller coaster — the intense motion makes you wonder if you are going to make it to the end of the ride without throwing up. Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed that we don’t even know if we are going to make it to the end of the ride. Will we fly off the rails?

There is only one way I know to transform a woman’s relationship to her own transitions.

It is not about speeding up the transitions or staving them off or changing them. It’s not about being more disciplined or less emotional or working harder on yourself. For certain, it is not about more self-work.
It’s not even about you.
It’s about sisterhood.

Gathering sisters. Finding your pod, your gang, your posse, your peeps, your clan. This is how to keep yourself intact when it seems like there’s nothing to hold onto, nothing stable. You let your sisters hold you.

Which, especially when your plate is full and your heart is imploding, can seem almost impossible, I know. Particularly if you don’t already have this pod in place.

If you don’t already have a team, how do you get one?

Here is the hard and fast secret that most women do not even realize or recognize ourselves —  we are all longing for a girl gang, a core team, a home plate of the feminine that continues to revive and inspire. We want sisters to receive from and give to. We want to be invited and we want to belong.
 
If you don’t already have a cheering squad of best gals, do not be ashamed. 

Especially when we are in the midst of getting worked over ourselves, by life in all her fullness.
And double especially when we live in a culture that creates competition and betrayal amongst women, rather than community and connection.
Especially when models of women supporting women are less common than cat fight tropes.

This is where your inner bad-assery comes into play.

The rebel in you. 
The genius.
The woman who chooses to be turned on instead of turned off.

For each of us, our job is to fly directly in the face of patriarchal convention, which says “women are not trustworthy, women will stab you in the back, women are competitive and unkind” and take the risk of reaching out and creating community. Be afraid of that loop but get on the rollercoaster anyway.

This is not easy, because when you make an effort to create community, you are inviting the possibility for rejection into your life. And, powerfully, you are choosing to transform all the places inside you that have been hurt by sisters, or girlfriends, in the past. Women who have been unkind or have done you wrong have left scars. Real ones. No joke.
But scars can heal. We have all been hurt, we have all been betrayed, and yet we all long for healthy connections with other women. We want each other very badly. 

In my case, gathering a pod has had its challenges.
It will probably challenge you too.

Maybe you are shy and reaching out is difficult.
Perhaps you are new to your neighborhood and don’t know anyone.
Maybe you work so much you have not cultivated connections with others.
Or everybody took your ex’s side.
We all have our hurdles to climb.

Because I am a mover and a shaker, the women that I first chose to connect with wanted me to move and shake for them. They looked to me to organize and mobilize our group. And that was not what I wanted. I wanted sisters who each took turns at leadership.
Sisters who supported me where I was, and for whom I could offer support in return. In even measure.
Women who were high vibe and wanted to go even higher.

The next gang I gathered were the most beautiful foul weather friends. When I was in crisis, they flocked to me, but when things lightened again, our connection changed and so did our formation. A few sisters stepped back but two leaned in. (Sisterhood will transition too.)

One of this pair suggested adding a third from her gang of friends. We popped her in, and now we are a group of four, a quad, who meet on skype every week for an hour. We text brags or requests for help throughout the week. Through using a simple cycle of communication that I describe in Pussy: A Reclamation, we have a structure that we use for each call that keeps us in powerful connection with each other and ourselves. Every part of our lives has continued to improve and expand through our connection. And my current transformation? They’re witnessing and loving me through it.

I encourage you to take the steps to make sisterhood happen for you too.

Suggest you see a movie together.
Invite women you don’t know well but want to know better over for pizza. Or plan a chocolate tasting. Start a book club.
Offer to give a group Spanish lesson or private lecture on neuroscience.
Throw an outrageous Galentine’s event for every single woman you know.
You are so creative — however much or little time and energy you have, I know you can come up with something brilliant for your outreach. And whatever it is, it will be perfect.

Whether you are shy or bold, it is worth the effort.
Whether it works out at first or not.

It’s about trial and error.
Initiating friendships.
Surviving rejection.
And ending up with the daily nourishment of sisterhood which changes every single aspect of a woman’s life, for the better. 

Love,

Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts

Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.

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