Mama, for the most part, has always been right about just about everything. Don’t dare tell her that, or I will never hear the end of it.
There’s just been a few things that she has been inherently wrong about and she and I will never agree on. One of the main things is Mama just never got the power of sisterhood.
Sure, she had a few really good friends I remember growing up, a few of them from her childhood, where she had grown up with them and to me, they were aunt Connie and aunt Cherry.
A few were from work, the friends she commiserated with, walked picket lines with and shared company dinners with for 30 years.
But she never really ‘got’ the power of that sisterhood.
“Be careful of other women, Kitten,” she would warn. “It can be hard to trust and be friends with women.”
I wonder if something happened to Mama, if someone she had considered a trusted friend had somehow betrayed her when she was younger, because my earliest memories were of her warnings of this.
This cautionary statement jaded me somewhat during my adolescence, making me wonder if this was true. I remember once another girlfriend stirring trouble between myself and another good friend, abruptly ending the friendship over lies and twisted tales.
“See, Kitten,” Mama said. “It’s hard to be friends with other females. You just can’t trust them.”
I didn’t think it had a thing to do with our gender. I think it had more to do with the guilty party was a deceitful little pot stirrer who thrived on drama.
Despite Mama’s warnings, I maintained some really strong friendships with other females throughout my life. Sure, there had been those few who had turned out to not be the quality of friends I had thought – again, not gender related but because of the individual.
Any time I recounted a spat or issue between myself and someone I thought was a friend, Mama would make that “mmmm hmmm” noise she makes, no doubt pressing her lips together as she sucked in a sharp intake of air, trying her darnedest to not say “I told you so – you can’t trust other women.”
For the record, I have had just as many guy friends who ended up being backstabbing, two-faced users. We just don’t typically call them the same thing we do women who possess those traits. There was no comment from Mama’s peanut gallery regarding the fact I couldn’t trust male friends. I can think of a few in particular who turned out to be more untrustworthy than any of the female friends.
But Mama held fast to her argument. She listed off the female friends I had trusted, I had held dear that had revealed themselves to not be.
Ironically, one female who I found to be a big betrayer was one that had reminded me of Mama the most.
If anything, it was not a matter of a chromosome, it was a matter of personal integrity.
I countered with the lengthy list of soul-sisters who had been by my side through thick and thin and how like little glimmers of grace, these women had helped me through some dark times. They had picked me up, dusted me off and made me find hope in eternal nights. It was the sisters who had brought cheesecake or wine when needed – and cheesecake and wine are always needed – the sisters who listen to the whines, and then told me no matter what I did, they had my back and more importantly, they believed in me, because I had always believed in them.
There was this indescribable, intangible, magical connection between these bonds, these soul-sisters and I, many of them spanning over decades, some transcending from my earliest memories.
Instead of seeing each other as a female enemy or someone we were in competition with over a man or a job, we lifted each other up, helped one another and conspired to help each other. We bonded over shoes and bags. We realized we were stronger together, looking out for each other, and finding that sisterhood link we all share – that we should share.
Moments of solidarity, the knowledge that our bond being strengthened and preserved was providing a foundation for a blueprint for sisterhood in the future.
Mama still didn’t get it. She still warns me of the times I have been hurt, but I believe the power of sisterhood and how incredible it can be, worth the chance of being burned.
But maybe that was something Mama never got to experience. And for that, I am truly sad.