A Sisterhood That Embraces Me
Having a close circle of soul sisters who are there when you need a friend to hold you up, or shake you up, is pure gold!
I recently went through a relationship breakup that blindsided me. It ended quickly and sent me into heartbreak freefall. I felt this intense, all-consuming fear and spiraling anxiety as my dreams with ‘him’ fell away. But this time, I didn’t do it on my own.
On learning that I’d broken up with my partner, my steadfast girlfriends — in Victoria, NSW, and New Zealand — reached out and never let me go until I gave the all-clear I was going to be ok.
They’d call every day, sometimes twice a day, to check in.
Thanks to my sisterhood, I got back up within days.
It was the first time I had a sisterhood to embrace me, hold space for me, and care about me. And that’s saying something when you reach your sixties.
I moved a lot when I was in my twenties
First to Perth, Western Australia, to be housemother to thirteen young Aboriginal girls on a Catholic mission. It was on the other side of Australia, far from friends back home from my years in athletics and lacrosse. It was a crash course in going it alone.
When I eloped in California, my Matron of Honour was a woman I barely knew. Repatriating back to Australia meant leaving my Oceanside ‘family’. Over the decades that followed, I never managed to get back to the States.
I was married to a narcissistic man who socially isolated me
Married for almost four decades, hard to believe we never held dinner parties at home. We didn’t cultivate life-long friendships, not on the Homefront anyway. He even made our kids feel unwelcome if they dropped in unannounced, which they admitted to years later. He pitted our children against their mother. Even my siblings had a distorted view of who I was underneath all that suffering.
When it came time to muster up the courage to leave my marriage, I had no friends to reach out to in the aftermath of that devasting decision. I’d sit in my RAV4 or walk along an isolated beach weeping, sometimes weighing up how much more pain I could bear. It was a pivotal moment in my life — one I recognized and sort to correct.
I knew I needed girlfriends in my life
My three sisters stepped back into my life in answer to my prayers. We’d have girls’ weekends at my house, yabbering into the early hours of the morning, drinking lots of bubbly sitting on my deck under the stars. And then sharing a bed like we used to do as teenagers — 5 girls in one bedroom, top and tail!
I joined local MeetUp groups, and my life took off just like that.
I found myself partying with these incredible women who, like me, were making their way through life, not always with confidence, not always with grace. They were authentic and irreverent, and, in their company, I transformed into a new woman, and I liked her — very much!
These MeetUp gals back home keep in touch from time to time via Facebook.
Life had not given me many opportunities to be a loyal, steadfast friend to someone else. So when Melanie, aged 48, needed a ‘big sister’, I loved the hell out of her. So many tears — and white wines! Together I helped her — she helped me — move away from our repeated destructive behaviors and not settle for men who disrespected us.
I’ve yet to meet my girlfriend Karen in New Zealand. We connected in a Mastermind group two years ago and just gelled. There were crushing moments in our life when a dear friend was all we needed. We speak once a week and hold each other to the promises we make to ourselves as we amble through life.
Anne is five years older than me, and the instant we met, she felt like my big sister. We met when I housesat for her over a year ago. I can’t explain it, but we get each other. And she’s the woman who lives closest to me — 2 hours drive away. It’s in her direction I head when I need a loving hug.
More recently, I’m sharing a townhouse with a single woman, Sharon, ten years younger than me. We live within walking distance of the ocean. And we find living together a ‘Goldilocks’ mix of our personalities, lifestyles, and need for a sense of family.
That’s my ‘soul’ sisterhood.
If you don’t have one, maybe it’s time to find your tribe.
Just put yourself out there, be open to being ‘new’ in friendship circles, and let those who resonated with you, find their way to you.
Wishing you all lots of love and light on your journey.