Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sistaaah, you've been on my mind...

"Oh sistahhhhh, we’re two of a kind sooo…sistahhhh, I’m keeping my eye on you…"

In the past few days, I’ve been noticing articles, facebook updates, emails and conversations about women, particularly black women, and our love/hate relationships with each other. I feel particularly engaged by this subject because I'm a firm believer that women need to support each other in order to reach our full potential. I would go crazy without my girls! Who understands the headwinds we face each day better than another woman? The tension between women comes from the damaged self-image we have that tells that we should feel threatened by anyone who has something we don't have. Instead of looking at each other and seeing ourselves, we look at each other and see what we are not. And just like that, in the flash of a side eye, judgment is passed: "She thinks she’s cute" / "She’s ghetto" /"She’s weird" /"She’s a hoe" /"She's stuck up" . We look for flaws in other women to make us feel better about ourselves. We believe the hype that most women are dishonorable and can’t be trusted. We try to avoid hate by hating.

Here comes the conspiracy theory: I think this miseducation is a strategic plot against us. Why should I hate my sister? Is she not made of the same stuff that I am? Why should I cancel her out and write her off? So we can be weakened and divided by fear, that's why. If just one of us is able to disassociate from the fear stories that tell us we should judge each other in order to feel safe, then that one person can start spreading a new attitude and enhance the unity of the whole group.

Some women have been so traumatized by toxic female relationships that they won't even speak to you or look you in the face. I walk past these women on the street and in the hallways and I smile in the face of their fear. I try to see through the armor. My blues are like yours. My tears come from the same kind of pain. The stories and the characters are different, but the search for joy and fulfillment is the same as mine. Instead of writing these women off, I wonder what they've encountered in their lives to make them afraid of their own reflection. I'm not saying that I need to make friends with every woman I encounter, but I do need to share some positive energy even if it's just a smile or a hello.

We can begin to heal by loving each other as God loves us. We can compliment each other. We can reach out and support the new girl at the job instead of feeling threatened by her. We can put aside our judgments and our ideas of good and bad, especially as a measurement of how to treat people. We can feel proud of a beautiful woman walking past us on the street with class and grace instead of assuming that she thinks she's better than us. We can pray for the woman who spreads rumors about us. We can show each other respect and kindness regardless of social status, sexual orientation or occupation. We can overcome the stereotype that women can't get along. We can learn to encourage, strengthen, and nurture each other.

The more I love and accept myself, the more I am able to love and accept ALL my sisters. Unique and beautiful, talented and strong...when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.

"I’m somethin….I hope you think that you’re somethin too…"


Chic Mommy, Cool Kid said...

That is one of my favorite songs from The Color Purple! I can't get it out of my head now. And it really does resonate and tie in perfectly as an example of the black female relationship.

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