The older I get…the more I realize and have come to appreciate…we all do! I don’t want to imagine my life without them.
Historically, during the 1590’s, the word “sisterhood” was loosely used with reference to a religious orders of nuns. It became a public term during the 1960’s women’s liberation movement. The word is simply a label or description.
I think where women come together, there is a genuine powerful energy that propels us forward, together. It’s been happening for as many generations as there have been people, regardless of a name for it.
We need each other. In our everyday life of trouble and victories…we should never do it alone. I am 3 times blessed with wonderful soul sisters in my life.
In elementary school, I always had one special friend at a time. It was like, we shared what we did, it was good, then life moved us away from each other. I think my heart felt a little loss, but my mind allowed me to feel nothing.
Sister Number 1
My first true best friend arrived in my life at 13 years old. I lived in a small suburban town. My house was on a short dead-end street which connected with another dead-end street. That was my neighborhood. Our homes were surrounded by rolling green field hills, open pastures and prolific wild growing blackberry bushes.
The first day of school, fall of 1970, the usual kids were at the bus stop. It felt like any other first day of school, except it was my first day of Junior High School! I noticed a lone girl with beautiful long (natural) blonde hair framing very tanned skin walking slowly towards us.
The whispers amongst us began. Who is that? No one knew! I remember observing that none of the high school kids acknowledged her, which, in my young self-conscious mind was some sort of gauge as to how I might react to the situation, or not.
She stopped a short distance from where we gathered.
Something inside propelled me outside my comfort zone and regardless of what anyone else thought I followed it.
Gathering my courage, I walked over and introduced myself. I found out she had moved in with her uncle, along with her mom, brother and sister, right across the street from my house, a few days before! It turned out we were in the same grade.
It was not long before we became good friends and walked together to graduation from high school.
However, in-between, we were going to begin our last 2 years of high school. Her mother was marrying again, and she was being pushed to attend another school district. I was very worried for us both. I could not grasp how I would be able to go forward without her. She let me know she did not like the plan at all.
We did not know what to do with the tide we were being pulled into.
A few weeks before school started, my mom told me that my friend was going to come live with us. She wanted to know if I was alright with this…as she would be staying in my room.
Was I alright with it! My belief that it would somehow work out had been validated. To mom’s credit, she knew far more than I had understood. Our lives were grounded.
Social situations were difficult for me, especially after elementary school. I was very tall for my age and there were only 2 other girls that were almost as tall as me in my class. Shyness and lack of confidence in myself kept me from presenting who I was inside.
My friendship with her balanced that…which allowed me a little more confidence to try things I might not have done alone. She was my home base.
I got married the summer we graduated from High School. I left my small bedroom to a new life, and she followed her own path with her found love. Later, she left her marriage and ended up moving to another state.
For some reason, we lost each other while we focused on husbands and kids. Years later we came together again after a connection on Facebook.
For decades she has lived a very remote life compared to mine, far away. For many years, she has had no internet connection, by choice. We are continuing to age with the same chemistry we have had from the beginning. Me on my headset and she on her landline with wonderful conversations lasting for hours.
She watches Dish TV and keeps up on current events. When she speaks of things that I am unaware of, I can quickly look them up on the information highway and participate in our conversation. Many times, we have come close to setting the world to rights!
She strengthens me when I need it or am ready to listen. : ) The girl that knew my neighborhood, my family, and me. Fifty years of history!
I am a Libra. I am drawn to strong, confident women for friends. I don’t seek a particular sign. I feel for positive chemistry. However, they have turned out to be Aquarians, Leos and Sagittarian. Fire and Air.
Aquarius is an air sign, as is Libra. As such, we find emotions difficult and prefer to flow through life, as air. What I love about them is they like putting their busy minds to work and are natural in common sense thinking to help others with their knowledge. They don’t let emotion get in the way of reason and are straight forward with their thoughts.
Emotions, good and bad, are hard for me to process. Too much in either direction has me retreating to sort them out. In those moments where I am spinning out with emotional fallout…she listens well and then grounds me with her commonsense understanding. We still balance one another. I was so grateful the Universe brought us back together again and so blessed.
My next sister to come into my life was when I was 30. I was pregnant with my second child.
I had been experiencing serious conflict, over a few years, as to how I could remain hopeful for a future in a marriage that included angry emotional and sometimes physical random abusive sessions from my spouse.
Up until the first four years of the marriage, our couple narrative was a lovely story.
The sudden death of his dad, shortly before our first child, brought out a very dark side of him and I remember thinking I would never see the man I married again. My conflict was, I still saw him but how could I learn to accept his dark side. (Two decades later, I painfully, finally, made the decision I could not.)
Becoming pregnant, 7 years later, with our second child was a big surprise. The same doctor had told me I probably would be unable to conceive…and that was before our first one! True blessings, indeed.
Emotionally I was in a real turmoil between maternal happiness and the not knowing how to handle the dark secrets in the marriage or, really, how could I stay in it, with a new life coming to join us.
