‘A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life’ – Isadora James
I’m writing this because I want catharsis.
Not just want it, but need it.
There’ll be some deeply personal things explored in this blog as it’s a way for me to vent my feelings and see how life transforms before my eyes. It’s my journal of sorts, a means to document all the life-changing experiences I want to explore and achieve. Hopefully, it’ll help to break me from this cocoon that I feel encased in, emerging in the full technicolour glory of a free-flying, independent butterfly who has no fear of new heights. I’ll be talking about the importance of female friendships, how living without them for a long time has affected me, and why I’m seeking out creative women to hopefully build a close community.
So, here it goes.
Yin and yang.
There are two sides of things that come together to create a perfect balance. So far, I’ve had one of these overtake the other so that it was almost imperceptible. What I mean is that most of my friends are guys. So when it came to feelings, beauty tips, and other feminine things I was at a loss. I felt that I was missing out on so many parts of myself, but never really knew how to put myself out there and talk to other women.
As a result I don’t have many female friends. Well, ones that tick the boxes I need in friendships. They’re more like acquaintances that I see every now and again, always at pubs and clubs as well as the rare flat visit, and our conversations never really meet that honest and authentic stage; where words are genuine and real. Trust me, I’ve tried. Any time I’ve attempted to open up about my past trauma or any feelings in general I’m always hit with the same phrases – ‘Oh, that’s such a shame’, ‘I’m sorry to hear that’, or ‘If you need anything then let me know’ but it stops at that. Sometimes I need something deeper than these reassurances. Kind words. A hug. Terrible films. Anything at all.
All of my friendships lack that intimacy, that silly closeness that so many girls seem to have; the inside jokes, the pop-up visits, the thoughtfulness of fluffy pictures and memes that bring so much laughter and joy. This is my fault as much as it is anyone else’s. I feel like I’m in some sort of business arrangement, a hanger-on that helps other people look popular and interesting, but leaves me drained and hopeless. I’ve tried taking off the mask and it doesn’t work. So, I’ve replaced it with a cracked one hoping that someone will notice what lies beneath it and still love me for who I am inside.
One of my clearest memories of rejection was at high school when one of the girls I tried to be friends with invited me to a sleepover. Two of the other girls turned on her asking why she invited me and she said, suddenly on the spot, because ‘she had to’. I was standing right there. I watched their exchange with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Reality started to fade, things became blurry as the words just became harsher and more demeaning, and thus the thought of ‘I’ll never be good enough’ planted itself deep in my brain. It lodged itself there and bloomed its dark blossoms, growing deeper until it became all-encompassing, and I locked myself away from everyone. This carried on throughout high school and I never really had friends. I was the loner who would walk around the playground attempting to speak to people, a different person every day, most of whom were guys because I felt that they were easier to talk to and everything seemed to be on the surface. Nothing appeared to be hidden. I’m 30 now and know that’s not true, that everyone is capable of causing hurt, but back then all I knew is that when it came to girls, my trust was nowhere to be found. They crushed me.
It all got worse because I was going through puberty. I had so many thoughts and feelings pinging around my head, so many changes, as I ran blindly through this hormonal jungle. It’s probably around age 14 that I realised I liked not just guys but girls too. This confused the hell out of me and I was so worried that my feelings for girls would escalate into something more than just attraction, that consciously or not I now had another reason to avoid them. I didn’t want people to know that I felt like that.
Kids, especially teenagers, weren’t exactly very accepting or understanding about issues like this back then, so I isolated myself to the point where my loneliness made me think a lot about self-harm. There were many times where I placed the edges of a sharp pair of scissors at the top of my thigh or high up on my arms, hoping desperately for a release. I would’ve bled myself dry if it made the emotional pain go away, but the most I ever managed was the lightest of scratches. The reason I stopped is because I was scared that I’d seriously hurt myself and this would be yet another reason for people to judge me.
It took a long time, years of anguish and self-reflection, but finally I’ve come to a conclusion about those dark things I used to think: it was all fucking bullshit.
Perhaps, the worst self-harm I could’ve done was cutting myself off from an entire gender, and the possible friendships I could have made but chose to ignore. After a long time, I realised that by creating ludicrous justifications in my head for why other women were untrustworthy and unfriendly, I wasn’t just doing them an injustice but myself too. How could I, as a woman, see myself as being anything other than enveloped in the same, dim light I’d so wrongly cast on others?
I realise now that it’s important to recognise the past but not be anchored by it. Times have changed and I have changed too. Deep down I’ve always felt that it’s important to have inspiring women in my life because, especially in today’s climate, we need to stick together and be loud and proud of who we are. There are so many worrying issues concerning women’s rights out there that something stirs deep inside me that just wants to make me scream. It’s anger and it’s frustration and it’s inequality. If, when, I do scream I don’t want to be the only voice but one of many, women joining other women, coming together to make a difference in the world. What I need is a sisterhood, something timeless and pure, to share our stories and talk about what matters.
I’ve started to heal, but while I’m still wary of being hurt, I want to push past these worries and immerse myself in newfound friendships, strengthened by trust and the promise of new experiences. Things that I’ve never known but will happily throw myself into with a full heart and open mind. Being hurt is just a part of that and one I’m now willing to accept.
I’ve reached into the deepest caverns of my soul and cast all of my trauma out there for the world to see, but what I really want now is to find other women that I can talk to, share stories with, and indulge in creative pursuits. I’m seeking a sisterhood, a coven, who’ll accept me for who I am and make me feel like I’m a part of something that’s genuine and real. Sometimes I feel desperate because, well, I’m 30 now. The clock is ticking onwards as life tries to cement me into the boring adult routine of 9-5 jobs, takeaways, and Netflix binges. I’m looking for raucous laughter, secrets whispered and sworn, hugs and tears, memories made that’ll bring so much joy when remembered on long winter nights. I’m scared I’ll never have this and I want it so badly. I’ll even settle for friends scattered across the world at far-flung distances, other beautiful creatives, anyone who’ll talk to me like a real person.
Friendship is like a garden. You need to work hard, and plant seeds, for flowers to take root and bloom. Maybe in the past I was too entangled in the weeds to see the opportunities that could grow but now I’m not afraid to endure the nettles if it means something beautiful can blossom in their place.
Please, if you’re out there. Let’s be friends?