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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Feminine Fuel

When I was in second grade, I met Kristen. I loved everything about her. She was a gymnast, and we would spend our days playing on the school field. She would do back handsprings, and I would skip along side her. We had our own special language; we liked the same sandwich, (peanut butter). She was my first girlfriend.  Up until this point, I had spent a lot of time in the dirt boys. Until one day, she just stopped. She became mean. I would try and talk to her, and she would ignore me.  I couldn't understand how she could turn so quickly.   I remember the feeling of my heart dropping to my stomach when she said she didn't want to be my friend anymore. She moved the next year. Thankfully within a year or so  I met a new best friend whom I am still very close.

What the experience with Kristen created in me is a fear of intimate relationships with women.  I didn't allow a lot of women in my life despite many trying.  I was fine with men. I get men.  Even being a woman, I don't get women, I don't even get myself half the time. In high school and college I picked up a few girlfriends that I remain close with, but more guy friends by far.

Then almost everyone my age got married.  I don't know many women who are okay with their husbands having friendships with other women.  It's confusing; I mean "why would she want to be friends with a married man?"  they ask themselves. Well, because I'm married too, and so the romantic portion of the relationship is spoken for. That doesn't work the same way when guys aren't married.  Needless to say, this hasn't helped my ability to maintain friendships with men or women for that matter.  It left me feeling lonely.

Other than Don, my closest male friendship is with my brother.  Men are a solid yet a soft place to fall into when you need to talk. Throw in a handful of close guy friends and that was my social circle. (I'm still recovering from all of that ESPN exposure.)

But about five years ago I felt like  a crucial substance in my life was missing.  I made an intention to foster more female friendships.  I joined a book club, I created a show that centered around women, I accepted invitations to dinner or drinks with women.  I went on a trip to Australia and met extraordinary women. I read books written by women, watched movies directed by women, went to symphonies conducted by women. I created space in my soul to allow women in.

And something amazing happened.

My feminine fuel was ignited.   Feminine fuel is a fire that women keep lit deep within themselves.  It's a light, that if you are open to it, will guide you when you are weak. Will warm you when you are cold.  Good female friendships will burn together, and the power of collective flames is something you can't extinguish.

There is an indomitable energy when a group of women gathers together.

As most of you know, my family had a tragic accident that rocked our world for the last six weeks.  Which you can read about here. I'm happy to say that things are healing, but there were a few moments where we felt helpless.  This is where the female fire begins to spread.

When another woman is suffering, there is an unvoiced hum that calls out for help, and we answer it.  It as if women weave together and create a tightly woven basket that can surround you and hold you tight, and carry you along as long as you need to be held.

And nothing is too heavy.

I could not have remained as strong as I have without my girlfriends.  What I have learned is that with any intimate friendship, you are a reflection of each other. The highlights and the shadows.  What you admire in the other person are probably thing things you like about yourself.  The faults you see in other's are usually things you can also see in yourself.  That is true with men and women. What I did at a very young age is put a wall between myself and other women to protect me from getting hurt.

I soon realized that there isn't a wall a woman can't climb or bust through to help a friend.
Men can be great listeners when you share things and they and will try their hardest to solve your problems and ease your pain.  But women, we have a way of hearing what is unspoken, and will sit still with you in your pain, and supporting you because deep down, they know you will be able to handle it yourself.