I’ve always been surrounded by women.
Some might say it was by default but, these women were so strategic, they parlayed it to be the design. They taught me everything I know and even conferred on me some things that I didn’t think I needed to know. They were my beginnings and I know that they will remain steadfast in the composition of my endings.
These women were my family; my mom, grandma, aunts, cousins.
Their influence, opinions, experiences, perspectives are part of my DNA. They have shaped me so much so that I cannot tell my story or fully convey who I am without calling their names.
When I laugh, I hear my Aunt Ruby in the sighs and soprano octaves of each chuckle.
When I smile, the gap in my teeth reminds me that I am Gale’s child.
When I have been wronged, I call out to my inner Mabel, my fearsome grandmother, asking her to please calm down, don’t show out.
When I play my favorite song, easy swaying my hips to well mixed beats, I see my Aunt Stella dancing free, lips splaying a wide, knowing grin, singing Mtume’s Juicy Fruit, hollering between ad-libs, “Ooooh girl, that’s my song!”
The mixture of all of these experiences contributes to my unique configuration. The presence of these women in my life gives me confidence, creates a sense of belonging and fuels me for whatever life brings. This is my sisterhood actualized through my family of origin. The good, the difficult, the bitter and the sweet; these women are my gift, chosen specifically for me by the creator.
Sisterhood can take on so many forms. But,the thing is, we all belong to the sisterhood. The women who cared for us and raised us ushered us into to it with their love. What we learned from the sisterhood of women in our family has taught us how to love the other women in our lives–whether it was because we were loved so well or left for lack of some element of love. In this way, we learn that sisterhood is not only defined by what our relationships with women have looked like. More, who are the women with whom we’ve had the privilege to share our lives and what that has meant for us and for them.
Gale. Mabel. Ruby. Stella. I call your names in salute to your existence in and impact on my life. These women are my tribe. They are my story. Who’s yours?
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