A few weeks ago I got the chance to spend a weekend with 70 amazing women, with the beauty of Sonoma as our backdrop. Three and a half days of like-minded women who want to actualize a life of their desires and make a difference in the world while doing it.
A key thread woven into every part of the weekend was Sisterhood. It makes sense we were all women we should be supportive of one another, yet for most of us, it’s a concept and a container that is really hard to relax into.
At the beginning of the weekend, I was nervous, I went not knowing anyone, I was actually friends with most of them on Facebook, but we all know how that is, I had never had a conversation with any of them aside from a like or a share, so this was a huge thing for me.
At the opening cocktail party, I managed to find my way, make small talk, connect and zero in on a few women to be my go to people for the weekend so I at least had someone to eat lunch with; I began to get a little comfortable.
So comfortable, that in one of the workshops the next morning, I was able to speak my truth and my greater “Why” for the world.
“I want to be a voice and advocate for women to break down our internalized sexism and if that wasn’t enough as it is, start the conversation about dismantling white privilege.”
Yes, most of you know me as a fertility expert, and an acupuncturist, which I love and are a component of the bigger topic (more the women piece), but this is where my passions truly lie. It’s in these conversations that my fire burns and I can feel my soul speak. I could talk about oppressions and their counterparts all day.
I’m pretty much vibrating right now as I write this, part of me excited to proclaim it and have you really see me….and the other scared shitless, that you will quickly unsubscribe right here and now as a result.
The exact same emotions arose in the moment, standing in front of all of the amazingly smart women at the retreat. On one hand I was proud of myself, I finally gave a voice to a part of me that I was hiding and then on the other hand, I was absolutely terrified.
As we broke for lunch, my brain went into immediate overwhelm and isolation. Thoughts like great now no one will like me, they don’t get it, they don’t get me, who am I to talk about these issues, good job Ashley, now you’re the retreat nut job. The inner commentary was relentless and it took me until the evening of the second day to get out of it.
I was stubborn about getting out of it, I didn’t want to share anymore, I started getting home sick and wanting to see Little E.
It took some major prodding by some beautifully empathetic and intelligent sisters to have me talk and cry it out. When I looked up from my tears, they were still there, they still wanted to sit with me and hear what I had to say….
I was back! I got to relax back into the safe space that had been cultivated as well as partake in the most epic dance party EVER!
Why is it so hard for us to show ourselves around other women?
Well, there are actually a lot of reasons, so if even the thought of sisterhood and the support of women are making you queasy, you are not alone.
I first want to explain my idea of sisterhood. If you know me, you will know that I’m not an ooey-gooey, airy-fairy type of person. I have my moments, but when I’m speaking about sisterhood I’m not talking lovey-dovey, lets braid each other’s hair, (totally fine if you are, and if that’s your sort of thing, I have no judgement) for the purpose of this and my interpretation, sisterhood is the support and grounded meeting of women and their intelligence to assist in moving ourselves individually and collectively forward.
Now, back to why this is so hard and scary for most of us.
The umbrella that most of the reasons fall under is because of the Sexism that we have internalized
So…. what does that mean exactly?
A very simplified definition, Internalized Sexism is the places in ourselves as women where we have taken on and believe the oppression that affects us and how we as women enact these beliefs onto one another to keep the oppression going.
In the equation of Conquer and divide – we participate in keeping the division so that we remain conquered.
That’s not discrediting that being a women in 2014 is way better than it has ever been in history, but we still have many areas that need lots of attention and liberation for us to truly be free.
For many of us, this means that women, even the ones closest to us haven’t always provided the safest place for us to express and show ourselves. To stretch and grow around them is unthinkable, so instead we isolate to protect ourselves
From a very young age we are taught to compete against each other, for men, jobs, money, who is thinner, who is a better mother, who has a better home, whose life is more perfect, and that’s just the tip of the ice burg.
And then we gossip, so we keep the patterns of isolation and division going. This isn’t pointing fingers at any of us, The greater society relies and stokes the fire to keep this phenomenon going; I am completely guilty of this, though I’m really working to be conscious of when I participate in this type of behaviour, so that I can put a stop to it immediately.
Because, I would much rather participate in the building up of women and young girl’s self-esteem and brilliance than perpetuate the cycles that keep us apart.
Are you with me? Let’s dismantle myths and patterns of destruction to the feminine and our fellow sisters together. Tweet It
The Container of Sisterhood can be safe once again.
In the comments below, I want to hear from you, is the idea of sisterhood scary and what’s one thing you can do to make it a safer container to drop into for support?
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