On Sunday I celebrated Galentine’s (a day early). I invited some friends over for appetizers, drinks, and conversation. But more than some blood orange flavored drinks (they were so good), I wanted to acknowledge and recognize how amazing each woman was (and trust me, they really are amazing).
Growing up, I have been pushed out of the group by women. I have been misunderstood. I have been condescended upon. Being friends with women was really hard for me for many years. And I think that experience is echoed in the lives of many women. We can be so mean to each other.
I have also been loved and cared for by women. I have friends who have championed me in all my endeavors. Some of my dearest friends have made the time and effort to really see who I am. I have laughed and cried with these women. I have women friends who moved me out of my housing while I was on an extended retreat, just so that I didn’t have to return to that toxic environment. The women I am privileged to know continue to be one of God’s dearest gifts in my life.
There came a point when I decided that the pain of female friendships was worth it. There was a time when I stopped seeing women as competition, and began to see them as allies. And I also became aware of how much we are maligned and blamed for issues that are not our fault.
I have seen women be objectified. I know women who bear the scars (physically and emotionally) of abuse. I have seen women overlooked, time and again, because of their gender. I have seen women called “slut”, “baby”, and “skank” – and sadly, much worse.
And yet, we persist.
When I hit adversity, my temptation is to give up and hide. I am inspired by the women in my life who when met with adversity, continue to move forward, as best they can. Who fight for what they believe to be right. The women I know are strong and fierce and tender and compassionate. And funny, so very funny.
A few years ago I read the book “The Red Tent”, which retells the story of Jacob’s family from the perspective of the women in his life. There is a poignant scene where one of the women is giving birth and the rest of the women in the community literally hold her up during labor. I think that is such a lovely picture of what female relationships could look like.
Knowing that I cannot change all the ways that our society may underestimate us, or the ways that we can distrust each other, for my part, I want to celebrate and recognize women today.
So, here’s to the women:
Who suffer silently
Who dream and create
Who fight for the weak
Who sacrifice on behalf of those they love
Who say no to the status quo
Who say yes to what God puts in their path
Who sing with abandon
Who don’t remain silent
Who celebrate with abandon
Who cry with those who cry
Who ponder the great mysteries of life
Who try something new
Who chose to continue living, even when it feels impossible to keep going
Who are hilarious without even trying
Who make new discoveries each day
Who cannot be encapsulated with generalities
Who decide to be themselves, rather than play another role
Who love, love, love