As a woman in her early 20s, steering her way through the harshness and brutal candor of the world, my fellow sisters are my comforters. I seek solace, love, strength, support, and bliss for basically everything and it is one of the best parts of my life that strengthens my inner feminine and gives me space to be the person I am and the one I want to be without any filter. This has made me grow so much over the past few years and into the person I am today. However, this wasn’t always the case.
I, like almost every woman, was conditioned to compare myself to other women to measure up to a standard basis of beauty, intellect, and “limited” progress in life. When I joined university, I opened myself to a whole new world of women who thrived off hyping each other up in every manner possible. Initially viewing them through the same lens, I was intimidated, inspired, scared, and wasn’t sure if I was supporting my movement in the best possible way because all of sudden, I saw women through this whole new spectrum and had a tough time adapting myself to that. As I grew older, my experiences and vulnerability with them led me to the realization that there is no right way.
We are all utterly confused navigating through the mess patriarchy has left us with and continues to propagate those ways. We grew up following a map and a set of rules with the destination settled for us and while it is so unbelievably incredible to have a history of activists who got us to a point where many of us have a platform to do the work for other sisters incorporating total elements of intersectionality, the lack of a map is overwhelming, to say the least. That isn’t to say we need one from the current systems, but rather a simple acknowledgment that while it is liberating, it is scary and that’s okay. I have learned it the hard way, though I am still very young. There is never a right way to be smart, beautiful, good enough, or a woman. You define your movement the way you want to and the same goes for your life.
There is no right way but YOUR way.
At one level, it is utterly important to hold onto the women in your life and continue to cheer them on as they tread their unique paths but it is just as important to do that for yourself. I think of the balance in this aspect in multiple ways. One is the balance between advocating for sisters and ourselves, through the realm of activism. Other is relying on them and soaking up their love, gumption, and wisdom but also finding space where you find pieces that fill the void that originates from you.
Having sisters is the most exciting and wonderful thing but so is solid ground in who you are and your boundaries. It is a constant work in progress and that’s excellent actually. The way I also see this is ensuring that your friends give you space, instill a sense of confidence in you, call you out on playing small and that most certainly does half the job. But let’s talk about the hard part. Let’s not forget that doesn’t mean to blindly go along with everything and forget to find what works best for you. This can also mean that you might disagree with your friends sometimes and that’s okay too. That doesn’t, however, mean that you don’t have a support system in them. You have your own path but you’re not going to be alone even in your wildest of experiences if you find that group of people or individuals that feel at home.
Female friendships are hands down, the best thing in life and so is a woman who defines strength, freedom, intellect, and beauty on her own terms. It always should be an inclusive community, but one with no standards that highlight individuality within a broad spectrum of movement.
This to me is the balance, I continue to strive for.