So, back to enter new girlfriend! She lived across the intersection from us. My 7-year-old son had begun to play with her 9-year-old son.
I was at the local grocery store one day. A short dark-haired woman approached me in the checkout line, wearing a friendly smile and lovely brown kind eyes. She introduced herself as my neighbor and mom of the boy my son had been playing with recently. She spoke very fast and enthusiastically. I was immediately taken off guard in the moment and became my shy, self-conscious self. I felt a little overwhelmed with her strong energy.
Before I could really form any coherent words in response, beyond my name…she suddenly produced and opened a 3-ring binder containing pictures of impressive, beautiful cakes she had made and decorated herself. And if I was ever interested…let her know! Before I knew it, she was gone.
Later, I learned she was a bartender and kept late hours after her shift. I was a night owl myself, mainly because, when husband and son slept, I got so much done! I don’t remember how it came about, but one late evening I ended up at her house.
Honestly, it was her personality that seemed to wrap herself around me, like she could really see me. She is my Sagittarian, Fire. Her nature is nurturing, soothing, confident and insightful. It did not take me long before I felt comfortable opening myself up to her. Although, I kept my marital secret to myself. (To be honest, I never told anybody, until years later when I had to share my impending divorce, and even then, I was evasive on facts, feeling the need to protect the man I was leaving but still cared about.)
I had about 2 months before baby’s arrival. We had met up a few more times, after hours, when she asked if I had a baby shower yet. I told her no. I feel this was the timing where she seemed to scoop me up under her strong wing and began to walk along with me.
Before I knew it, she was planning the party event of baby! I was overwhelmed that someone that did not know me very well would do this. She gathered up my family and friends to throw me a beautiful event in her home. Her hostess skills continue to impress me! It was then our friendship truly began to blossom.
During summer vacations, our husbands would haul our RV trailers down to the ocean, set us up, then leave us and return home, until the following weekend. We would spend wonderful weeks, over time, together with our kids. We became “my other mom” to our sons.
This beautiful soul became a part of me. The way she handles life amazes me…with her grace, faith, humor and positivity. We have shared personal ups/downs with all the laughing and sometimes crying sessions (that’s probably mostly me!) There have been many fun girls’ adventures shared with her and her family. If I speak of something I am interested in…right away she is quick to encourage me with ideas of helpful ways to do it.
Many times, I am too shy or feared to try something new, she has a way of pushing me to go forward, softly brushing over my objections…usually, to my surprise, with positive outcomes! And yet, respectful in understanding me enough to accept my final “no.”
She validates my soul by letting me know my out worldly calmness and my own learned words of wisdom…balances her.
After our life shared over the 8 years…an opportunity took my family on the road for my husband to move into a management position. We moved to California for a year then to the East Coast.
My beautiful rock-solid friend was always there for me on a next, multi chapters, life journey that took me across country and later, to Scotland. She did not always understand what the hell I was thinking or doing…sometimes understandably so…but she believed in me anyway.
I had made the decision that my 24-year marriage was over. I was in an emotional mess inside, and it was not pretty when it came to some of my choices…to be able to do so. I did not know how to ask for help…so I think to others I appeared alright. I was not.
A year later, after ending my marriage, a man from Scotland became a part of my life. I will tell you, dating someone across the Atlantic Ocean is very difficult! Over 2 years, I had to come back home numerous times because I could only stay in Scotland for 3 months at a time. Then I would have to come back to the U.S for a length of time before I could return. I was always welcomed to stay with them. I never felt judged…even when I knew they didn’t quite grasp my ways and means of dealing with my life at the time.
I think that phase of my life, I truly came to understand the meaning of…you can choose your friends but not your family. These wonderful people had become chosen as part of my family. It felt it was mutual.
Seventeen years ago, I came back home to live in the Pacific Northwest to look after my grandparents with my husband from Scotland.
My Sagi. soul sister lives 10 miles away. Sometimes we go long stretches without talking. However, we are always connected. One phone call away. Up until covid hit, we worked together for some years at her daughter’s daycare. I loved working with them.
My blessing is our forever precious soul bond.
Sister Number 3
Last but by no means least…I have my New England soul sister.
Our family of four had just moved into a rental home in New Hampshire. Shortly after moving in, we were invited to a block party. “Oh,” I thought, “how nice of them.” After meeting us, then learning we were renting and coming from the West Coast, they were civil enough, however very cool in attitude. They did inform us, not ask mind you, that in the winter snow events, their kids would be sledding down our hill in the back yard!
My introduction to the neighborhood was an understanding that the people were very clicky and judgmental. The realtor, that had found the house for us, lived next door. She later validated my conclusion about the neighbors and said they were “old New England” and did not take easily to outsiders. Hm, clicky and judgmental right enough!
For the next year, they kept to themselves, and we did the same. However, their children did sled down our hill during snow events. Where I come from, that would have been a nice opportunity for social interaction, however, it never happened there.
