so i was thinking that besides our many issues, our shadows, that get in the way of good relationships, that strong women can struggle befriending other strong women.
by strong i mean, opinionated, confident, assertive, healthy self-worth, those with a fire in their belly. they endure, work hard, make do, pick others up. well, at least some of those things on most days.
"The most beautiful discovery true friends make
is that they can grow separately without growing apart."
i live in a community of very strong women, so i knew last year that this was going to be a theme for me. something i needed to examine and discover. in this community, there are many hugs and smiles and much socialising. however, in the background there is the same amount of bitching, undermining, mocking. because i'm terrible at faking it, the irony is that i'm the outsider.
sometimes i have doubted myself. why don't i just fake it a little? for the sake of social cohesion, to oil the social cogs as it were?
it's just not in my nature. i have to have honesty. i have befriended very difficult people in my life - suffering depression, highly sensitive, obnoxious, plain weirdos. but the running theme has been honesty, and the willingness to put in the work in a difficult relationship. i'm not one to walk away when the going gets tough. i'm in 'the tough get going' camp. i work at it.
"You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back."
Barbara De Angelis
what has recently been highlighted for me is how difficult it isfor strong women to bond. even women very different from those described above. women who have love and kindness in their hearts. of course, they still own shadows and issues, like we all do.
the unique difficulties between strong women are issues of arrogance, needing to be right, needing to have control, hearing only one's own opinion, pushing others towards your perspective, needing to feel superior, wanting to be the leader or teacher but not the led or taught.
the most difficult are relationships where one or both women are semi-strong - almost there but with deep and lingering wounds. where need for control is coupled with low self-worth. where needing to push one's opinion is coupled with fear of being hurt. and so on.
“Men kick friendship around like a football but it doesn't seem to break.
Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
and as a strong woman myself, i'm learning gentleness every day. but i've also realised that it's important to not lose my voice. my strength. that is not what the best of womanhood is about for me. it's gentleness in strength and strength in gentleness. we ought not to have to treat each other like we're glass ornaments. and those that are more fragile can learn to breathe in some of the fire rather than hide in the dark.
i have a fire in my belly, it's who i am. and i know it scares the sensitive and wounded. i stand strong in what i am and that scares those struggling with arrogance shadows.
No person is your friend who demands
your silence or denies your right to grow.
i need to believe that strong women, heavily shadowed or not, can make it work. that we can dig through the issues and nurture our way out of the mud. isn't that one of woman's unique gifts - to keep on loving through the muck? and isn't that what sisterhood is partly about? solidarity amongst women, however different?
and i want to support every woman's unique voice. for so long we fought to be heard amongst the voices of men. as long as our hearts are gentle, we ought not to lose our strong voices when others scare off. us women doubt ourselves enough as it is.
ps, Carin's doing a yummy crafty/arty giveaway!