Fear and attraction: women friends

photo credit honestlywtf.com

photo credit honestlywtf.com

I romanticize a time

And a place

When women would

Work together in the

Fields, or at the river,

Partaking in each other’s births,

Deaths,

And all the mundane living in between.

I’ve had short stints of

Intensive

Female relationships:

Situations in which

Friendships with

Women

Flourish as a

Product of

Prescribed activities

Like high school.

Or communal living

Like college dorms and

Roommate scenarios.

I wish I had

Relished

Those delicious,

Hilarious moments of

Living with women

Instead of

Longing for the

Boy to

Call me back.

I didn’t realize at the time that

The majority of my

Adulthood I would spend in a marriage,

Making those girl-centered times

Rarefied and fleeting.

Mobility.

Has stretched thin some

Critical friendships over the years.

A sister-friend moves away,

Or I move away from her,

And am petulant that things

Can’t stay the same.

And yet,

Making new friends feels like

Dating:

A careful,

Choreographed dance of

Nonchalance and

Attraction.

I’m wary of drama;

Done that,

Don’t have the appetite–

Or time–

To do it anymore.

I say that,

But the truth is,

I hide from you

Behind my husband

And kids.

They can take up

All my time if I let them.

And they need me

(Supposedly).

I envy my single friends

For their investments in their

Women friends.

(While they probably

Envy me my

Husband and kids.)

I admire how men

Seem to form friendships

Around activities:

To be blatantly stereotypical,

–Or use my husband

As an example

–It’s sports or

Music or

Spiritual interests.

They do stuff together.

It looks so fun.

While I text women for coffee,

Which really does feel like a

Date.

The fact is

My friendships

Change.

Sometimes they end

But not often,

Thank God.

When they have,

It’s been with pain

Just as traumatic as any

Romantic break-up

I’ve endured.

Maybe even more.

Change,

Not dissolution.

That I can be peaceful with.

I was in an art museum once,

Alone in a gallery

(That’s how this

Introvert likes to roll

At art museums:

In solitude.)

I was examining this tapestry of

Colors and

Pictures

That was so vivid,

It gave the illusion that the

Bits that made it up were

Moving and

Growing and shrinking.

Two young women

Came into the room;

They were lovely–

I think it was somewhere in Europe.

They were laughing together,

Clearly close friends,

Or so it seemed to this outsider.

They passed by and

One of them

Smiled at me.

I looked back at the

Tapestry and saw it as a

Metaphor for all the

Women friends I’ve had over the years.

Dynamic,

The sizes of individual

Pieces growing and shrinking.

And It’s okay for one friend’s tie to

Stretch across time zones

And even oceans,

And another friend’s tie to

Pull her closer,

To my neighborhood

Or my church

Or my 12-step meeting.

It’s okay.

It’s supposed to do that.

For my part,

Friendships don’t end.

They evolve.

Even if you move away,

Even if we don’t talk for months or

Years,

Even if we never speak again,

I am still your friend

And will love you from a distance

As well as I am able.

And for you whose faces I can set eyes on

Regularly,

It’s up to me to

Stop hiding out.

Modernity has put up some walls,

But I can have as much

Female community

As I want

If I’m willing to

Get out of my house

And myself

And find it.

Find you.

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First time I’ve thought about Women’s History Month

My churchmate: A historian living history

It’s Women’s History Month.

I’ve never given it much thought in years past,

Which is strange because I’m a

Woman

Who cares about

History.

In the media,

Provocative questions in order to promote a

High click-through rate:

“Is feminism necessary?”

“Are women losing ground?”

A few key statistics with

Supportive colloquialisms.

Lately, it’s my church where

I’ve been

Experiencing

Women.

It occurs to me that

Church

Is the one place in my life where I’m around

Women

Who are older than me.

My workplace is young,

My friends are

All around my age.

At church,

I like to sit a few pews behind a

Pair or

Small flock of older women.

I like to behold their

Hair.

Especially the women who

Let their hair grow long and

Prismatic:

Alabaster and ivory with

Ribbons of

Glinting silver,

And a few threads of ocher or coal.

I was at a

Women’s retreat recently with some of those women.

One of the workshops was a panel discussion with four women,

Each representing a

Decade of life from their

60s to their 90s.

The title of panel was something like

“Growing old gracefully in a

Culture that idolizes youth.”

The four women spoke in ascending order of age

In that elevated, cottony tone of an

Older woman’s voice.

The oldest woman

98 years old, I believe

Stood up to speak.

(The others remained seated.)

You know what they didn’t talk much about?

Husbands.

Children.

Grandchilden.

Careers.

You know what they did talk about?

Their own childhoods,

And their women friends,

Now.

It was as if they had

Finished with the

Vast expenditure of

Energy

In the middle part of their lives,

And they knew their jobs were largely done

There.

And what was left were the

Two bookends of their lives:

The treasured memories of the beginning,

And the treasured friends of the present.

From this

Woman

In the thick of

Kids/career/husband:

Point well taken.