Sometimes, it’s not until someone else speaks up confidently about a topic that you realise how many other people feel comfortable enough to express that they are feeling the same. Partly why I blog is because I want to be a voice not only for myself but for those that read this blog. As well as express my strong opinions that others may or may not agree with but can take something positive from it.
Social media is a great platform to immediately grab the attention of users with expressions, microblogs and general updates. It’s not always used in the best ways possible but when it is done right, an audience can be captured through an opinion that is widely shared.
Today, Olga from Big Fat Greek Mother posted on Instagram about friendships and her post caught my attention immediately. Not only do I love her social feeds because she is genuine, hilarious, lovely, kind and big-hearted; but she managed to address an issue that appeared to be something a lot of us could all relate to. It was refreshing to read something raw and from the heart.
Olga perfectly describes how so many of us view “sisterhood” and what it should really represent when we chose to describe our love for one another.
P E A R L S T O S W I N E This hasn't been easy to write. It's not a "funny" post. None of my usual get up or disguise. Just me. But I feel like I have to say it. Want to. It's about the real meaning of sisterhood. Pls don't scroll on. Give me a minute. I know we use this word so much on insta but do we really dig into it? As you go down into the root of sisterhood or girl-gang or whatever you choose to call it; it can get pretty painful, and the landscape gets smaller. As I have gotten older I seem to have less and less "real friends". Am I alone? I don't think so. I know lots of people sure and I have so many "mates" but the middle of the night people? Well that's a completely different story. The middle of the night people I count on one hand. Those who give selflessly, with whom you are totally safe and totally yourself. As I have gotten older and learnt to love myself more I have had to let go of those friendships where I cherished, but wasn't cherished; where I gave and gave but never received. When I struggled with low self worth and poor mental health I couldn't see this imbalance. I poured myself out regardless, forgave, made allowances, took it all. Now I just can't anymore. Can't. Do. It. Sisterhood is choosing to be happy for others no matter what. Its pure unconditional love that celebrates another woman; yes even if you feel insignificant or you don't have as much money or as nice a hairstyle and as fancy a coat…..as pert a butt. I could go on…. Go praise your sister. Just do it. I will always be someone who gives to others. I know those close to me can testify to that. But I cannot allow myself to be walked on again. To be envied or made to feel silly or small by those filled with anger and hate. Not when I choose to lift you continually but you trample me underfoot. I love and I do care but like the Bible tells me I shall not; will not throw my pearls to the swine. I wrote this for myself but I felt someone out there needed to hear this too. X 📸credit @scooperphotog
Now, I need to make it clear I rarely, if not ever use the term ‘sisterhood’, I may have once or twice used the word ‘tribe’ but it has never sat comfortably with me. Why? Because I feel it secludes others from entering your life. You immediately put up a barrier to those that aren’t already in your well established “girl-gang”, “tribe” whatever you want to call it and I don’t want to make people feel left out and certainly wouldn’t want to come across as unapproachable.
My first impressions are that I see all women as equal, I don’t make a judgement about whether or not they can “fit” into a girl gang. It’s very secondary school and if your teen years were anything like mine, then you’ll know that it was filled with bitchiness.
Reading other women’s comments – grown women and mostly mums saying that they felt like this too, really had me thinking about why as women, are some women intent on being bitches?
I have a small group of friends that I can 100% rely on and they can rely on me always. Some I have known for 30 years and some I have to know for 1 year. It’s irrelevant how long I have known them, but I have friendships that I know I can trust. They are from all walks of life, all areas of the world and all different backgrounds, ethnicities and so forth. They are all wonderful and I am honured and proud to call them my friends.
My friends are far from bitchy. I surround myself with supportive women who raise others up, who offer help, support, love and friendship. We don’t feel the need to go around acting like we are 17 again forming cliques and secluding the “uncool” kids from the group. We don’t put each other down, we raise one another. We are there for one another through the good and the bad times.
One of my downfalls at school was that I was everyone’s friend, it didn’t matter to me if you were a stoner, a geek, the popular kid – I just didn’t care. I wanted everyone to be friends but people didn’t like that. Sadly, even at 35 with children, the bitchiness continues or at least has done over the past few years. I’ve become a pro at spotting bitches and manage to avoid them.
I have frequently written about friendships/relationships and how attracting the like for like mentality isn’t always easy but it can be done. How we need to rid of the toxic people in our lives when we grow and flourish and attract new relationships which are in line with those growing values.
Olga’s post opened up the conversation between like-minded women and there was a lot of reassurance out there and it pulled those people together which was really lovely to be a part of.
Now I am not suggesting that I am some kind of Snow-White – far from it, I’ve made mistakes but I learn from my mistakes. They become lessons. I have been on both sides of the arena and equally taken valuable lessons from those that haven’t treated me right and applied the “how not to treat someone” method to my friendships.
With the bad behaviours that have been subjected to by so-called friends, it has often made me question my own behaviours and rightly so. It made me question how I was treating others – were these friends treating me like this because I deserved it? I later realised it wasn’t because I deserved it, it was because I was an easy target. Too soft, too kind, to laid back, too forgiving, too caring, to respectful and too empathetic.
But as I said, we are not all perfect and we all make mistakes. I will always hold my hands up when I think I have been (for want of a better word)… a dick. It happens to the best of us.
As I have said for years and to many close and dear friends – tolerating bad behaviours is not acceptable. If it means losing all your friends, going solo and rebuilding – then that path is far more rewarding that painstakingly one you potentially have by putting up with the crap hurled at you by your so-called friends.
If you are being made to feel like shit without a cause or reason from friends, work colleagues or family members, then address the issue where possible and if you feel the relationship is worth saving, then speak up for yourself and let it be known that you deserve better. The outcome will be determined by their response which will make it easier for you to make your decision. If you don’t think the relationship deserves to be addressed then cut all ties, march yourself straight out of those relationships and don’t look back. It sounds easier said than done, but you will thank yourself for it.
We get one life and one chance to make it the best we possibly can. I’d rather be alone and work on loving myself than surrounding myself with people that don’t have the same values towards friendship as I do. Surrounding yourself with people that have bad energy means it rubs off on to you. Your thoughts become negative, your body, mind and spirit become damaged because negativity can be all encompassing and if you want to live a happy prosperous life, then you need to leave all that behind you.