What every woman needs is a “sister circle”

As I was driving away from a dinner spent with my sistahs (as I like to call them) filled with  sushi, short beef ribs, and lots of laughter, a song by Whitney Houston popped in my head:

“Count on me through thick and thin
A friendship that will never end
When you are weak, I will be strong
Helping you to carry on
Call on me, I will be there
Don’t be afraid
Please believe me when I say
Count on….”

If you are not familiar, this song is “Count on Me” and it was on the soundtrack of the movie Waiting to Exhale. The movie and the song are about friendship and how your friends are there for you through thick and thin.  The song made me send up a prayer of gratitude to God for bringing such wonderful women into my life.

The time I have spent in New Haven, both for my PhD and now as an employee of the same institution hasn’t always been an easy one. While I was in school, I had to deal with racism and sexism as well as heartbreak from failed love and friend relationships. Some of my family relationships became strained for various reasons and my college friendships were stretched and tested due to my distance. There were many times when I thought about dropping out of graduate school because it became so overwhelming and at one point, it I almost did. But luckily, I had the sense to reach out to K who then staged an intervention. It was quite funny now that I look back at it–she picked me up from school and took me to dinner with a group of women that quickly laid some sense into me as well as gave me a lot of love and support.

Slowly, soon after that, I was brought into K’s sister circle and they helped me through a breakup I went through as I was about to write my dissertation as well as just tell me about myself when I needed calling out. When I moved back to New Haven for a job, they brought me back into the circle and have supported me ever since.

There is nothing like having a group of older women as friends. My sister circle ranges in ages (don’t worry, I won’t put your actual ages down…lol) and they have a wealth of experience for me to pull from. After all, they have been through the things that I am now going through. When I am with them, I fell like I am surrounded by two older sisters (V and D) and two mothers (M and K). I always soak up the warmth, love and acceptance that exudes from each and every one of them.  Most importantly, they accept me for me and don’t try to change me. And honestly, that is what I love the most about them.

And as I wrap up this sentimental post, I want to just let them know that I am so grateful that God brought them into my life. And women, if you don’t have a group of female friends of all ages, I highly recommend you start opening yourself up to the idea and even start forming your own network of support. I only hope that as I get older and even now, that I have helped a younger woman in some way. And I am looking forward to branching out and starting my own sister circle when I move to Baltimore.

My sister circle and I:

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6 Responses to What every woman needs is a “sister circle”

  1. kathylashley says:

    I want that! How great and beautiful it is to have a strong group of women that you can count on.

    • brandnewphd says:

      Kathy, I definitely believe that you will find one! Even if you have to create it yourself:)

      • kathylashley says:

        I’ve never had a strong group of women in my life and really never learned how to do that but I’ve come to realize that I can trust other women, I just need to choose wisely. Thanks for your post. It gives me hope.

      • brandnewphd says:

        Believe me, I understand the trust thing. It is hard to open yourself up to the possibility of hurt. But I still truly believe that you will find a group of people that will allow you to be you and accept you- flaws and all.

  2. Lindsey says:

    You hit on a key topic that has a range of experiences with. As kathylashley mentioned, some of us women just don’t feel they can trust others this way. For those of us who do have such a blessing, we may call it a circle of friends, others call it fellowship– but we know the power of what it can do. It is the power of life experience multiplied and shared. Some things you just can’t learn in the classroom, or even through your own experience! Some things would be better learned through other’s experience (so you don’t have to go through the same thing!). It’s a blessing to have a group of women with whom you can be genuine and learn from.

  3. brandnewphd says:

    Lindsey, thanks so much for your reply and you are so right. Fellowshipping with women definitely provides an education you can’t find in the classroom. I only hope that more women will find that group of women that will allow themselves to be open.

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