I originally planned to make this post centered around sexual assault. I have the post drafted, and maybe it will find it’s way into the world someday, but I decided none of my commentaries were revolutionary to the issue. It’s a problem too big and complicated to be tackled by the neighborhood blogger. It doesn’t mean I am not a prevention activist, it just means I’m still deciding how to contribute and speak to the solution.
Instead, I want to focus on a positive of the female experience. The major influences in my life. My go-to girls. The women that have shaped me.
I’ve been gifted in my life to be surrounded by truly astounding women. I want to focus in on the dynamics of a few different relationships that have developed throughout my life. The mother. The bestie. And the mentor.
For me, all those roles are filled by women. And while not everyone shares the same experience, like some people look for male role models for guidance where I look to a past camp counselor turned sorority sister, these relationships have helped to develop the fundamentals of my character. And there’s no other way to celebrate all they’ve given me than with the final installment of Female.
I once told my mom she was my best friend. She replied that was sad and I should look for some friends my age. From the very beginning, my mother has filled the support role, but she’s also filled the “please be realistic” role. Even as she cheered on the horribly composed songs of my pigtail days, she reminded me that not every celebrity story is as glamorous as Taylor Swift’s. She keeps me on target and ready to go.
She’s a hardworking woman that never stops bettering herself to better her team. That’s a trait I hope to develop as I join the real world at her side. She is my working woman role model day after day after day. Through our relationship, I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with others, finding words that add to a conversation and fix problems. And I’ve come to realize, this is not a skill all people have. She’s taught me to trade petty for potential and repair mistakes rather than defend them in anger. I’ve learned humility and hope and patience and priorities. Every time someone says I remind them of her, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to my goals. To my Mother, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
In my case, I have quite a few. My friendships have grown in numbers since my “I only have seven friends, and one of them is my cousin” days. For those who aren’t familiar, that was an insult written to me anonymously on social media. Little did the attacker know it was all too true to be mean. With each woman that joins my life, I learn a new thing. I think my immediate high school friend group taught me that girls grow stronger together. They’ve shown me what true investment in a relationship is. My college friends have listening ears like no other and have shown me that I can’t fix my friends, I can only support them as they work to fix themselves. And my sorority sisters continue to impress me with their abilities to inspire uniqueness while also creating unity.
All these relationships thrive off the fundamental pillars of effort and loyalty. I think there is something so special about the relationships that form between female friends. Obviously, those crying-over-Halo-Top-“I can’t live without you” bonds are life-changing, but I’m even talking about the surface connections we make every day. I really believe that effort in a relationship is only due where it is reciprocated, and I’m proud to say there are few situations in my life where I have to act on that belief. To my besties, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
I’ve been lucky to have quite a few badass ladies inspire me in my life. The influence of some lasting longer than others. But what I’ve come to learn from all these relationships, is that no matter how different their life paths, each of these women pose as guidance in a different way. I’ve always struggled with the idea of asking someone to be my mentor, but as I reflect on these people’s roles in my life, I see that they’ve always been fulfilling that purpose, whether they know it or not. And I am beginning to see the relationships as more symbiotic, because I can contribute to their support network, too.
Aside from professional development, my mentors are responsible for some of my biggest emotional developments, too. There is so much I owe to these open lines of communication, I’m honestly struggling to put it all into words. In the end, I think the biggest thing they’ve created in me in my independence. My comfort with being alone and how to proudly build confidence in it. Of course, I have down days, but turning to these women minimizes the effects and reminds me that happiness with myself is a gift I’m lucky to have.
When I dissect moments I share with my mentors, I hope to one day fill these shoes for someone else. Help another girl find herself in the mess of unfair expectations and the unnecessary isolation of growing up. I work to be that for my sister by sharing my experiences so she knows she can share with me, too. To my mentors, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
These relationships will not apply to the entirety of the female population, this post was meant to inspire you to be grateful for the female relationships that are present in your life. I’ve been blessed with so many, too many, not enough. And my collection keeps growing with every step I take and every hand I shake. Look around you and appreciate it! Whether it’s just a mother, just a friend, just a mentor, or all of the above and more.
Being a woman can be hard sometimes, but it’s never impossible. Now, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for this experience. I know that I face every day with an army of millions that will stand in stilettos just to support me.
I think this mini-series has served its purpose: to inspire me to be more mindful of my female experience. No profound call to action, no wish for a better tomorrow. Just me, loving what I got. Can I get a “girl power?”
Stuck in my head: Goodmorning // Bleachers
Snap it: Union Market (crying because the wall is already gone)