I remember the year my family moved and I had to change schools for the first time. I was turning seven years old, with frizzy braids and a Pocahontas backpack. I was a sensitive and shy kid, so I remember being nervous about having to make new friends. I grew up in a family with a brother and mostly boy cousins. Playing with boys was straightforward and easy, but I would often prefer to just play alone. This translated to the playground. I made one friend at school, a troubled little girl who turned out to be my first run in with a bully. She did a really good job about making me feel bad about myself. I also remember being intimidated by the little blond girls, who all played together but didn’t invite me to join. I felt different...I hadn’t found my sisters yet, and I definitely hadn’t found myself.
I had my first sisterhood experience a couple years later. I started gravitating to three other girls, who had also began puberty “earlier” than our peers. We were the kind of girls who marched to the beat of our own drum. In some way, we needed to. At 11 years old I looked way older than my age, and I felt extremely uncomfortable in my own body. These girls helped me to embrace myself; they made me feel less isolated. Each of our families had originated from different places, but we had somehow landed on a common ground. Coming from a mixed race family, I think that I naturally found comfort in the diversity. It reminds me to dig deeper than appearances. Not only was I learning about friendship, I was learning about different cultures. The four of us were inseparable in elementary school. We may have not fully understood each other at that time, but we helped each other to understand ourselves.I learned about loyalty through these girls. People used to tell us we grew up too fast; thank God we grew up together.
And as I got older I started to extend my circle of sisterhood. The more I grow, the more value I find in these connections. From being young and reckless, to trying to find peace of mind in the real world. From feeling very lost at times, I’ve been lucky enough to have young women around me whom I could relate to. Not just my best friends, but also other women I’ve met along the way who have had an impact on my soul. This is the girl gang mentality. It is not about being exclusive, or too cool. It is about a collective feminine experience. An experience of non-judgement and empowerment. To have a secret you share for the first time in years and feel a weight lifted. To date the wrong guy, and have a shoulder to cry on (even when she knew from time that he was no good for you).
There’s something to be said for the intuition women can feel if we tune into it. We have the power to protect, and support each other. For me, this has been a very important factor in my life. This power has caught on to warning signs about toxic, and sketchy situations. It can even occur as simply as lending a stranger a tampon, to women looking out for each others drinks at the bar. This feminine power has also provided healing and balance within me. Put a bunch of women in a home together, and periods start syncing up. This may seem scary, insignificant, or even weird, but it’s not. Feminine energy contains magic. We are goddesses, with intuitive powers. These powers are inside of us, and can be developed if we are open to it. My intuition has literally saved my life. My girlfriends have literally saved my life as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of negative situations with women and friendships. There have been disconnections, miscommunications and misunderstandings. However, I’ve learned that friendship doesn't have to be like a petty episode of Bad Girls Club. It sucks to lose a friend or be caught in bad energy with other women. Not every friendship is meant to last forever; sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on. I’d like to think that it doesn’t mean you were never meant to cross paths. Every interaction and every relationship can be used as a lesson. It’s just really disappointing to see a lot of women pitted against each other in society and in the media. I think this attitude makes it harder for women to want to befriend each other in the first place. We love Beyonce and we love Rihanna. Why do we have to choose? One woman’s strength is not another woman’s weakness. And yes, Remy Ma killed her “Shether” diss track. But that doesn’t have to equate to “picking sides” and discrediting the talent of Nicki. It seems like no one cares about female hip hop until two women are competing for one spot (or maybe I've just read too many internet troll comments) But yeah, healthy competition should exist. And no, we shouldn’t all have to just pretend to get along...As a female music artist, I understand the need to claim my own place; but I do believe that other women can co-exist in my space and still be great. No two women have the exact same story or purpose. I see so many mans putting their male homies on. I feel like it’s my duty to also put my sisters on. Another women’s praise does not make me any less worthy of praise.
Although I have no sisters by blood - I have found sisterhood within many women. Together we have been able to unpack life truths and experience moments of revelation. Today I consider sisterhood a staple in my life. I love and respect the masculine energy in my life, my brothers, and other male companions. But today I am here to praise SHE, because SHE is criticized too damn much. For SHE can be capable, intelligent, fierce, wild, domestic, beautiful, nasty, sensitive and dominant - all at the same damn time. Among other things, I hope for this platform to celebrate the power of women and acknowledge our worth. Shout out to my girl gang.
Happy International Women's Day!