We’re a funny breed aren’t we?
We’ve fought for rights and freedoms, and yet we turn on our own and attach viciously. The Daily Mail’s “sidebar of shame” is full of articles about the way women look, the bad dress choices and the slight speckle of cellulite on size zero thighs. I find it even more disturbing that many of these articles are written by women, about women.
In all honesty, I’ve often struggled in my relationships with women. The only woman I ever really trusted fully and completely was my Mum. Getting burned a few too many times made me wary of real deep connections with other women. I have always felt that we know exactly how to wound one another as women- we know our vulnerabilities too well. When I’ve needed counsel or advice, I’ve always gravitated to men for a listening ear or some counsel.
In the last five years, I’ve been really challenged and encouraged to let my guard down. To be vulnerable in my friendships, and to seek out women I can look up to. The challenge of being vulnerable and open with women has been difficult, it’s been uncomfortable at times and it’s felt a bit unnatural. My inherent self-preservation instinct automatically creates barriers. I’ve been hesitant to let my ‘darker side’ be shown.
And I’ve discovered something really special about women, and some extra special women. I’ve made some real, lasting and deep friendships which have shown me that we aren’t all bad as species! I made one of my closest friends through the realisation that we were both (and I quote) “a bit yellow and a bit from Essex”. Being bridesmaid at her wedding was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I’ve also found women leaders with whom I’ve been able to be open and honest, with conversations that span from the very stuff of life, putting the world and the Church to rights, to the creation of weird and wonderful new words(!)
Recently, I sang at a Women’s Prayer Breakfast at my church. Having never been to one before, I was a little apprehensive. What I found, though was a group of women who were desperate for connection. Open to hearing from God, hearing from one another and loving each other. It showed women at their best.
We need to show ourselves at our best. Show that we can be supportive and loving and godly without the sneering and loneliness and gossiping.
I can’t help thinking that we could really make a difference if we fought alongside one another, instead of against one another.