Women Will Always Need Their Tribe To Survive
When I was younger I said things like "I don't get along with females."
Ew. I know, right?
Like many others, I had preconceived notions about most women and believed what society wanted me to believe. Women are catty. Women are competitive. Women don't get along.
The truth is I was buying into an age-old narrative that has actually done more harm to women's relationships with other women than we've been aware of. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would say, "We raise girls to see each other as competitors: not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men."
The idea that I don't get along with or need women in my circle has been proven false so many times in my personal life.
When I have questions about what to do in my personal life there's a text message inbox full of women who always seem to know what to say. When I'm preparing for job interviews and big life events they're the first people I turn to. So many of us are consistently surrounded by a tribe of women both large and small that are invested in pouring into our lives and open to having us pour what we can into theirs.
A tribe is loosely defined as "families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect." Whether you're a social butterfly with a large group of women at your side or someone who depends heavily on the one or two women you speak to every day - you have a tribe.
It's the women who speak your dialect; the ones who understand what it means to have your body betray you every 28 days. The ones you can communicate with nonverbally in a grocery store when a man says some wild shit to your face. The ones who know what it's like to have society screaming "BE SKINNY. LOOK PRETTY. GET MARRIED. HAVE BABIES. SHUT THE F-"...you know what I mean.
Your tribe is the force that claps for you and supports you along the journey both silently and out loud. It consists of women from all walks of life, whether they are your family by blood or not and no matter how much you try to convince yourself that you're better off without the support of women: you will ALWAYS need your tribe. You will always need to be able to look at another woman and see her power - you will need to use her as a mirror to see your OWN.
It's time for us to start dedicating the time and effort that we've poured into relationships and pouring some of that into our relationships with other women as well. It's time for us to begin thinking twice at how easy it feels for us to criticize other women, shame them, and silence them. When things get hard our tribe is there, silently (or loudly) reminding us we're worth it and keeping our chins up. They're the women who teach us more about ourselves than anyone else in the world can.
We will always need them.