Note: This is NOT a post to bash guys. I love guys. Yesterday was my 40th wedding anniversary to a guy. I have brothers, a son, and a son-in-law. I even have guy friends. This post is not for, or about, them. 🙂
Many years ago, one of my daughters asked me, “Mom, how do you know that?”
This is a question with a lot of answers, depending on the knowledge being questioned and context, but at the time—and still—my answer was, “I learned from other women.”
Because she was little, I didn’t expand on my answer. But I remember thinking about the simple profoundness of the question and the answer. Last week I saw some “women power” memes traveling around Facebook and it got me thinking about it again.
Everything I learned about being A women, I learned FROM other women. My grandmothers, my mother, my sister, my sisters-in-law, aunts, daughters, daughter-in-law, dear friends, and online colleagues—they are all my “Yoda.” (Yes, I’ve been watching Star Wars.) I can’t claim to be a “Jedi” woman, though I’m old enough and probably should be.
Years ago, I read a book that talked about the secret lives (and histories) of women. Through the ages, women have developed inter-connecting webs of support—communities within communities. Women have, and still do, share resources and information, and rally in support when one in a community is in need.
There is a story from my church’s history. During a meeting it was announced that members of a handcart company were in dire straits, caught in a blizzard in the high mountains of Wyoming. As soon as they hear, the women stood and stripped off their wool petticoats and tossed them into a pile to be taken to those in need. They followed this up with much, much more, but they wanted to do something right then. They couldn’t just sit there. It was a gesture that was both practical and symbolic.
Throughout my life, I’ve received support that was practical and symbolic (when that was all they could do) from some seriously amazing women. I’ve learned how to apply make-up, sew, parent, be a decent human being, how to cope with stress/depression, how to cook—well, the list is endless.
My sister and I have a code phrase we use when we need some bolstering. All we have to say is, “I’m on the roof,” and we know that it’s time to stand up and strip off the petticoats (symbolically – in real life, we sit down and shut off distractions).
In the wider world of my business (as an author), I am constantly in awe of the generous exchange of information that I see. (Again, not shutting the guys out. I just see more of it from women, possibly because of the genres that I write in.) When I began to explore self publishing my novels, a couple of years ago, all I had to do was ask and wow, I got buried in information. The bulk of what I know about publishing has been learned from other women.
Every woman-to-woman interaction has not been surrounded in a golden glow. I’m not stupid. Women can be awful to each other at times, though it always baffles me why. From some, I’ve learned what not to do. And I’m far from perfect. (See lack of Jedi progress from above.) But this is a post to thank those women who have laughed with me, cried with me, reached out to me—who have enriched my life and helped me be a better and wiser person (I hope). You all still teach and inspire me.
Do you have awesome female friends? I hope you’ll give them a shout out in the comments (you don’t have to name names!). You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.
P.S. I love writing characters with awesome girl friends, but I have to say that Sarah puts it on the line for Nell in: