Hissy Fit - June 2018

Womanhood; No Woman is an Island


By the time a little girl reaches age two, the process and ritual of making friends is well underway. Even in its most infantile state, socialization among others is of utmost importance in our development as human beings. When you’re that little it doesn’t matter who you play with, girls or boys, it’s all just fun.

But by the ripe old age of four-or-five-years-old, we begin gravitating to our same gender for friendship. It’s because we inevitability have more in common, and usually don’t get ridiculed for doing “girl things” by other girls (at least at that age).

As our childhood progresses, so do our friendships. By the time a girl reaches fourth or fifth grade, she has more than likely developed at least one girlfriend who will remain true through high school or even college. By middle school, she probably has a very best friend. You know, someone to pass notes to in the hall when changing classes, sit next to on the school bus everyday, instant message every time any little thing arises and talk with on the phone for what parents deem to be endless hours every single day.

By high school, girls usually have a solid circle of friends. They are the chosen few that share every deep dark secret with each other and every moment of joy. They are the ones you ride around with in the car singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. They are also the ones who are there for comfort when boy, parent, sibling, etc. troubles creep in. This select circle may be so close they create an alternative language that only they can understand.  They know each other so deeply that sometimes just a glance between them can say it all.

For girls, friendship is the glue of childhood. It’s what makes memories of growing up stick with you for the rest of your life.

Then there is womanhood.

With womanhood comes boyfriends, marriage, children…you know the drill. What is absolutely amazing is that when a woman meets a man and decides she’s in love, she suddenly does not need her girlfriends any more. Yes, there is some bitterness at first, but friends understand that when “the boy of the month” is out of the picture, they will be important once again. Except that ritual grows old, friends begin to feel used, and the circle begins to drift. Gradually, the reasons why the four of you ever sat on the dock, pricked your fingers and became blood sisters
begin to fade.

Not to worry though, you have a shiny, new diamond ring and all of you will be together again as you call them one by one to be your bridesmaids at your upcoming wedding. Everyone is thrilled and comes together for the beautiful celebration, and as you ride off with your new husband, the thoughts of your friends are left in the dust.

Next comes baby and you can’t believe it’s already been 18 months since you last attempted to contact your friends, but surely they will all be ecstatic about your news, and excited to gather again at a baby shower for their longtime friend.

Before you know it, your children are four and two-years-old and as you look in the mirror and wonder who is looking back, you realize you no longer have any girlfriends. Your mother has become your go-to-girl.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but unfortunately many women find themselves asking their three-year-old if the pair of jeans they are wearing make them look fat.

It’s not that your mother, husband or child (once grown) can’t make very good friends. But these are people you also have other obligations to…daughter, wife and mother. Women need friends that are just that—only that—a friend. We have become an isolated society of women. No wonder 50 percent of us are depressed. We have taken away the very thing that made us whole as children, the very thing that we conditioned ourselves to be the center of our lives. We have stripped ourselves into thinking if we are not home at dinner time, someone’s going to starve; if we don’t work through lunch, then we’re not a dedicated employee; or if we go away for the weekend, we are scarring our kids for life. We have made ourselves so important (in our own minds) in the day-to-day lives of everyone else at the total expense of every girlfriend we ever had. I love the way Toni Morrison, a great, modern-day author, describes the importance of girlfriends. She wrote: “She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

So go now and call a girlfriend....and be a good friend to her. You will not regret it.