When our year was up, we decided to buy a house and stop the traveling for the kids instead of moving on to Colorado. We found a great place just down the road a few miles. The flavor of that neighborhood, as we found out, was very much different from our experience up the hill!
The day we moved in, the local kids kept a close eye on our activities as they clustered just over there a bit on the sidewalk. Our 9-year-old daughter was engaged by the younger ones. The older girls asked her about the (16-year-old) tall, California tanned, long haired blonde brother and could they talk to him!
A couple of their parents, walking by on the sidewalk, briefly welcoming us to the neighborhood. Now, they seemed genuine, if not overtly curious, I thought. Later, we were even Welcome Wagoned with a nice basket. The next-door neighbor stopped by with a bottle of wine and a nice basket of fruit. Wow…what a difference a few miles make, huh.
A bit of time passed, as we settled into another chapter of life, when I met my new future soul sister. She lived 3 houses down and had invited us to her BBQ, which included neighbors as well as family. She is my Leo, a fire sign. By the end of the get together, I knew we were going to be friends.
Some time passed and we were still getting to know each other. She had been going through serious problems with her husband. After a very bad fight, late one evening, she came to our door for help. We opened it to her, and she spent the night. I think that was where our friendship really began to evolve.
I was with her when she went through her divorce. I celebrated with her when she purchased her very own mobile home and introduced me to her new young cat.
I appreciate pets from afar…but decided I would bond with hers…because it was hers! We came to an understanding. Don’t sit on me but next to me will do fine. Soon, when I came to visit, the cat would rub up against my ankle then jump up to sit right next to me. What we do for our friends, huh!
I met 2 of my Leo’s closest friends and they soon became mine. One of them was another Leo. The four of us had many wonderful adventures together. I felt very safe and comfortable with them.
The time finally came when after 24 years of marriage…I had to end it. The path I had been on for the last two years was chosen because I thought I could control it, because I thought that was the only way I could stay. I realized in the end; the marriage would still be over anyway. I finally finished breaking my nearly numb heart to break his…I painfully told him we were done.
Life was much more complicated, however, at this time, I will leave it at that!
I was still a stay-at-home mom, but it was time to find a job. When I told my Leo about this, I was offered the opportunity to take a job as hostess at the busy restaurant where my girls worked as waitresses.
I grabbed the opportunity and set out to prove to myself I could do it. Long story short, I worked hard and earned their respect in the process. They spoke for me to get the job…I did not let them down after accepting it. They were my working women hero’s and I won my place beside them.
Years later, my friend told me, to their surprise was, that I would even want to join them at all, let alone find I became their team player.
I think women, where there is abuse, keep secrets. There are different reasons for them to do so. I had mine. It was not healthy. I was trying to protect the family I loved. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had been unable to prepare for how to do it. That is why it became so messy and painful all around. I just knew it had to be over.
My Leo woman stood by me regardless of what she understood or not. (Yes, in writing this, I understand it’s a theme with me and my friends.) She has always been generous, loyal, a great listener, and honest. If she saw me about to make a mistake in the moment, she would quietly suggest choosing otherwise and set me right. I trusted her enough to correct myself immediately.
My friends deserve better from me, as I have come to realize, living in my own “safe” covid bubble for the last few years, that I need to reach out to them more often. Time passes and although I so do appreciate their patience with me…life is truly too short to assume they will always just be there.
My Aquarian woman, from afar, listens and watches. We share our fears of this super weird world evolving before our aging eyes. I chuckle, but it’s not funny.
My visit to stay with my son’s family this last summer, where I hook up with my New England Leo girl, saw me bravely unmasking in our adventures to appear “normal”. That part of the country is my second home. What has the world come to where one feels the struggle of “I feel the need to mask up but I freaking don’t want to.” I did know that part of the country fared much better to do with the pandemic than the rest of us…and checked up on the current statistics before I went!
Here at home recently, I feel some sort of achievement because I have agreed to meet my lovable Sagittarian woman for lunch at a restaurant just up the road. I arrived early to scope out a lone table in the corner. It’s been over 2 years since we have done this. It’s shortly after my birthday and she wants to treat me!
I don’t know how alien I have become in comparison to others out there. What I really want to convey is…I hope you never see you’ve arrived at a place where you have pushed aside the best friends in your life because life has become too confusing to process.
I had foreseen a very different summation of this article as I had begun it. My realization at this point is that my best friends I have ever known are waiting for me while I struggle to make sense of where I stand in trying to find my “new normal”.
True friendship is precious and priceless. It should never be taken for granted. To be a healthy relationship, it needs to be equal. Yes, sisterhood freaking rocks and I, for one am so grateful that I have mine!
Through my 20’s and 30’s, I remember meeting new friends and meeting their best friends. The way they related to one another seemed majickal and I would feel a tinge of envy… feeling some sort of inner desire to become a part of them. I always felt I was on the outside looking in and could not go in.
I realized well into my 40’s…I already had what they had! Today, I know why I could never just become inside with them. It’s a true bond that only evolves over years together!