Why Women Need Other Women

I remember when I was in high school saying, “Girls are awful. I don’t need girlfriends anyways. Guys are so much better.”

I was tired of the emotional warfare that girls, especially adolescent girls, are so good at. This statement stemmed from a place of hurt, a place of not knowing how to work through the drama surrounding my female friendships, of being attracted to the apparent ease of intimacy with men.

In many ways, men are far easier to have friendships with. They don’t typically have a lot of expectations for emotional commitment, they {usually} just say what they mean, they are great at easy compliments, the kind that are awesome when you need a quick-fix confidence booster.

But men have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. They don’t battle the massive attack on body image, the constant criticisms of every role we fill {wife, mother, employee, etc.}, the oversexualization of our persons and paradoxical expectations of purity, the deep desire to be at once nurtured & protected, as well as nurturing & independent.

When my friend Melissa published a feature about the kids and I on her blog, I was completely caught off guard by the sweet things she said. My initial reaction was disbelief: Superwoman? Me? Yeah right.

But as I read & reread her post, something changed in my heart. I couldn’t help smiling, a swelling sense of being seen coming over me. Melissa is one of the most joyful souls I’ve ever met, you can tell she has so much love in her heart, and it’s infectious. I knew, even if I wanted to deny it, that she really saw in me the things she wrote about. In this little article I suddenly saw myself differently.

I realized, we need other women to tell us we are strong.

We need other women to tell us we are capable.

We need other women to tell us we are beautiful.

We need other women to tell us we are worthy.

We need other women to cheer us on.

We need other women to acknowledge the struggles of motherhood.

We need other women to pray for us.

We need other women to laugh with, to cry with.

We need other women to remind us who we are.

We need other women because we will always be looking at other women to see where we measure up, we need those authentic friends to come along side us and say “I see you. I see your beauty. I believe your truth. You are right where you need to be, let me walk with you. Let’s have a cup of coffee and focus on who we are today, not who we should be or could be.”

We need other women because there is a unique & special ability we have to understand the common hurts we all experience and the incredible gift of being able to empower each other with the things we admire in each other.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed by the love I’ve received, the vulnerability I’ve been able to share, & the empowering affirmations I’ve been given. As someone who spent years with absolutely no sense of self-worth, the healing that has started even in the midst of heartbreak has been God sent. The effort it takes to find women of authenticity is worth it. I’m thankful for each and every one of you who has come into my life & made it a better place.

xoxo, B

Thoughts Following the 2016 Presidential Election

Thoughts Following the 2016 Presidential Election - My Alabaster Heart

Dear, dear friends.

This isn’t it. This isn’t the end.

I see so many of you hurting and scared, and I know I will never be able to fully understand how you’re feeling because I am a white, middle class, heterosexual, married citizen. But I will listen. I will hear you and I will stand with you. Your hurt is my hurt because I love you.
I am disgusted by the lack of empathy from people calling you out for your fears. After all, we’ve never had to question our right to marriage. We’ve never had to fear retaliation for representing our religion. We’ve never had to stand by as people who historically have killed and violated minorities hold public gatherings. I can’t fathom what that’s like, even though I’m trying. But your fear is my fear because I love you.

I hear you calling out Trump supporters. I hear you denying him as your president. I hear you asking why you didn’t matter to those who voted for him as one of the lesser evils.

Thoughts Following the 2016 Presidential Election - My Alabaster Heart

I have stayed mostly quiet on the election over the last couple of months. It’s no secret that I passionately supported Bernie Sanders, and I think he would have made a great president. I am not a democrat, I am not a republican, I fall somewhere along the lines of a conservative libertarian. After Bernie lost the primaries, I struggled to decide how to cast my vote. I do not agree with a lot of policies and practices from both parties. I read and read and read and researched and I battled my conscience over whether to even vote at all. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I cast my ballot and I won’t say who was on it, but I can tell you that I cried over it. Because I knew, no matter who won, the outcome would be horrendous.

The thing is: it’s not Trump. He’s not the problem and he never was. He’s a convenient straw man, a statue erected to represent the most common ideals of an underlying ideology.

Hillary was only a band-aid. If she had won, we would have seen another 4-8 years of a democratic façade — she was a diplomat, I’ll give her that, and she did work with Bernie to make some of her platforms much more palatable. But she is still corrupt. She wouldn’t have fixed a broken system, she would only have kept us in a false sense of security until the next election.

The votes for Trump came from people with all kinds of reasons. They came from people who voted for a republican platform. They came from people with strong capitalist ideals. They came from people who believed that he will trigger change. They came from people who didn’t want a career politician. And yes, in some cases, they came from people who were afraid.

As hard as it has been for me to digest this outcome (despite my certainty that Hillary would win, I would have struggled there too) I am realizing that none of this was ever about a Trump presidency. Whether or not he became president, the fears and hatred that has been such a common theme in his campaign and seen in many of his supporters, would have still been present in those people. The thing is, Trump didn’t create monsters. He revealed them.

This is NOT to say that anyone who voted for Trump is a monster, I don’t believe that, and no one will convince me otherwise. But we have to acknowledge, on every side of the political spectrum, that this is a fact. As a radical, Trump encouraged the vocality of other radicals, but it’s important that we realize that these radicals were always there. The neo-nazis, the KKK, the racist neighbors, the sexist bosses, they were never gone, they were simply quieter.

While it is painful to see the words being said, these are not new words. These are not new thoughts. We are not fighting against new ideas. Hate has always, and will always, exist.

Thoughts Following the 2016 Presidential Election - My Alabaster Heart

The question of course is, what do we do?

We keep fighting. I have seen you, my brave friends, take your stand. I have seen your warnings against those who would infringe on your rights. This is what we do. I am not going to sit back and accept the racist, sexist, and homophobic conversations happening around me. I will continue to speak out on my beliefs and I will continue to stand with marginalized people.
What I can’t do, is hate the people who exercised their right to vote according to their own beliefs and fears, because I cannot ask of others what I am not willing to do myself. I have already been the target of hateful words because of my skin color and my faith thanks to repercussions from this election, and while it isn’t the first or last time that will happen, it was somehow worse this time: perhaps because I expected to see sadness and anger, but not so much hate.

I do not battle against other people. I battle against ignorance, against fear, against immaturity, against oppression, against hate, and against the ideas and practices that encourage all of the above.
It will take time. It will take effort. It will take energy.

But this isn’t the end, your fight is my fight because I love you.

xoxo, B